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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer (2015)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21907.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21907.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21907.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21907.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21907.
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1 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices C H A P T E R 1 The civil unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry in the United States is experiencing rapid growth. The era of unmanned aircraft sharing the skies with pilots of all types and levels of expe- rience is here. The FAA has permitted UAS to fly in the national airspace system (NAS) since the early 1990s. Today, more and more entrepreneurs are finding new and ingenious uses for advancing unmanned flight technologies. Most of this early growth is in the small UAS segment, but it is only a matter of time before industry leaders will push toward larger aircraft that will require the facilities our nation’s airports have to offer. UAS are no longer new and unknown to the public. The United States military has relied upon UAS or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) as they are also called, for an ever growing array of missions, many of which are highlighted in the news and well known to the public. Today the news is filled with stories like the efforts of Amazon to begin deliveries of packages to cus- tomers using UAS, motion picture companies receiving permission to use unmanned systems in the production of feature films, and agriculture companies working to integrate UAS into the business of growing the nation’s food. The possibilities for UAS use are only limited by the imagination of the developers and users, and the continuation of the efforts to safely integrate the systems into the NAS. The Goal of the Primer The goal of this publication is to assist airports of all types and sizes, as well as airport stake- holders, in gaining an early understanding of UAS and their potential uses and provide infor- mation that will aid in the efficient integration of UAS into the airport environment. The UAS industry is in the very early stages of NAS integration and widespread commercial operations from airports are still believed to be years away. Some airports are actively pursuing UAS busi- ness, and others are energetically engaged in research efforts with universities and the newly established FAA UAS test sites. A smaller number of airports that share runways with military airfields are actually supporting UAS operations while commercial air carriers transport passen- gers to and from their civil terminals. This primer aims to share recent lessons learned by airport operators and owners alike to better prepare the airport industry to take advantage of UAS to the fullest extent possible. The speed of advancement in the UAS community is not slowing. The airport industry is looking into the future and has a view of what is ahead. Through education and research, the airport industry will be ready to attract UAS business to their facilities and be prepared when the opportunity to support UAS companies arises. Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports

2 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer Ch ap te r 1 Ch ap te r 5 Ch ap te r 3 Ch ap te r 7 Ch ap te r 9 Ch ap te r 2 Ch ap te r 6 Ch ap te r 4 Ch ap te r 8 A pp en di ce s 1.1 Elements of the Primer The primer is organized to inform the airport operator on some of the basics of the UAS industry, the differences and similarities with manned aircraft operations, and some of the lessons learned by airports with early UAS experience. The primer is written at a high level but provides direction toward available resources to which the reader may turn to gain additional detailed knowledge. The primer does not attempt to make the reader an expert in unmanned aircraft operations, but rather touch on key areas to raise awareness and generate thinking on issues airports will tackle. After reading the primer, the airport operator will be ready to dig deeper into the subject, come up with solutions for the current challenges, and generate additional questions that follow-on research might answer to make UAS/airport integration successful and safe. Areas of Focus In the primer, the user will gain an understanding of: • Lessons learned from civil and military airfields • Costs and benefits of UAS at an airport • Local community considerations for UAS introduction • UAS regulatory status and issues • UAS facility requirements • Airport operational considerations for UAS • UAS safety and security considerations • UAS modes of operation and terminology • Resources for UAS information The primer can be looked at and used in sections. If an airport operator or UAS operator has specific questions, individual sections can be used autonomously. While some of the informa- tion provided flows from section to section, each section of the primer is intended to stand alone and be used as reference material. In some cases, information is repeated in multiple sections to support the standalone feature. Viewing UAS from the Airport Perspective The primer focuses on the UAS industry from the viewpoint of the airport operator. At present, airport integration is not the focus of the UAS industry. Much of the current research and the initial regulatory efforts are focused on integrating small UAS into the current airspace structure safely. Small UAS, defined as those aircraft weighing under 55 pounds, typically operate independently from airports. Much of what is learned from the integration of these aircraft will likely pave the way for larger commercial UAS that will need airport facilities to operate. Airspace use and air traffic control issues are not a key area of focus in the primer. The continuous advances in the UAS industry make air traffic deconfliction a key challenge. However, airports do not exist in a vacuum; what happens in the skies directly above impacts facilities and runways on the ground. The primer touches on the aspects of airspace and air traffic that directly impact UAS airport operations as experienced by the early users, such as the role of the airport in the development of a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), however these two key areas of integration are left for future research efforts to address in full. A Moment in Time The primer is published at a moment in time. It is anticipated that shortly after its circulation the information will begin to become dated and may not represent the current state of the UAS industry and, even more importantly, the current state of regulation. Airport operators are encouraged to continue to pursue new information and stay in-tune with changes to the industry.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports 3 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices 1.2 Sources of Information Interviews with those most familiar with UAS operations, research, and regulatory efforts were a key source of information for the primer. Interviews were conducted with UAS operators; FAA officials; airport managers and air traffic controllers with experience in UAS operations at civil and military airports; and leaders with the national UAS test sites. Each interview led to additional resources and generated new questions. This is the nature of the industry at present: new information is becoming available seemingly each and every day. Additionally, members of the research team had experience operating various UAS for the Department of Defense, both for training purposes in the United States and in military opera- tions abroad. The primer incorporates their knowledge and experience as well. At the time of primer publication, the research team was still uncovering new sources of information. The activities at the selected FAA UAS test sites are in the early stages of operations and new technologies are continuously being introduced. The primer is a starting point for the airport community. The knowledge bank for UAS grows by the day and the primer begins a knowledge exchange process that will enable airport managers to actively serve as members of UAS development and integration teams. The rapid innovation and rate of growth in the commercial UAS industry is running ahead of regulatory efforts. The FAA is working with the UAS industry to develop rules and regulations to ensure safe integration into the NAS. Commercial companies would like regulators to accel- erate their efforts as more and more ways to use UAS technologies developed. The FAA’s UAS webpages (https://www.faa.gov/uas/) provide information on where regulatory efforts stand. Another source for the latest news and information is the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The AUVSI is a nonprofit organization working to advance unmanned systems, not only aircraft systems but many different robotic systems. While mem- bership in the association is required to access all resources, the latest news from the UAS world is available using the AUVSI website (http://www.auvsi.org). Additional resources available and used during the development of the primer can be found in Appendix A. Unless otherwise noted in the text, the information presented in the primer was obtained using the resources listed above. The primer scratches the surface of the rapidly growing UAS industry and how it will integrate with airports. As UAS operations become more common and the challenges of UAS integration into the airspace are solved, airports will begin to receive increased requests to utilize their facili- ties. There are airports that are currently working to establish an environment that will attract UAS manufacturers, suppliers, and operators. Airport operators are encouraged to follow UAS experiments, testing, and research closely. The UAS industry is eager to gain access to the NAS for commercial purposes. The resources highlighted in the primer can help airports stay informed and be better prepared when the industry expands to runways across the country. 1.3 Primer Roadmap In order to get the greatest benefit, it is suggested that the reader use the following roadmap for navigating the primer: • Chapters 1 and 2 First Chapters 1 and 2 provide an introduction to the primer and to the UAS arena. These sections should be read first. • Chapter 3 Next Chapter 3 provides lessons learned from a number of UAS experienced air- ports, both civil and military. Chapter 3 should be read second with the lessons sparking interest in certain topics that are covered in greater detail in the succeeding chapters.

