Updated January 30, 2023

Challenges and Operational Restrictions Preventing Integration of UAS into the NAS

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This document will outline some of the challenges and operating restrictions that we are facing in the world today that is preventing the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system. The majority of these problems are coming from privacy issues, issues with hobbyist aircraft, and the fact that the airspace system is currently only set up for manned aircraft and we need to find a way to safely and effectively integrate unmanned aircraft into the airspace with them. Despite the many problems and obstacles that we are facing, we are working hard every day to see that unmanned aircraft are integrated into the national airspace system.


This research document contains information pertaining to the challenges and operating restrictions that are preventing the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system. Unmanned aircraft are a newer concept in the world of aviation and have provided us with many new interesting possibilities for the present and the future. With the introduction of unmanned aircraft into aviation, we are able to reduce the risk encountered by pilots while performing many different jobs by quite a significant quantity. We are also able to accomplish new and different missions by utilizing unmanned aircraft that we could not before or that would have been very difficult with manned aircraft. Another huge positive with unmanned aircraft is the lower costs of operating some small unmanned aircraft compared to manned aircraft. This is able to save companies a lot of money to accomplish the same job.

With all of the positives, there also comes negatives of unmanned aircraft. One of the major negatives is the integration of the unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system, which is currently only adapted to handle manned aircraft. Unmanned aircraft introduce many new problems not just for the national airspace system, but also for normal civilians trying to go about their daily lives. A major concern with unmanned aircraft is privacy issues and issues with hobbyists operating unmanned aircraft.

Many different small unmanned aircraft are very easy to obtain, and they do not necessarily have to always be registered, so there is no way to track ownership of the aircraft. Many of these small unmanned aircraft come with a camera attached, which causes many issues with people spying on others and taking pictures and videos without other people’s permission. This leads to lawsuits and could potentially lead to damage to property or injury to others. Integration of unmanned aircraft is very important for the future of aviation, so it is important that we put a lot of effort into making the process more smoothly.

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The integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System has been a key topic of interest in the aviation world today. The interest in commercial operations for unmanned aircraft has been steadily increasing over the past few decades. However, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations have mostly remained on the military side. This is mostly because there is a lack of regulatory framework that limits public and civil UAS operations by the implementation of crippling restrictions.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is already working to get UAS integrated into the NAS, but the appropriate regulation will not be ready for several more years. While this is in progress, the UAS developers should probably be aware of the current regulations that are in place and need to make a multitude of decisions that involve the development of their UAS, so that their designs care capable of being be airworthy when the regulatory framework is in place. (Dalamagkidis, 2008)

The structuring and safety case for unmanned aircraft system is being considered when looking at operations in non-segregated airspace. Being able to access the non-segregated airspace is an important aspect of the civilian unmanned aircraft industry. Whether or not UAS receive approval to operate in this airspace is dependent on the provision of a safety case, which details how the risk of a Mid-Air Collision (MAC) accident will be handled to a reasonable level. A number of challenges have risen due to the fact that there is no framework that is accepted for structuring operational safety cases for UAS. (Clothier, 2015)

Unmanned aircraft systems are very useful tools, however, can cause problems such as they can violate privacy. Unmanned aircraft systems will dominate the air in the future, just as manned aircraft has been doing for years. The military is already well into the transition process and the civilian and commercial side isn’t too far behind. All of these new aircraft in the skies calls for new laws to be created and also gives rise to new problems. One of these problems is that of privacy especially due to unmanned aircraft being relatively easy to obtain and a lot of them coming with cameras attached. (Villasenor, 2013)

It is very important that we are working on the integration of drones into daily airport operations. With the rising popularity and application for drones in society, we need to be implementing more ways to integrate them into the airspace system so that we can have more smooth operations and less problems. Edmonton International Airport (EIA) will be the first ever airport in the world to integrate a full suite of unmanned aerial system (UAS) services into their daily airport operations. Starting in Q2 of 2017, Clear Flight Solutions and Aerium Analytics will focus on safely integrating UAS technology at the airport. (McFadyen, 2016)

The integration of drones into the National Airspace System (NAS) is a necessary action for us to be taking, because we are missing out on many opportunities with the untapped potential of unmanned aircraft in many beyond line of sight commercial operations. There are many different problems that are making it difficult to integrate UAS into the national airspace system. One of the major concerns is where you are able to fly your unmanned aircraft and who is in the wrong when you go flying your quadcopter around some person’s house and it gets shot down. There is also the issue on privacy which is causing concerns in multiple different areas. (Dolan, 2013)

E-commerce companies are implementing developments with the usage of unmanned aircraft and must overcome different obstacles such as airspace issues and regulations. Companies capable of delivering space in isolated areas may stand to make significant profit in die already-booming industrial real estate market, provided dial drone delivery is economically viable to begin with. Amazon has developed a significant footprint in the industrial real estate market, adding more than 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space in the state for 2016 alone. (Marroquin, 2017)

The regulation of hobbyist drones is a necessary action as they can cause many different problems if left unchecked. The FAA is far behind the deadlines created by Congress and the regulations that govern the use of public, commercial, and private drones are in a perpetual state of fluctuation. Federal lawmakers have brought forward multiple bills focused at filling holes left in recent federal drone legislation. Likewise, state lawmakers are trying to address the concerns for privacy by creating legislation focused at inhibiting hobbyist and commercial drone operators from utilizing their drones in a caustic manner. This argues that legislative attempts to regulate hobbyist and recreational use of drones are unnecessary because existing common law tort claims of general applicability can effectively deter invasions of privacy by recreational drone operators. (Cash, 2016)

Specific regulations have been set in place for drones in the hobbyist world and commercial world. One of the primary concerns over the prospect of having literally thousands of privately-operated drones flying overhead is the loss of privacy. While traditionally none of us has much privacy when we are out and about in public, drones change that dynamic. Most of us think of our private property as being private. Drones permit an interloper, in a remote location, the opportunity of filming private property, as well as the people and goings-on there. (Bissonnette, 2016)

Amazon wants an exemption from the FAA’s drone restrictions so that it can expand its business opportunities to include faster shipping methods. Amazon has filed a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration asking for an exemption from the restrictions on drones flying around in the National Airspace System. Amazon’s petition comes a week after the Motion Picture Association of America made its own request to the FAA for a special pass, and a month before the agency is supposed to publish new rules allowing lightweight commercial drones into U.S. airspace. Few expect the FAA to meet the deadline. The agency’s sluggishness to develop regulations has raised questions about whether the United States is lagging behind in the civil and commercial drone industries. In different countries where drone policy isn’t as binding there has been a surge of economic activity with the technology. (Fung, 2014)

Due to an increase in the FAA’s drone restrictions new lawsuits have been created from universities and business groups. A group representing 188 research universities sued the Federal Aviation Administration, telling an appeals court that new FAA rules on consumer drones are a large threat to the science, research, and technological innovation in the United States. Business owners and the country’s largest model aircraft association filed two legal challenges in the U.S.

Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, adding to the increasing pressure on the FAA over the policies that limit who can fly a new class of lighter, camera-equipped drones. The unmanned aircraft, such as models like the DJI Phantom 2, offer revolutionary technology for research and development and for different industries such as: news gathering and search-and-rescue. The FAA, creating concern over the privacy and accidents aspects, has taken steps against their use. (Gigaom Blog, 2014)

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Challenges and Operational Restrictions Preventing Integration of UAS into the NAS. (2023, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/challenges-and-operational-restrictions-preventing-integration-of-uas-into-the-nas/

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