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25 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices A balancing act is ongoing between groups on how quickly the young UAS industry should grow and how it should be regulated. The proponents of rapid UAS growth include the manu- facturers, news organizations, and early innovators who see a large potential market with oppor- tunity for a myriad of UAS uses. Those on the opposite side of the fence include individuals and organizations trying to hold the reigns of growth in the name of public safety, flight safety, and the protection of personal privacy. Federal regulations regarding UAS are centered on safety. Regulations are organized based on the hazards and their associated risks the UAS poses to humans on the ground, in the air to other aircraft, and to assets both manmade and environmental. The ability to mitigate the risks associ- ated with UAS is driving the approach to regulation. The FAA is working to balance the two sides and ensure safety is always at the forefront. On one hand, the FAA regulators acknowledge that UAS are here to stay. They understand that UAS technology is growing rapidly with great potential to benefit businesses, science, and public ser- vice organizations. At present, there are a number of missions, such as wildfire surveillance, agri- culture support, and environmental monitoring that can be accomplished more effectively and economically using unmanned aircraft. Regulators understand that their efforts could hold back the growth of businesses, yielding the lead in UAS advances to other, less restrictive nations. Conversely, the overarching and continuing mission of the FAA is to âprovide the safest, most efficient air transportation system in the worldâ (FAA 2015). They are challenged to safely inte- grate UAS into the NAS. Establishing airworthiness standards, regulations for airspace use, and rules for operating UAS on and around airports will take time, debate, research, and testing before unmanned aircraft are free to fully integrate with other users of the nationâs airspace and airports. The FAA is charged with managing the safety of this integration knowing that their control efforts will impact the safety of those using aircraft for travel, as well as the safety of those on the ground, especially those living and working near airports. 5.1 Status of UAS Rule Making and Regulation At the time of primer development, the FAA was establishing rules for UAS. On February 23, 2015, the FAA released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that when adopted will amend regulations and establish specific rules to allow the operation of small UAS in the NAS. The NPRM can serve as a positive step in expanding the public use of UAS for commercial purposes. The development of rules and regulations will be supported by the efforts of the national UAS test sites and the research to be conducted by their team members. New standards will also take advantage of the experiences of UAS units in the Department of Defense, NASA research Regulatory and Community Considerations C H A P T E R 5
26 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 projects, and the programs envisioned for execution by the soon to be established FAA COE for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Initial rule making by the FAA will apply to small UAS or aircraft weighing 55 pounds or less that rely on line-of-sight control and communication. The FAA believes this initial regulatory effort will satisfy the bulk of the current demand for UAS use. While the rule making process is proceeding, UAS operators can receive approval for early commercial operations by applying for an exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. All of these efforts put the journey toward UAS integration into the NAS well underway. Regulatory Exemptions Issued In September of 2014, the FAA granted the first regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies for use of unmanned systems in their business activities. This is an initial step to allowing the companies to operate UAS in the NAS. United States law requires that any aircraft operation in the NAS be conducted by a certificated and registered aircraft, flown by a licensed pilot, having attained operational approval for the flights. Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (which can be found at https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Sec_331_336_UAS.pdf) grants the Secretary of Transportation the ability to approve UAS operations in the NAS on a case-by-case basis in lieu of the grant of an airworthiness certificate. This authority is providing early UAS operators opportunities to conduct commercial operations prior to the finalization of the Small UAS Rule. Ultimately, rulemaking will be the main method for authorizing small UAS operations but will take time to complete. According to the FAA, the Section 333 Exemption process âprovides operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the NAS a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety.â Segregating Traffic The proposed rule for small UAS uses the segregation of air traffic as the initial means of ensuring safety of operations. The rule would require UAS operators to fly their aircraft no higher than 500 feet above ground level, at speeds no greater than 100 miles per hour, within the line-of-sight, and only during daylight hours. Certain portions of the proposed rule will impact airports. The proposed rule would allow small UAS to operate on or within 5 miles of airports (i.e., in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport), but the operator must have prior authorization from the ATC facility controlling that airspace. The rule preamble also offers an additional category of small UAS for commentâthose weighing less than two kilogramsâwith a potential designation as micro-UAS. Micro-UAS would not be allowed to operate within 5 miles of an airport at any time. For larger UAS that require the use of airport facilities, current ATC technologies and UAS sense and avoid systems are not yet ready for the establishment of standards for the inclusion of UAS in the normal airport traffic patterns. Due to the technological gap, along with results found in FAA air traffic simulations highlighting the need for extended downwind travel and wake turbulence avoidance, the FAA is likely to keep UAS segregated from manned aircraft in the name of flight safety, and a desire to not disrupt normal airport operational capacities. As discussed in Chapter 3, successful integration of military UAS with manned aircraft in the air- port traffic area has been done successfully. These experiences, along with additional tests and trials anticipated at the UAS test sites, will provide information that may aid the FAA to develop airport operational standards in the future. Early NAS Integration Testing The FAA is working to identify the potential hazards associated with UAS integration. Hazard identification and the testing of operational
