Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kelly George


Remotely controlled small aircraft, otherwise known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones have started to impact the United States National Airspace System by interfering with the safe flight of aircraft. As the UAS industry continues its expected growth into the future, lawmakers, as well as regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation community must be able to predict when there will be more UAS craft in the air that could cause an interruption to air traffic so that more resources can be allocated optimally to counter the threat of UAS craft. The purpose of this study to determine if there is seasonal variation in the calendar year when a plane would be more likely to encounter a UAS using reported sightings data from the FAA. The data collected contained 36 months of sightings from June 2015 – July 2018. This study will give the aviation community the ability to better forecast high demand of reported sightings. Regulators and anyone operating within the manned airspace would be better informed by knowing what times of the year yield a higher frequency of UAS sightings so that appropriate mitigation and safety strategies can be developed and followed. Further, the FAA can also engage in preemptive educational strategies in an effort to avoid unsafe incidents. According to the results, the months of May and June, followed by December and January, will have the highest incidence of UAS sightings.



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