Current Landscape of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Airports

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. Benefits of UAS use include increased cost savings; reduced time on task; reduced personnel needed; reduced airfield closure time; and enhanced marketing, training, and outreach. Challenges include FAA restrictions and regulations, the time needed to become educated and certified as a remote pilot, and developing airport policies that do not conflict with state and federal regulations. Participating airports reported that they are generally able to use UAS within the context of existing FAA regulations. Some airports apply for and receive a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) versus operating strictly within 14 C.F.R. Part 107. Participating airports shared advice for airports considering the integration of UAS operations. Common themes of advice are to (a) develop a UAS policy, (b) establish lines of communication with the air traffic control tower (ATCT) and FAA, (c) provide sufficient training, (d) be open-minded to UAS, and (e) know the rules and follow them.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Glossary; References;
  • Pagination: 119p
  • Serial:
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01725622
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309480932
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Project 11-03
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 19 2019 3:04PM