Regulatory and Community Considerations 27 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices processes are ongoing both in FAA simulations, and in flight tests conducted at sites around the country. One such flight test of UAS integration into the NAS is to take place in New Mexico in 2015. The planned test will be conducted from Cannon Air Force Base. Planning is ongoing for 26 UAS to launch from the airfield into the Class D airspace, then transition into Class A airspace where they will fly varied profiles. The flights will involve the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper. These aircraft will fly profiles as long as two and a half hours, climbing to as high as 18,000 feet and flying up to 150 miles from the airfield. Each UAS will have a chase plane alongside to ensure the safety and visibility of the operations. Tests like it are designed to explore the requirements for full integration of UAS with normal air traffic and to exercise the procedures for lost communications and lost data-link with the UAS. The FAA and other organizations involved with the national UAS test sites will continue to research the necessary steps toward full integration of UAS into the NAS, and the testing will likely provide UAS operators with more and more opportunities to use the aircraft in new ways. In the near term, the easiest and safest solution is to keep UAS away from the airport pattern and out of Class D airspace. In the future, experience gained in testing and from military UAS flying units will lead to full integration of UAS with manned aircraft. 5.2 Challenges to Effective Regulation There are a number of challenges that regulators expect to face in the early stages of industry development. A prime challenge is presented by UAS operators with little knowledge or experi- ence in flying, or may choose to fly small UAS regardless of complying with current flight rules and regulations. Educating UAS Operators and the Public A goal of organizations serious about using UAS for commercial purposes is to ensure unmanned flights are as benign and safe as possible. It benefits UAS businesses when those buying and flying small UAS for private purposes are educated on the proper and safe use of these new aircraft. UAS education will also help gain support and acceptance by members of the public likely to be impacted by UAS operations. The AUVSI is currently leading a joint effort aimed at educating the public on future, proper, and safe uses of UAS. The âKnow Before You Flyâ campaign started in December of 2014, when the AUVSI, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the Small UAV Coalition, and the FAA partnered to provide prospective UAS operators with the information and guidance needed to fly safely and responsibly. The campaign plans to team with manufacturers and distributors to provide consumers and businesses with the types of information needed before flying a UAS. The information is provided through a website, educational videos, point-of-sale materials, and digital and social media campaigns. The âKnow Before You Flyâ website (http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/) contains pages with information applicable to recreational users, public entities, and busi- ness users. It contains contact information, links to additional resources, and printable bro- chures aimed at enhancing UAS operations. Airport operators can steer stakeholders and members of their communities toward the campaign materials as a starting point for local UAS discussions. Small UAS Operations at Airports as a Pathway UAS operators interviewed for this primer acknowledged that in the near term the largest percentage of UAS operations and
28 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 testing outside of the military will involve small aircraft that do not require airport facilities. For the airport operator looking to pave the way toward future UAS integration, involvement with small UAS operators could open doors to the industry. This could be achieved through involvement in the test activities of the selected FAA test sites; or through agreements with small UAS operators for the use of facilities, land, and airspace controlled by the airport. For example, one airport manager who runs an uncontrolled general aviation airport that serves as a reliever for a small hub airport stated that he was in discussions with one national test site, exploring the testing of airspace and manned aircraft integration processes using small UAS. His goal is to use initial testing as a means to learn about the UAS industry and make connections with companies that may become future tenants as the industry grows. Enforcing the Regulations With swift rulemaking comes the question of enforcement. Given the large numbers of available small UAS and the remote locations where they can be flown, it would likely many regulators to enforce the rules. Given the growing interest in UAS and still widely held civic safety and privacy concerns, one opinion is that the public will become the enforcers of the regulations. As more and more UAS fly, and the flying increases in frequency in populated areas, it is possible that people may become concerned with the activity and call police or the local airport to report the UAS operations they see. Airport managers and operators can be a positive force in ensuring safety UAS operations by staying abreast of the rulemaking process and UAS related stories. The FAA regularly posts news releases relating to the status of UAS regulation on the FAA website, and news on advancing UAS technologies can be found on the Internet. Airport operators should be ready to respond to questions and concerns from the public about unmanned aircraft. Airports with UAS experience have had to respond to calls from community members who have seen small aircraft flying near or over their homes. The calls typically come from people with little knowledge of the types and uses of the aircraft, and then turned to the only aviation source of information they know: the local airport. It will benefit airport managers to stay in close contact with their local FAA representative to ensure they receive the latest information on UAS activity and regulations. Interaction with FAA representatives can provide airports with up-to-date guidance from the regulators, and facilitate communications between the FAA representatives and FAA headquarters regarding UAS issues. 