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Guidebook on airport response to UAS/drone threats developed by Woolpert

The information is designed to help airports develop planning, response and recovery protocols

The Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats guidebook has been published by the National Safe Skies Alliance through its Program for Applied Research in Airport Security (PARAS). PARAS is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and modeled after the Airport Cooperative Research Program of the Transportation Research Board. It was created to assist airport operators with planning, response and recovery regarding threats from UAS or drone operations in unauthorized airspace.

Woolpert, an architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm, was contracted to develop the document in 2020 after federal agencies and the U.S. Congress identified unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) such as drones as a major concern at airports. Woolpert has provided design, engineering and geospatial services to airports and air bases worldwide for decades and is a recognized leader in UAS aviation, research and application development. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, the firm has 57 offices on four continents.

Woolpert Aviation Program Director and Principal Investigator Zachary Shuman said, this guidebook is not intended to restrict unmanned aircraft system operations on airports, but to prepare airports for UAS incursions. He said effective preparation, documentation and execution by trained airport staff will enable airports to respond safely to UAS threats.

This guidance includes case studies, examples and training to help a wide variety of airports develop customized response plans that incorporate the unique characteristics and structures of their airports. It also identifies stakeholders who need to be involved in planning efforts, outlining how to assess threats, develop mitigation strategies, inspire community involvement and implement communication best practices. This information will help airports be better prepared to protect their airspace for the safety of all concerned.

The Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats guidebook is available from the PARAS Reports webpage.