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Current Landscape of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports A Synthesis of Airport Practice C. Daniel Prather DPrather aviation SolutionS California BaPtiSt univerSity Riverside, CA 2019 Research sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration Subscriber Categories Aviation â¢ Administration and Management â¢ Vehicles and Equipment A I R P O R T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M ACRP SYNTHESIS 104
ACRP SYNTHESIS 104 Project 11-03 ISSN 1935-9187 ISBN 978-0-309-48093-2 Library of Congress Control Number 2019953548 Â© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. Cover Photo and Credit: UAS use in airfield inspection. Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California. Courtesy of photographer Stephen Bossert, UAS Operator. NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Airport Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Published reports of the AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Airports are vital national resources. They serve a key role in trans- portation of people and goods and in regional, national, and interna- tional commerce. They are where the nationâs aviation system connects with other modes of transportation and where federal responsibility for managing and regulating air traffic operations intersects with the role of state and local governments that own and operate most airports. Research is necessary to solve common operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the airport industry. The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the airport industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for ACRP was identified in TRB Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions in 2003, based on a study spon- sored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ACRP carries out applied research on problems that are shared by airport operating agen- cies and not being adequately addressed by existing federal research programs. ACRP is modeled after the successful National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). ACRP undertakes research and other technical activi- ties in various airport subject areas, including design, construction, legal, maintenance, operations, safety, policy, planning, human resources, and administration. ACRP provides a forum where airport operators can cooperatively address common operational problems. ACRP was authorized in December 2003 as part of the Vision 100â Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act. The primary participants in the ACRP are (1) an independent governing board, the ACRP Oversight Committee (AOC), appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation with representation from airport operating agencies, other stakeholders, and relevant industry organizations such as the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), the American Associa- tion of Airport Executives (AAAE), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), Airlines for America (A4A), and the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) as vital links to the airport community; (2) TRB as program manager and secretariat for the governing board; and (3) the FAA as program sponsor. In October 2005, the FAA executed a contract with the National Academy of Sciences formally initiating the program. ACRP benefits from the cooperation and participation of airport professionals, air carriers, shippers, state and local government officials, equipment and service suppliers, other airport users, and research organi- zations. Each of these participants has different interests and responsibili- ties, and each is an integral part of this cooperative research effort. Research problem statements for ACRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the AOC to formulate the research program by identifying the highest priority projects and defining funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each ACRP project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. Panels include experienced practitioners and research specialists; heavy emphasis is placed on including airport professionals, the intended users of the research products. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing coop- erative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, ACRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Primary emphasis is placed on disseminating ACRP results to the intended users of the research: airport operating agencies, service pro- viders, and academic institutions. ACRP produces a series of research reports for use by airport operators, local agencies, the FAA, and other interested parties; industry associations may arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, webinars, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by airport industry practitioners.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
