The National Academies

ACRP 03-42 [Final]

Airports and UAS

  Project Data
Funds: $1,000,000
Research Agency: Booz Allen Hamilton
Principal Investigator: Chrishanth Fernando
Effective Date: 2/3/2017
Completion Date: 6/1/2019

ACRP Research Report 212 provides guidance for airports on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the following areas:  
Topic A. Managing UAS Operations in the Vicinity of an Airport: 
Educates airport operators in best practices for managing non-airport-sponsored UAS and small UAS (sUAS) activities applicable to airports of all types and categories.
Topic B. Engaging Stakeholders in UAS:
Assists airport operators to effectively engage stakeholders regarding UAS. The guidance helps airport operators identify potential stakeholders, assess the positive and negative impacts that UAS operations may have on them, and determine the best strategy to exchange this information.
Topic C. Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure and Planning:
Provides guidance on the planning, development, and integration required to review and implement near-term, mid-term, and long-term facility-use improvements needed to support UAS at an airport.

Topic D. Potential Use of UAS by Airport Operators: 
Explores the use of UAS to enhance the efficiency of airport operations with guidance materials to help identify, evaluate, and select UAS-related technologies, including (1) identification and evaluation of the different use cases and the types of enablers needed to support each use case such as cost-benefit analysis, training, and certification and (2) a framework for SMS application including the identification of the potential risks associated with UAS.

This guidance also expands upon ACRP Report 144: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at Airport: A Primer.
These have all been incorporated into 3 Volumes: Volume 1: Topics A&B, Volume 2: Topic C and Volume 3: Topic D.
UAS activity continues to grow for recreational and non-recreational uses. Recreational uses include applications in photography, racing, and sport. Non-recreational uses include law enforcement, emergency response, media coverage, delivery services, surveying, and utility inspection. Many airport operators see the potential benefits of using UAS for inspections, wildlife hazard management, security management, and emergency response to increase efficiency and reduce cost. The rapid increase in UAS activity—coupled with the diverse stakeholders employing the technology and the evolving regulatory landscape—have also resulted in airports facing new challenges as they strive to provide users, tenants, and customers with a safe, secure, and predictable operating environment. Airports need guidance, tools, and other resources to effectively address UAS issues and integrate UAS into their day-to-day operations and planning. There was a need to build on ACRP Report 144 and ACRP Legal Research Digest 32, Evolving Law on Airport Implications by Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations to provide additional guidance and information related to UAS at airports.
A thorough literature review was conducted and included outreach with UAS technology manufacturers, former air traffic controllers, airline pilots, and several technical UAS SMEs. Case studies were conducted to evaluate guidance methods targeting audiences in a variety of stakeholder groups.
Research under ACRP Project 03-42 was led by Booz Allen Hamilton in association with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Hogan Lovells, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Novel Engineering, Toltz, King, Duvall, Anderson, and Associates, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., and Astrid Aviation and Aerospace.  These guidance documents identify airport-specific infrastructure and facilities needs to support UAS and describe field demonstrations to test various use cases for potential uses of UAS by airport operators.   

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