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Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports Â 1 1 Introduction Background The rapid introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will impact the National Airspace System (NAS) and its existing stakeholders. The introduction of UAS has presented a wide range of new safety, economic, operational, regulatory, community, environmental, and infrastructure challenges to airports. These risks are further complicated by the dynamic and shifting nature of UAS technologies. It is critically important that airports have the resources needed to avoid adverse impacts and maximize benefits as early as possible. Overview of Airport Management of UAS Operations This document provides guidance for airport operators and managers to interact with UAS operations in the vicinity of airports. The demand for commercial UAS may increase significantly once advanced UAS operationsâincluding beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, operations over people, and operations of multiple UAS by one pilotâare allowed through broader regulatory frameworks.1 Understanding the nature of UAS operations, platforms, and applications is a topic of interest at most, if not all, airports. The rapidly evolving regulatory framework for integration of small UAS (sUASâUAS weighing less than 55lbs.) activities has resulted in the need for guidance to inform airport operators about managing UAS operations in the vicinity of their airports. Currently, 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 107 (the sUAS Rule) allows broad commercial use of UAS in the United States for the first time. However, under this sUAS Rule, UAS operations directly over people are still prohibited unless the operator has received a waiver or other approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). sUAS aircraft may take many forms, including multi-rotor, fixed wing, and hybrid vertical take-off and landing with fixed-wing forward flight vehicles. Some UAS operations near airports will require the ability to fly over populated areas and therefore will require waivers to allow operations over people. As a part of managing UAS operations, it will be important for airport operators to understand the regulatory requirements and framework as well as to have the ability to obtain waivers and exemptions. This guidebook will describe the regulatory frameworks that currently exist so that airport managers and operators will be in a better position to interact and guide UAS users who fly in their vicinity. Guidebook Audience and Format The results of this guidance document represent a culmination of literature review and coordination interviews with aviation industry groups, government agencies, UAS manufacturers/dealers/sellers, advocacy groups, and users. The primary audiences for this guidebook are airport operators and managers. This guidebook is organized by topics identified as relevant to UAS management by airports. It includes best practices related to airport coordination, operational planning, and Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 Currently, under 14 C.F.R. Â§ 107, only low-risk operations have been allowed. For example, under the rules small UAS must remain within visual line of sight of the remote pilot in command, avoid flying directly over non-participants, and include one remote pilot for each vehicle flown. However, waivers can be obtained from the FAA to authorize (as examples) BVLOS operations, operations over people, and one-pilot-to-many operations if the operator demonstrates to the FAA that the operations can be performed safely (FAA, 2016).
Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports Â 2 contingency/emergency standards. Additionally, it includes supporting tools, such as visual risk maps and a detailed table of authorities that delineates the roles and responsibilities of UAS management within airports. Each section addresses an important component of UAS management around the airport vicinity. The tables, figures, and flowcharts were developed as quick reference tools to enable airport operators and managers to understand the basic context of UAS operations and provide further resources in case more information is required. How to use this Guidebook This document is intended to be a high-level repository of relevant information for airport operators and managers who want to manage UAS. It provides basic information as well as links to further resources to be investigated if deeper UAS engagement is desired. Specifically, the guidebook covers basic elements of UAS operations, safety/emergency management system, and risk factor maps. It is organized as follows: ï· Because airport interactions with UAS are relatively new, the guidebook begins with an overview of the basic elements of unmanned operations. Section 2 provides the basic requirements for UAS operations. While these requirements are important for the UAS operator who is planning a flight, it is also equally important for the airport manager to understand these requirements as well in order to prepare for UAS operations. These include relevant regulations and procedures that airports should be aware of when interacting with UAS operators. ï· Another key component of airport UAS management is with safety and emergency best practices. Section 3 covers UAS safety and emergency management systems. Specifically, it discusses the UAS considerations for traditional airport safety management systems (SMS). It also provides methods to develop a UAS contingency and emergency plan. ï· A final aspect of UAS management that is covered in this guidebook is risk factor maps. Risk maps are a valuable tool for airports to take inventory of the elements that may present operational hazards to UAS. These maps can in turn be provided by the airport to UAS operators who need to develop a better understanding of the vicinity of their operations. Section 4 describes the development of this map and provides a sample map that other airports can adapt to their own context. ï· Section 5 describes engagement tools for airport operators to communicate these requirements to the relevant stakeholder. This section provides methods to implement the methods and guidance for UAS management that are described in Section 2 through Section 4. ï· Section 6 applies the guidance and engagement methods described in the previous sections by positing some real-world example situations of when airport managers and operators may have to interact with UAS operators. These example case studies were developed based on intensive interviews with airports, UAS operators, and other stakeholders who shared experiences of UAS operations in the vicinity of airports. ï· Section 7 provides a summary of additional engagement resources that airports can use to implement management practices.