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Impact of FAA Rules on Small UAS Business

  • July 2014
  • -
  • Information Gatekeepers

The research examines the economic impact of current FAA policies for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) operating in Class G uncontrolled airspace and evaluates how commercial service providers and operators perceive those rules and assess their importance.

Since 2007, the FAA has essentially banned commercial use of sUAS in the U.S. through a series of statements and policies aimed at controlling activity until actual regulations are put in place. The Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 authorizes the FAA to issue licenses for commercial drone use in the U.S. The FAA modernization law was widely expected to result in tens of thousands of commercial drones being licensed to fly over U.S. airspace. So far, however, it has produced only uncertainty: a combined 71% of participants in the survey say current rules are unclear and indicated confusion around conditions under which it is currently legal to operate sUAS for commercial purposes in the U.S. In fact, when offered 12 possibilities for conditions conducive to legal sUAS operation, the third most-checked condition was “the FAA does not regulate Class G air space.”

This study answers the following key questions:

1. How clear are service providers on current FAA regulations regarding the use and operations of small UAS for commercial purposes in U.S. Class G airspace?
2. To what extent do current rules create barriers for small business?
3. What is the economic outlook for providers given either favorable or unfavorable rules in the future?

Table Of Contents

Impact of FAA Rules on Small UAS Business
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ABOUT THIS STUDY

Methodology
Demographics
EIGHT KEY INSIGHTS

RECOMMENDATIONS

To FAA
To Manufacturers and Operators
DETAILED FINDINGS

Service Offering Variety
Length of Service
Readiness to Offer Services
Revenue from U.S. Operations
Employment of Insurance
Comprehension and Clarity of Current FAA Policies
Favorable Regulations
Business Growth under Favorable Regulations
Regulations Considered Unfavorable for Business
ABOUT DRONE ANALYST

APPENDIX: QUESTIONS

List of Figures

Figure 1 - QUALIFIED RESPONDENTS BY GLOBAL REGION
Figure 2 - TITLE OR ROLE
Figure 3 - PRIMARY SERVICE OR PRODUCT
Figure 4 - LENGTH OF SERVICE
Figure 5 - TIME TO BEGIN SERVICE
Figure 6 - REVENUE FROM CURRENT SERVICES
Figure 7 - COMMERCIAL INSURANCE USE
Figure 8 - CLARITY OVER CURRENT RULES
Figure 9 - FAA RULE COMPREHENSION
Figure 10 - FAVORABLE FAA REGULATIONS
Figure 11 - BUSINESS STARTS UNDER FAVORABLE RULES
Figure 12 - HIRING TENDENCIES IN THE NEXT YEAR UNDER FAVORABLE RULES
Figure 13 - PROJECTED REVENUE GROWTH UNDER FAVORABLE RULES
Figure 14 - UNFAVORABLE REGULATIONS
Figure 15 - BUSINESS IMPACT OF UNFAVORABLE RULES

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