4 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer Ch ap te r 1 Ch ap te r 5 Ch ap te r 3 Ch ap te r 7 Ch ap te r 9 Ch ap te r 2 Ch ap te r 6 Ch ap te r 4 Ch ap te r 8 A pp en di ce s • Chapters 4 through 9 The remainder of the chapters can be read at the discretion of the user and dependent upon the topic of interest at the time. • Appendices Appendices A through E add details on topics addressed in the body of the primer and can be used as a standalone reference. In particular, Appendix A and Appendix B may be valuable to the reader. Appendix A—UAS References for Airports—provides the user with valuable resources that can expand the UAS knowledge base of airport operators; Appendix B—Modes of UAS Operations—gives detailed information and examples of how UAS are setup and operated on an airport. Navigating the primer is illustrated in Figure 1.1. Figure 1.1. Primer roadmap. Introducing UAS to Airports Chapter 1 Introduc on to UAS Chapter 2 Costs and Benefits to Airports Chapter 4 Regulatory & Community Considera ons Chapter 5 UAS Infrastructure Considera ons Chapter 6 UAS Opera onal Considera ons Chapter 7 UAS Safety and Security Chapter 8 Conclusions and Moving Forward Chapter 9 UAS Lessons Learned from Airports Chapter 3 Appendix A UAS References Appendix C Checklists & Procedures Appendix B Modes of UAS Opera ons Appendix D UAS Safety Informa on Appendix E Acronyms & Glossary Appendix F References

Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports 5 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices 1.4 Airport Checklist for UAS Preparation The primer can be used as a guide for the airport looking to bring UAS operations and busi- ness to their community. Table 1.1, a checklist for UAS preparation, is derived from the expe- riences of airports working to attract UAS manufacturers and operators to their facilities. It is presented to give airport managers a starting point for entry into the UAS industry. Additional details on the checklist items are provided in Chapter 9. Table 1.1. Airport UAS preparation checklist. Airport Acon Benefits to the Airport Engage with a UAS Naonal Test Site Test sites have available segregated airspace; COAs in place; poten al research requirements for airports. Engage with Area Universies Mul ple universi es offer UAS related courses; mul ple universi es conduct UAS research; universi es are partnered with na onal UAS test sites and Center of Excellence proposal teams. Contact State Government Departments of Avia on; Commerce, Agriculture and Forestry; Mines, Minerals, and Energy; state police may be poten al advocates for UAS business at airports. Aend UAS Conferences and Seminars Conferences and seminars on aspects of the UAS industry are conducted regularly to network and become informed on upcoming technologies. Invesgate Complementary UAS Businesses Research UAS businesses that could be supported by the airport or by the local economy. Determine UAS Facility/Infrastructure Requirements Inventory airport facili es and infrastructure that could be used by UAS operators for marke ng purposes. Contact the FAA FAA Office of Airports (ARP) and FAA UAS Integra on Office (AFS-80) can inform and offer direc on to interested airports.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 144: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airports: A Primer provides airports of all sizes with information about unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and their potential use and impact on airports. The report includes a glossary of key terms, a background on the current state of UAS operations, UAS costs and benefits to airports, regulatory and community considerations, UAS infrastructure and operational considerations, UAS safety and security issues, and more.

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