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Aeronautical Science

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication/Presentation Date



A variety of challenges to the successful assimilation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) into the National Airspace System (NAS) exists. Aside from technical and legislative challenges, another setback has recently surfaced when the FAA suspended its selection process for UAS test sites due to privacy concerns. This new obstacle has the potential to further delay UAS integration. Very little literature or coverage of UAS domestic operations and accidents have been published and made available to the public at large. As a result, the public has very little information upon which to form any realistic or reasonable opinions concerning the integration of UASs into the NAS and the threat to public safety that may ensue as a result of this planned action by the FAA and private industry. There are many safety related issues that the public are not aware of that may adversely affect decisions made by the FAA to move forward with full scale integration of UASs into the NAS. If the UAS community is to be successful in its efforts to initiate widespread use of UASs over populated areas in the NAS, they would do well to consider educating the public on the pros and cons of using UASs in the NAS, and should keep the public informed of progress in areas that directly affect the public such as safety. This study will consist of a review of the current literature related to public opinion polling and public perception about domestic UAS operations. Results of a pilot public opinion poll (n = 223) developed during this research is presented in a reflective, narrative format. An overwhelming majority of polled individuals (95%) were familiar with UASs. Slightly less than half of respondents agreed they would be comfortable with UASs in domestic airspace with firefighting and weather monitoring being the most acceptable uses of the systems. The highest level of concern about UASs (46%) was privacy versus safety (38%). Results indicate the public is cognizant of UAS operations but are not ready to accept widespread use of the technologies. Also, privacy does seem to be a primary concern.


Washington, DC

Number of Pages


Additional Information

Published in volume 2 of the 2 vol. proceedings on pp. 1076-1087.