Drone Airspace?

I ran across the following article about Amazon proposing a thin slice of airspace to be dedicated to drones.  Providing the obvious limits on drone flights, regardless of the altitude, are in place near airports (incl. seaplane bases) and other crucial manned flight areas, it seems like the concept should be explored further.  There may be an issue in Alaska where it’s common for folks to fly very low to the ground, potentially in the slice of airspace that Amazon proposes.  Still, it’s hard to imagine a lot of drones flying in the Alaska backcountry.


It’s inevitable that drones will be flying so the real question is how to keep them from dangerously interfering with us.  I believe it’s already been stated that drones would have to carry ADS-B Out transmitters so it’s also yet another reason to get ADS-B Out in your plane (besides the January 1, 2020 FAA mandate, of course).



3 thoughts on “Drone Airspace?

  1. It would only be beneficial if; ‘All’ drones/UAS were mandated by law to be manufactured with ADS-B Out in order to use the airspace, and; All TCAS equipped aircraft to be configured to warn pilots when approaching, and while within, UAS airspace!

    Since drones are here to stay, we have to start somewhere and your idea is a good starting point!


  2. This is the reason you can no longer buy a cellular phone without a GPS. If you want a GPS in your iPad you have to buy the cellular version. It’s not the GPS that sells, it the cellular feature that required Apple to add the GPS to the iPad. The government mandated that (around 2005, I believe) that all phone must be GPS equipped, You could have kept your old non-GPS phone, but once you upgraded or removed the phone from service, it’s illegal for any cell company to activate a phone that does not have GPS.

    This was done for 911 and safety issues.

    So the US Government, at least the FCC (which is good as creating mandates) mandated that all cell phone must have GPS or they cannot be used. This has set a very strong precedent for drone and most all devices that could exceed a certain altitude (e.g, remote helicopters, etc) need to have ADSB-Out. As chip-sets become smaller, like an entire GPS can now fit in a 5mm chip,it’s only a matter of time before there will be ADSB-Out chips that could be put in a very small form factor (GPS/ADSB) that again would be mandated for anything that flies.

    If all aircraft have to have ADSB-Out by 2020, the FAA should act now to require that all drones (current will need retrofit solution) and all new ones built will have to have GPS and ADSB-Out. I’m pretty sure that more than 50% of the drones out there now are GPS equipped (maybe not WASS) but GPS none-the-same. All it would take is just a rule making classifying drones as aircraft (which they are) and they must be ADSB-Out complaint by 2020.

    In this instance, I’m all for Big Brother stepping in.


  3. Concur with what was said but that is not enough for all of GA to fly safely in the same airspace with UAS after 2020.

    Many aircraft will likely not be equipped with “out” because they intend to not fly in airspace where it is mandated. The pilots of these A/C will have no way of seeing and avoiding a small UAS visually, so they will be forced to buy a portable receiver and a display device in order to have any chance.

    It seems to me that the UAS must be required to also have fail-safe conflict avoidance algorithms to avoid participating and non-participating GA airplanes, balloons, sail-planes, ultra-lights etc. Many of these have no electrical systems and may not even appear as primary radar targets. Remember, ADS-B will not know about an A/C unless it has at least mode C transponder capability.


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