Unmanned aerial systems ("UAS," "UAV," or "drones") are a rapidly developing part of aviation. They raise numerous legal issues, most significantly safety, security, and privacy. To date, it appears that UAS technology is ahead of law. The impact of the UAS technology development and the evolving law applicable to its use is of significant interest to airports and their legal counsel.
The objective of this research is to produce a report that (1) briefly summarizes current UAS development, uses, and applications; (2) researches and describes applicable current federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies; (3) identifies legal issues for airports regarding development, testing, and operation of UAS to, from, on, and near airports, including but not limited to the use of UAS technology by the military, law enforcement, and other users of the airport, and possible through-the-fence activity; and (4) survey airport practices to mitigate potential airport liability, satisfy federal and local obligations, and address security and privacy concerns, through such methods as adequate insurance, re-drafting minimum standards, contract provisions, and permitting.