CRP STAFF FOR ACRP SYNTHESIS 104 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Marci A. Greenberger, Manager, Airport Cooperative Research Program Thomas J. Helms, Jr., Senior Program Officer Stephanie L. Campbell, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications ACRP PROJECT 11-03 PANEL Joshua D. Abramson, Easterwood Airport Management, College Station, TX (Chair) Debbie K. Alke, Montana DOT, Helena, MT (retired) Gloria G. Bender, TransSolutions, LLC, Fort Worth, TX David A. Byers, Quadrex Aviation, LLC, Melbourne, FL David N. Edwards, Jr., GreenvilleâSpartanburg Airport District, Greer, SC Brenda L. Enos, Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, MO Linda Howard, Independent Aviation Consultant, Bastrop, TX Patrick W. Magnotta, FAA Liaison Matthew J. Griffin, Airports Consultants Council Liaison Liying Gu, Airports Council InternationalâNorth America Liaison Adam Williams, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association Liaison Christine Gerencher, TRB Liaison TOPIC S10-15 PANEL Catherine F. Cahill, Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, Fairbanks, AK Darshan Divakaran, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh, NC Eugene Gilbo, Volpe Center, Chestnut Hill, MA (Retired) Michael P. Hainsey, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Columbus, MS Michael Perez, Iowa State University, Ames, IA Jason L. Schwartz, Port of Portland, Portland, OR Justin M. Towles, Ascension Global, Washington, DC Yu Zhang, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL Jim Patterson, FAA Liaison, Atlantic City, NJ Justin Barkowski, Airport Industry Liaison, Alexandria, VA Drew Colliatie, Industry Liaison, Arlington, VA Christopher J. Oswald, Airport Industry Liaison, Washington, DC C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S
ABOUT THE ACRP SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Airport administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This infor- mation may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the airport industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire airport community, the Airport Cooperative Research Program authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing project. This project, ACRP Project 11-03, âSynthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices,â searches out and synthesizes useful knowl- edge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute an ACRP report series, Synthesis of Airport Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. FOREWORD By Thomas J. Helms, Jr. Staff Officer Transportation Research Board The focus of this report is on current practices for utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in airport operations. The UAS segment of the aviation industry is experiencing significant growth as new and innovative uses of UAS applications are developed. Airports are increasingly looking to deploy UAS capabilities to improve the efficiency of a variety of airport operations and tasks. This study is based on information acquired through a literature review and survey results from 130 airports participating in the study that represent a range of airport sizes and geographic locations. Results of the literature review and survey are presented in this report. Case examples describing the different types of existing uses of UAS applications by airports are presented in Chapter 5. Dr. C. Daniel Prather, Ph.D., A.A.E, CAM synthesized the information and wrote the report. Senior associates Michael Lloyd and Thomas Ortiz provided support for this project. Mr. Lloyd also contributed to the literature review. Mr. Ortiz also assisted with the literature review, contacted airports for data collection, and assisted with data analysis. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on page iv. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.
1 Summary 4 Chapter 1 Introduction 4 Brief History of Unmanned Aircraft Systems 4 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Defined 10 Landscape 14 Summary 15 Chapter 2 Study Methodology 17 Chapter 3 Literature Review 17 UAS Industry Data and Trends 19 Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability 19 Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems 24 Approaches Used by Surface Transportation Agencies 27 Benefits of UAS Integration 28 Challenges to UAS Integration 32 FAA Efforts 36 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 37 National Institute of Standards and Technology 37 ASTM International 37 RTCA 37 Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Efforts 38 Academy of Model Aeronautics Efforts 38 Registering Unmanned Aircraft 38 Paths for an Airport Operator 43 UAS Operating Guidelines 44 Chapter 4 Survey Results 44 Use Summary 44 Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Inspections 49 Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Monitoring 50 Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Measurement 54 Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Other Purposes 55 Additional Findings of Interest 60 Chapter 5 Case Examples 60 Case Example 1: Centennial Airport 60 Case Example 2: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 61 Case Example 3: Grand Forks International Airport 62 Case Example 4: Samuels Field 62 Case Example 5: San Carlos Airport 62 Case Example 6: Southern Illinois Airport C O N T E N T S
63 Case Example 7: Southwest Florida International Airport 63 Case Example 8: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 63 Case Example 9: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 63 Case Example 10: Memphis International Airport 64 Case Example 11: Syracuse Hancock International Airport 64 Case Example 12: Iowa Department of Transportation 64 Case Example 13: Michigan Department of Transportation 65 Case Example 14: North Carolina Department of Transportation 65 Case Example 15: Ohio Department of Transportation 66 Case Example 16: South Carolina Department of Transportation 67 Chapter 6 Conclusions and Further Research 67 Conclusion 1 67 Conclusion 2 67 Conclusion 3 67 Conclusion 4 68 Conclusion 5 68 Conclusion 6 69 Conclusion 7 69 Conclusion 8 69 Conclusion 9 69 Conclusion 10 69 Conclusion 11 69 Future Considerations for Airports 70 Further Research 71 References 74 Web Resources 75 Glossary 78 Appendix A Actual Survey Comments 93 Appendix B Survey Questionnaire 106 Appendix C Interview Protocol Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.