Report: Small UAV market worth $582.2 million by 2019

FAA plays UAV myth buster

March 4, 2014

With the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) market set to reach $582.2 million by the end of 2019, the industry is getting more visibility in the public eye. The FAA recently released information debunking several myths about unmanned aircraft, often known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

A new report by Dallas-based global market research and consulting firm MarketsandMarkets provides an analysis of the global small UAV market over the next six years. Despite defense budget cuts in major countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, the unmanned aircraft market is booming, and lot of money is spent on the research and development of small UAVs.

An increase in civil and military applications remains the driving factors for the global small UAV market, with growth regions in India, South Korea, China, Germany, France, and Australia.

Meanwhile, as the FAA continues to be in the news over its handling of unmanned aircraft, the agency has come out with “Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft.” The agency busts seven myths in the online resource, including these:

  • The FAA doesn't control airspace below 400 feet agl: "The agency is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground."
  • Commercial UAS operations are a “gray area” in the federal aviation regulations: "There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval. Private sector (civil) users can obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate to conduct research and development, training and flight demonstrations. Commercial UAS operations are limited and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as operating approval. ... The FAA reviews and approves UAS operations over densely-populated areas on a case-by-case basis."
  • Commercial UAS operations will be allowed after Sept. 30, 2015: "In the 2012 FAA reauthorization legislation, Congress told the FAA to come up with a plan for 'safe integration' of UAS by September 30, 2015. Safe integration will be incremental."

AOPA continues to maintain its position that unmanned aircraft be held to the same safety requirements—including the ability to safely sense and avoid other aircraft—as those of manned aircraft. As unmanned aircraft will be sharing the National Airspace System, everyone flying in it, including general aviation pilots, should be able to do so safely.

Benét Wilson

Benét J. Wilson | AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor

AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.