UAS Integration at Airports

The continuous evolution of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has stimulated interest among airport operators for various airfield applications.

Today’s UAS are autonomous enough to execute complex flight patterns with minimal input from remote pilots and boast safety features including automatic return functionality and collision-avoidance. High-res cameras and other advanced sensors provide real-time data at heights, distances, and angles never before possible.

Historically, airfield activities such as obstruction analysis, pavement inspection, wildlife hazard management, perimeter security, and emergency response have primarily been conducted on the ground. But, observations and measurements from above offer opportunities to increase the efficiency of routine assessments, as well as an unprecedented viewpoint during emergencies. Gradual integration of UAS could supplement or eventually replace the need for many ground-based procedures.

In cooperation with the FAA Office of Airports, ATR is working to enable the reliable, safe, and effective integration of UAS into the airport environment. Chief among outcomes of this effort are concepts of operation (CONOPs) for numerous airport applications, and the resulting FAA guidance documentation for their integration at our nation’s airports.

ATR plans to continue refining its assessment of current best practices alongside airports and industry through various outreach efforts. Continuous engagement with airport operators, vendors, and other stakeholders will play a vital role as the FAA identifies suitable technology and standards for the five core UAS applications.

Contact Project Lead  Michael DiPilato