US FAA requests information from UAS operators to provide data on current and future UAS activity

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a request for information from operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to support its analysis of current and future UAS activity. Data obtained from the survey will be used to develop national forecasts of UAS activity. Summary data from the proposed survey will also be included in the Aviation Forecast published annually by the FAA.

The FAA Reauthorizations Act of 2018 explicitly charges the FAA with developing a plan to implement a UAS traffic management (UTM) services. The development of this congressionally mandated plan requires an estimation of current activity by UAS operators and projecting this behaviour into the future as economic, technology, and regulatory condition change. Given the lack of available data on the flight behaviour of UAS operators, the FAA proposes a survey of UAS operators who have registered with the FAA under Section 349 or Part 107.

The survey consists of a voluntary questionnaire administered online. Registrants within the FAA’s UAS registry under Part 107 and Section 349 are invited to complete the online questionnaire via email. The email contains a personalized link to the questionnaire hosted by Survey Monkey. The questionnaire contains:

6 questions on general flight behaviour,

4 questions about the number and types of UAS operated,

6 questions for respondents who identity as commercial operators, and

7 questions for respondents who identify as operating for public safety agencies.

Including a social-media preference and self-identifying questions, the questionnaire contains a total of 25 questions. However, the majority of respondents will only answer the first 12 questions.

Given this Information Collection Request is for a new survey, three post-survey studies are included in survey design: A request for comments on questions within the questionnaire, post-survey study of non-response bias, and a post-survey study of sampling bias. Each of these follow-up studies have questionnaires as instruments. These studies are used to hone the survey design.

Submission date: 12 October 2020

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) number: 2120 Survey of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operators

Comments address to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

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