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Suggested Citation:"X. CONCLUSION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Evolving Law on Airport Implications by Unmanned Aerial Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24932.
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Page 62
Page 63
Suggested Citation:"X. CONCLUSION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Evolving Law on Airport Implications by Unmanned Aerial Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24932.
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Page 63

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62 lines are low,519 though the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is aiming for UAS stan- dards to guide the organization’s 191 member states in setting their own national regulations, portending of future international regulations later this century.520 X. CONCLUSION The global proliferation of drones has the potential to unsettle a broad range of constitutional issues, including speech, arms, and law enforcement search and seizure, together with matters of executive power, national security, and federalism. Additionally, given their wide accessibility, increasing civil (including commercial) use, and unprecedented capacity to sur- veil people persistently and at low altitudes, drones are controversial from the standpoint of property, pri- vacy, and civil rights. Consequently, lawmakers, aca- demics, and civil liberties groups around the world mistrust the effect of drone operations on personal dignity and property rights. Ahead of concerns related to privacy and property rights, safety is an overriding social and legal concern arising from current and anticipated drone operations. Small unmanned air- craft have opened airspace to countless new users within less than a decade, but “along with the benefi- cial applications have come the inevitable misuses.” 521 Regulators concede that they are struggling to keep up. With millions of drones already sold worldwide, UAS pose a particular threat in the busy airspace around airports. Qualitatively and quantitatively, this report pres- ents how airport sponsors are working to keep up with innovations in unmanned aviation while meet- ing their own legal and operational obligations. Research shows that traditional aviators and air- port sponsors are not antagonistic toward unmanned aviation so much as they are unsettled about what reportedly more than tripled from 2014 to 2017, the Ottawa Airport Authority welcomed the interim UAS order as a “necessary and welcome move.” 517 In sum, from North American to the Middle East and beyond, aviation regulations around the globe share common attributes. For example, aviation regu- lators worldwide appear to evaluate drone operations on a categorical basis, making exceptions on a case-by- case basis and generally restricting operations near airports of a set distance away from operators. Expec- tations about drone operations crossing borders as freely or profitably as traditional airplanes and air- 517 Id. See also Robert Fife, Ottawa Toughens Rules for Operating Recreational Drones, the globe And mAil, (Mar. 16, 2017), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ ottawa-toughens-rules-for-operating-recreational-drones/ article34318007/. Transport Canada inventories UAS incidents at http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/cadors- screaq/wsr.aspx?occdtefrom%3d2010-01-01%26occdteto% 3d2017-02-07%26srchfldcd%3d6%26txt%3dDrone%26src htype%3d1&lang=eng. 518 See trAnsport CAnAdA, https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/ documents/ca-opssvs/Infographic-New_rules_for_ recreational_drone_users.pdf. 519 Globally, the most discussed applications of UAS by region based on media attention is public safety and secu- rity, followed by aerial imagery, agriculture, mapping and surveying, energy and gas, real estate, and delivery and e-commerce. See sesAr, europeAn drones outlook study: unloCking the VAlue for europe (Nov. 2016), at 9. 520 Bill Carey, ICAO Panel Will Recommend First UAV Standards in 2018, AINonline, (Jan. 6, 2015), http://www. ainonline.com/aviation-news/aerospace/2015-01-06/icao- panel-will-recommend-first-uav-standards-2018. See also int’l CiVil AViAtion orgAnizAtion, iCAo Cir. 328 An/190, unmAnned AirCrAft systems (UAS) (2011), http://www.icao. int/meetings/uas/documents/circular%20328_en.pdf. 521 Graham Warwick, Unmanned Headaches, AViAtion Wk. & spACe teCh, Feb. 15–28, 2016, at 75. Figure 19. Transport Canada UAS Rules518

63 and capital project support; wildlife management; aircraft maintenance; passenger services; cargo operations; accident response; and SMS and Part 139 inspections. Still, given the exponential rise in UAS owner- ship and use—the FAA estimates incorporating 7 million drones in the NAS by 2020—the risk of mid- air collisions and interference with traditional air- port operations is not merely hypothetical. Airports concerned about the potential for accidents involv- ing drones and conventional airplanes are thus par- ticularly concerned that the law fails to require drone operators to notify airports or FAA air traffic control of their activities at airport in Class G air- space. Furthermore, airport sponsors are unsure whether they can refuse drone operations near their airports (in Class G airspace). While “apps” and digi- tal tools like DNAS allow airports and UAS opera- tors to coordinate operations, the threat of novice, inexperienced, or errant operators is ever present. In all, responses to survey questions indicate air- ports have arrived at some best practices to imple- ment while lawmakers catch up with advances in unmanned and optionally-piloted aviation technol- ogy. Specifically, airport sponsors report better abil- ity to manage UAS flights close to them by educating their tenants, users, and operators, as well as the residents, businesses, academic, and newsgathering communities around their respective airports about the dos and don’ts of UAS activities. Combining community engagement with traditional insurance has provided a pathway for airports to operate safely and profitably as today’s airports perhaps transition into tomorrow’s droneports. the law requires of them in terms of UAS flying in the airspace over, near, at and around airports. While the codification of Part 107 in August 2016 has gone a long way to clarifying what operations (i.e., public and civil (including commercial and hobby/recreational)) are allowable, the question of who determines and exercises authority over the low altitudes where flight is and should be allowed remains, as does the question of who, as between federal and local officials, has the power to prosecute noncompliant flyers for privacy invasions, trespass to property, nuisance, or crimes (however defined) involving UAS. Critical operational challenges remain, too. Part 107 is celebrated for opening the skies in some measure to commercial drone opera- tors. Its process for granting CoWs to proponents who make an adequate safety case was cheered by UAS owners, operators, and manufacturers with a pent-up demand to fly at night, beyond VLOS, or over people. But, airports expressed confusion about what process, if any, the FAA has to inform and include airports in the decision to issue a CoW in the first place. Despite these challenges and misgivings, airports have identified UAS as a tool that presents many advantages over, near, at, and around their airspace. Among the many beneficial uses—and potentially revenue-generating applications—UAS present to airport sponsors, contractors, consultants, and ten- ants are: terminal and perimeter inspection; airfield condition inspections and foreign object debris detec- tion; traffic management; parking surveillance; emergency response and event management; airport construction, infrastructure and property surveying,

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Legal Research Digest 32: Evolving Law on Airport Implications by Unmanned Aerial Systems provides guidance to enhance understanding of the basic legal and operational issues presented by civil unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and evaluates best practices for managing these issues. The digest covers background on UAS uses, applications, regulations, and definitions, leading to operations within the National Airspace System (NAS), the issues of federalism as it relates to local and state laws, tort law implications, operations at airports, and best practices for airport operators. Appendix B—Guidance and Policy Documents and Appendix I—Summary of Interviews and Poll Results are available online.

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