How Are FAA Regulations Affecting UAS Businesses?


Unfavorable rules will disintegrate an already fragile market for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in the U.S., but significant market growth awaits once Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are published, according to a new report by sUAS research and advisory firm Drone Analyst.

The ‘Impact of FAA Rules on sUAS Business’ report examines the economic impact of current FAA policies for sUAS operating in Class G uncontrolled airspace and evaluates how commercial service providers and operators perceive those rules and assess their importance.

According to the report, 71% of survey participants say current rules are unclear and indicate confusion regarding conditions under which it is currently legal to operate sUAS for commercial purposes in the U.S.

In fact, Drone Analyst notes that when participants were offered 12 possibilities for conditions conducive to legal sUAS operation, the third most-checked condition was ‘the FAA does not regulate Class G airspace.’

The research also investigates the potential economic impact of both favorable and unfavorable future regulations, including revenue growth forecasts and hiring plans. Drone Analyst says that survey participants clearly identified five types of FAA regulations that would be unfavorable for their businesses, with 61% indicating they would simply not start or shutter their existing business operations if those unfavorable FAA regulations were in place.

‘In light of our findings, we conclude the overall market for sUAS in the U.S. would disintegrate if unfavorable regulations come into being,’ comments Colin Snow, CEO and founder of Drone Analyst. ‘All the positive economic impacts, like revenue, job creation and tax base creation – not to mention the practical benefits of U.S.-based drone business services – would not be realized.’

The full report can be found here.

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