5.3 UAS and Model AircraftâDifferent Approaches An area that may cause a bit of confusion in the early days of UAS regulation is determining which aircraft will fall under the proposed small UAS rule and which aircraft will fall under the current regulations for model aircraft. Model aircraft are in fact UAS. The discussions center on where the two similar aviation segments meet or diverge. Until the time when the small UAS rule is finalized, UAS operators must either operate their aircraft as model aircraft or receive authorization to fly in the NAS. According to the FAA regula- tions, model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational uses only. As an example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational, or a commercial operation. The use of a photo or video taken with a UAS in an ancillary use, such as advertising for a business, is considered a commercial operation even if the photo or video is not sold.
Regulatory and Community Considerations 29 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices The statutory limits for model aircraft operations are outlined in Section 336 of the FAA Mod- ernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95). UAS operators who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require FAA permission to fly. Any flight outside these parameters, includ- ing intended commercial use of a UAS, requires the operator to obtain either a Section 333 exemp- tion or an airworthiness certificate, and also obtain a COA to operate in the NAS. (Details on gaining these approvals can be found on the FAA website at http://www.faa.gov/uas/civil_operations/.) The FAA developed a fact sheet that gives an overview of the UAS for public information. The fact sheet on UAS provides summaries on such topics as the safety goals of the FAA; public UAS, civil UAS, and model aircraft; UAS definitions; and overviews of the national UAS test sites. The UAS fact sheet can be found at https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story. cfm?newsId=14153. It is outside of the FAA UAS pages but is a resource airports may want to use when addressing UAS questions from their communities. 5.4 COA Application and Considerations At present, flying UAS in the NAS requires the application for and the FAA approval of a COA. The FAA defines a COA as follows: COA is an authorization issued by the air traffic organization to an operator for a specific UAS activity. After a complete application is submitted, FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review. If necessary, provisions or limitations may be imposed as part of the approval to ensure the UAS can operate safely with other airspace users. In most cases, FAA will provide a formal response within 60 days from the time a completed application is submitted. The COA allows an operator to use a defined block of airspace and includes special provisions unique to the proposed operation. For instance, a COA may require flying only under visual flight rules (VFR) and/or only during daylight hours. COAs usually are issued for a specific periodâup to two years in many cases. (FAA 2014a) Airports may play an active role, a peripheral role, or may have no role at all in the COA appli- cation process. It is up to the discretion of the airport, but there are benefits to being involved in the process. The responsibility for gaining COA approval falls to the UAS operator. The process is made easier if the operator reaches out to the other stakeholders involved in the proposed UAS operations (ATC, airport management) for assistance and support of the request. As UAS integration looks to be on the airportâs horizon, the airport can work with the UAS operator as an ally and ensure the airportâs interests are part of the process. As an example discussed in Chapter 3 of the primer, the GTRâs active involvement in the development of a COA with a UAS tenant, Stark Aerospace, elevated the need to clear the airportâs Class D airspace during UAS operations. By planning and gaining approval for a division of airspace to ensure separation of UAS from manned aircraft, the airport was able to avoid the potential for commercial air traffic disruptions and decreases in airport capacity. The COA process can be time consuming. For the UAS operator, those with COA process experience have found that once applicants become familiar with the process, applying becomes simpler and faster. In addition, as the approval authority the FAA also needs time to process the applications. Over the years, time needed for the FAA approval process has decreased. COA applications can now be submitted online via the FAA website. The link to the applica- tion pages can be found on the FAA UAS COA webpage: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/ headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/systemops/aaim/organizations/uas/coa/. The UAS COA Online System requires that the user establish an account with the FAA. The application process is user name and password protected. While the primary users of this system
30 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 will be the UAS operators serving as the applicant, the airport operator can work with the appli- cant to ensure the information on the airport is accurate when submitted. Examples of Approved COAs Well over 500 COAs have been approved by the FAA for UAS operations in the NAS. A number of examples of the approved COAs are available as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests. As of the date of primer development, 79 example COAs are posted to the FAA website at http://www.faa.gov/uas/public_operations/foia_responses/. The example COAs can be downloaded as zip files. Each example includes a number of files that provide information on such aspects of UAS operations as: â¢ Aircraft system descriptions â¢ Control station descriptions â¢ Communication modes â¢ Emergency procedures â¢ Maps of the areas of operations â¢ Lost communications procedures Registration of UAS UAS flown in the NAS, outside of those operated by the military, currently require the operator to register their aircraft with the