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Suggested Citation:"12 Appendix: Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 2: Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure— Planning Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25606.
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Page 124
Page 125
Suggested Citation:"12 Appendix: Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 2: Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure— Planning Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25606.
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Page 125

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Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure—Planning Guidebook   123 12 Appendix: Case Studies Case studies were conducted to develop and evaluate the planning strategies described in this Guidebook. These case studies demonstrated how to integrate UAS into airport infrastructure planning for a variety of “real life” airport environments. The case studies also demonstrated how to integrate UAS into the development of a master plan and how to develop a standalone UAS planning study. The subject airports included Atlantic City International Airport, Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Sebring Regional Airport. Airport management from these three airports provided input and suggestions based upon their current experiences and planned development. Table 19 presents a summary of the focus of each of the case studies. For brevity, the case studies are only summarized here. Table 19 : Case study airports and focus areas Airport Operating Classification Airspace Class Case Study Focus Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey Primary Commercial Service - Small Hub Class C Integrate civil, commercial/business (e.g. air taxi), and cargo UAS with commercial passenger and military activities Support UAS training in addition to academic and federal research and development programs Develop standalone UAS infrastructure planning study Middle Georgia Regional Airport (MCN), Macon, Georgia Non-Primary Commercial Service1 Class D Support military operations (Robins Air Force Base) Establish R&D and commercial UAS park Support expansion of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facilities in support UAS demand. Develop standalone UAS infrastructure planning study Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring Florida Non-Primary Regional General Aviation Class E Attract commercial UAS tenants Supporting R&D, Avon Park Air Force Range, and academic UAS development Promote educational and UAS support opportunities as part of new logistics center Integrate UAS infrastructure planning into 2018 airport master plan update. Notes: 1MCN regained commercial service as of late 2017. October 2018 enplanements exceeded 10,000. The basic premise for the case studies was that a UAS in an aircraft. This premise was based on the following FAA and ICAO definitions of UAS.

Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure—Planning Guidebook   124 “An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard – instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground.” (FAA, 2018) 3 “Unmanned Aircraft System. An aircraft and its associated elements which are operated with no pilot on board.” (ICAO, 2011)4 Case Study 1, Atlantic City International Airport The South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) is seeking to integrate international and domestic manned commercial, GA, and military operations with unmanned commercial and civil aviation expansion at ACY. ACY already supports scheduled commercial service and military operations as well as UAS testing, training and research. Spirit provides direct passenger airline service to and from ten major cities. ACY is a base for the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing the United States Coast Guard’s Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City. ACY is also home to the FAA TC and the National Aviation and Technology Research Park who conduct UAS testing, training and research in addition to other aviation research and development. ACY is also one of several airports included in the New Jersey’s aviation plans to attract and support UAS developers and operators by creating an UAS/Aviation Zone. Thus, this case study provided infrastructure examples for integration of UAS commercial, civil and military operations at a joint use airport. Case Study 2, Middle Georgia Regional Airport Middle Georgia Regional Airport (MCN) supports limited passenger commercial operations as well as supports several large Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and aircraft manufacturing operations. The City of Macon, Georgia owns and operates both the MCN and Macon Downtown Airport. The Airport is also located approximately 4 nautical miles from Warner Robbins Air Force Base, which supports military UAS maintenance and training operations. Discussions between the Air Force and the City are on-going regarding using MCN as another site for UAS research, maintenance, manufacturing and other needs. Thus, this case study considered the impacts and opportunities associated with integrating research, civilian and military UAS operations with large manned commercial operations. Case Study 3, Sebring Regional Airport This case study will focus on a regional, rural GA airport that is already supporting limited UAS operations in addition to manned sport aircraft, GA and corporate operations. Sebring Regional Airport (SEF) also supports an industrial park as well as on-site international and national automobile racing facilities. The City of Sebring and the Airport Authority originally received its FAA 333 Certification in 2015, and is in the process of teaming with several local Universities and colleges to attract UAS operations and tenants to the Airport. This case study identified facilities and operational examples to support research, training, and commercial manufacturing of UAS at a GA Airport.                                                             

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It is anticipated that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will increase in activity within the airport environment and will expand due to market demand, operational requirements, and changes in UAS specifications (such as size, weight, and payload). To date, the majority of small UAS, defined as less than 55 pounds, operate outside of the airport environment. However, some public airports are currently supporting limited UAS operations (like testing, agriculture, survey, photography, and racing).

As a result, this pre-publication draft of ACRP (Airport Cooperative Research Program) Research Report 212: Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 2: Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure— Planning Guidebook provides suggested planning, operational, and infrastructure guidance to safely integrate existing and anticipated UAS operations into an airport environment.

This guidebook is particularly applicable to smaller airports (non-hub and general aviation) without capacity issues. The planning approach could help these airports prepare for and attract UAS operations for additional revenue in the near term. Larger airports (large, medium, and small hubs) are likely less inclined to be interested in attracting UAS operations in the near term, but they will have to accommodate UAS as they are integrated into the commercial cargo and passenger aircraft fleet in the future.

Other Resources:

Volume 1: Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports provides guidance for airport operators and managers to interact with UAS operations in the vicinity of airports.

Volume 3: Potential Use of UAS by Airport Operators provides airports with resources to appropriately integrate UAS missions as part of their standard operations.

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