Start-Up Proposes Class H Airspace for Drones, Federal/State Teamwork

San Francisco-based start-up Navio Systems LLC has laid out an idea for a Class H airspace, which would be dedicated specifically to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The company’s proposal is explained in a white paper entitled “The Creation of Local Urban Airspace Corridors to Enable UAS Deliveries and Services.”

“Establishing Class H Airspace solves most of the regulatory and safety challenges of drone activity in urban settings,” says Ernest C. Brown, Navio’s co-founder and CEO. “Over 2 million drones have taken flight over the past three years – creating severe challenges for the FAA and local governments – and GPS is inadequate for drone guidance in complex urban settings. So far, there has been no solution that would enable the safe and secure flight of drones above our cities and our citizens.

“A new airspace classification is needed to encourage local communities and their elected leadership to pursue the roll-out of this important aviation technology,” he says.

Navio’s framework would function as follows:

  • Local governments pass ordinances to manage and regulate drone airways;
  • Citizens and businesses register an Airdress where drones can safely land;
  • Wireless beacons are installed on existing structures such as streetlights and buildings to identify and guide drones safely and securely over streets; and
  • Local governments regulate drone traffic – allowing their citizens to have a voice in how drones fly in their area.

“The FAA needs to take meaningful outreach to local communities and their leadership,” Brown adds. “If UAS delivery and commercial services are to become a reality, it will be based upon a federal/state partnership.”


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