FAA. In an example letter to COA holders dated November 5, 2014, the FAA reminds the operator and provides: . . . information regarding the statutory requirement to register aircraft and includes details on the registration process and marking. If you need to register aircraft, you will have 45 days from the date of this letter to submit an Aircraft Registration Application to the FAA. (FAA 2014b) The example letter can be found on the FAA UAS site at http://www.faa.gov/uas/regulations_ policies/media/Registration_letter.pdf. As the airport community looks to actively recruit UAS operators to their facility, having someone on the airport staff with COA process knowledge or experience to act as the airport COA point of contact might be attractive to potential tenants. The FAA and all stakeholders actively involved in the UAS industry are trying to make the process for UAS operations approval in the NAS more streamlined. Airports are important stakeholders and can be a positive influ- ence on the process. 5.5 Grant Assurances Airport operators should understand their obligations with regard to grants and how UAS operations might impact them. At the time of primer development, airport operators who have been or are now actively receiving grant funds, AIP grant funds in particular, should treat a new UAS operator as they would any new operator or tenant. The same rigor should be applied to their entry onto the airport to ensure no grant assurances are broken, thus placing the airport in a possible repayment or loss of funds situation. For airport operators less familiar with grant assurances and how they work, the FAA provides an explanation on the FAAâs website on the grant assurances (Obligations) page: When airport owners or sponsors, planning agencies, or other organizations accept funds from FAA- administered airport financial assistance programs, they must agree to certain obligations (or assurances). These obligations require the recipients to maintain and operate their facilities safely and efficiently and in accordance with specified conditions. The assurances may be attached to the application or the grant for federal assistance and become part of the final grant offer or in restrictive covenants to property deeds. The duration of these obligations depends on the type of recipient, the useful life of the facility being developed, and other conditions stipulated in the assurances. (FAA 2014c)
Regulatory and Community Considerations 31 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices Specific resources for grant information are contained in Appendix A, Section A-2. Interviews with airport operators who have UAS experience revealed the belief that UAS facility development will ultimately become AIP eligible. There is UAS industry-wide support to expeditiously work toward commercial UAS access to the NAS. A key to making this hap- pen (outside of regulation) is supporting smaller airports that might realize UAS opportunities before larger, more established airports. Smaller airports are less likely to have facilities or funds available to provide a UAS operator what they need to be successful. Yet, smaller airports are more likely to have UAS friendly airspace that may be more attractive to the UAS operator. How grant assurances can aid airports in supporting future UAS operations is something airport operators should watch closely. 5.6 Economic Development The UAS industry is still very new and few specific civil examples of economic development directly attributable to UAS were available at the time of the primer development. There are, however, examples from the U.S. military. The DOD has made considerable investments in UAS. In many cases, military UAS operators are utilizing existing airfield facilities. However, the military and joint-use airports interviewed for the primer voiced a consistent theme: UAS operations of any size require some investment in facilities to support the systems and person- nel. Maintenance, storage, and operational facilities have all been constructed as UAS operations expand and as new systems are introduced. In some cases new buildings or ramps were con- structed, or old ones were repurposed after refurbishment. The investments provided local jobs and material sales for periods of time. The most visible economic advances in the communities were related to UAS facility construction activities. The universities interviewed for the primer did not identify investments needed at their local airports to support current UAS activities. Kansas State University (KSU) owns and maintains two hangars with a through the fence operation at Salina Regional Airport (SLN) in Kansas. The UAS that KSU operates are small (less than 55 pounds) and are all maintained at existing campus facilities. Two KSU hangars support the rest of the KSU aviation school and are separate from UAS operations. The situation at Indiana State University (ISU) is a similar to that at KSU. No investment in facilities is currently needed or planned. However, ISU is assisting the local air- port, Terre Haute International Airport (HUF), with a COA application to support ISU testing. This effort is providing HUF with valuable experience in the UAS approval process. The opportunities for airport and community economic development will come from long- term, sustainable UAS operations. Airport operators interviewed believe that ultimately UAS ground control stations, data storage capabilities, and robust communication links will be needed for UAS growth to occur. They see these types of investments as opportunities for airports to attract UAS operators. By attracting UAS operators, they see the need for support services and professional jobs in the community growing. The Nevada National UAS Test Site was established with over 40 general aviation airports on the application. None of them have active towers and none of the airports are considered busy. The airport managers who were approached during the test site application process all agreed to participate for a variety of rea- sons, but one common theme persistedâthey all believed it would help their small communities with economic development. An airport manager interviewed during research for the primer explained that having as few as two additional people working at the airport in support of UAS operations would still be two more people contributing to the economy of the community. It is this grass roots approach to UAS economic development that will ultimately aid and accelerate the public acceptance of UAS.
32 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 5.7 Environmental Impacts At this point in the UAS industry development, information regarding specific environmental concerns and impacts is minimal. The U.S. military has the most experience and information with regard to UAS and how they have been introduced into their system. In discussions with mem- bers of the military familiar with UAS operations, no special UAS environmental concerns were raised beyond the issues normal for manned aircraft operation. In general, no new exotic fuels are currently being used, and UAS payloads are data collection or communication focused. The civil- ian operators and universities interviewed also did not identify any overarching environmental concerns. To date, UAS have been introduced into air transportation using similar propulsion methods and airframe materials that most manned aircraft have been using for decades. The UAS envi- ronmental impacts that may impact airport operators are similar or identical to those of any new tenant or operator. Basic plans for such issues as fuel containment, stormwater discharge, air pollution, and noise pollution should suffice in addressing current UAS operations. Fuels and Payloads Future UAS operations do not appear to be headed toward completely new fuels, payloads, or materials. It is probable that UAS in the future will rely upon advanced fuels for propulsive energy. Research is underway to explore such UAS power sources as solar cells, bio-fuels, and hydrogen fuel cells. The Boeing Corporation is working on a high altitude, long-duration UAS that operates on diesel engines which use hydrogen as their source of fuel. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is researching and has flown a UAS utilizing a fuel cell of compressed hydrogen. Initially these sources of power are expected to be confined to very small UAS. As technology advances, airports will likely need to consider incorporation of the logistics necessary to power new aircraft with fuels other than conventional jet fuel and aviation gasoline. At present these concepts do not present any specific, near term airport environmental concerns. Airport operators are encouraged to include environmental issues on their list of topics to discuss with UAS operators prior to commencing operations. There is a checklist for UAS facility requirements provided in Appendix C, Section C-2 for reference. 5.8 Land Use Compatibility The limiting factor with regard to UAS operations is the airspace and the restrictions placed on that airspace. UAS operations will most likely fall into one of two categories related to land use; either the UAS operator will require facilities and access to the airfield (hangars, ramps, movement area), or they will be able to operate independently of these facilities. If the UAS operator does not need use of the airfield facilities, then use of property near the airport may become an issue. UAS operators can operate from property not owned by an airport; if they donât violate airspace restric- tions and are outside of 5 miles from the airport boundary, then coordination with the airport is not required. None of the discussions conducted in the development of this primer yielded any land-use compatibility issues. Long-range planning for land use and UAS is a slightly different matter. Airport operators are encouraged to take a master planning approach in creating a vision for future UAS operations. Land-use planning is an important aspect of this approach. Long-range planning about where permanent ground based control stations might be located, as well as where to place storage and maintenance facilities that may require airfield access might be prudent approaches for those airports looking to attract UAS operators.
Regulatory and Community Considerations 33 Chapter 1 Chapter 5 Chapter 3 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 2 Chapter 6 Chapter 4 Chapter 8 A ppendices UAS Impacts and Airport Grants For those airports that receive FAA grant funds, it will be important for the airport management to ensure there are no land-use issues that violate the grant assurances. Airport operators are encouraged to have a discussion with their FAA Airports ADO prior to executing agreements with UAS operators for airport facilities or property. The property itself might be encumbered in such a way that UAS use might not be permitted. This is highly unlikely, however, given that the FAA and the NTSB have determined that UAS are aircraft. Moreover, local zoning laws and local restrictions might prohibit such activity. It will be up to the airport management to investigate and ensure UAS operations do not violate any restrictions. Land-use issues are listed on the UAS checklist in Appendix C for reference.