Navigating the world’s drone, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), urban air mobility (UAM), and advanced air mobility (AAM) laws is a daunting task. Much like the universe, it is a body of work that is continually expanding. It was one task I thought highly critical to preparing my students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, Arizona, for a global economy and potential future employment, not to mention fun things like this drone show at ERAU. In 2023, PBS ran Behind the Wings: How Drones and eVTOL are changing the World, produced by Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. It is well worth the watch, as fellow attorney Dawn Zoldi presents this cutting-edge technology!

Thus, in 2015, I set out to create a course on Global Drone Regulations, which was first offered at ERAU in Spring 2016 as an experimental course, entitled AS 395AA. This first course proved successful, and I taught it every semester since then until 2024, as part of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, entitled AS 324.

In 2023, I developed a curriculum for AAM, with the first course went live in Spring 2024, alternating semesters with AS 324 still taught in the Fall.

At first I used my personal website as a repository of useful information crucial to the coursework. However, in 2022, it was time to formalize the relevant material on my website and create this eBook.

Although initially written for AS 324 (Global Drone Law) students at ERAU, I envision it being of great use throughout not just academia, but also to drone business owners and their legal counsel by default.

While still copyrighted content, it is freely distributed worldwide under a Creative Commons, non-commercial, and non-derivative license.

This eBook is structured the way the United Nations views the globe, in 6 main areas, Northern America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In my course it is intended to be taught in a sequence, but it is also easily searchable by country if used as a reference guide. This eBook has an interactive design with hyperlinks, and authenticated sources, that promotes information literacy. Questions are provided in order to promote discussion and critical thinking, indicative of higher learning.





Blue Skies and Tailwinds,

Sarah J. Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS, ATP, CFI,

Arizona-Licensed Attorney,

Associate Professor, ERAU



I would first and foremost like to give thanks to my partner Bill Lange for all his support and encouragement during the writing of this textbook. He was his usual patient self and kindly helped me with the sequence of the book and the fact checking of certain items. He was the best sounding board.

Next, I must thank each and every one of my students, who are my raison d’etre, and without whom this book would never have come to pass. The students who took this first-of-its-kind course in the nation, AS 395AA, in Spring 2016 were all research assistants as well as test subjects. I shall be forever indebted to them! I mention their names in proud recognition and eternal gratitude: Richard (Atlas) Vargas, Jon Thurman, Melissa May, Makenna Stockham, Glenn (Oby) Borland, Brock Nelson, Andrew Billson, Devin Taylor, Josue Arriaza, Ameen Alshangiti, Ben Salisbury, Holden Saunders, Hayden Akers, Ryan Cox, Tyler Green, Destiny Jackson, Michael Mendez, Adham Musawi, Jonghan Park, Brandon Pelato, Muath Alhakami, Mohammed Alharbi, Bador Alhazmi, Husien Aljahdali, Abdulaziz (Aziz) Alruziza, Majed Alsafh, Jaffar Alsayadi, Mohammed Alsigh, Abdul-Rahman Basamh, and Waleed Samman. Then in Fall 2016, Faith Keller took the course, after which in Spring 2017 she became a research assistant for me for a whole semester. Her input was invaluable!

Special mention must be given to three more students, namely, Jacob Milbrath, Emery Chandler, and Omar Dit Khayal, who researched with me tirelessly throughout the Fall 2022 semester. And, as I continue to update the book, sometimes daily, but always weekly, I owe a debt of gratitude for the initiative taken by other students, like Christian Marion, Marie Lynn Curia, Colton Weeks, Christian P. Panos, Veronica Sarah Knott, Bode Mergler, Kyle Olsen, John H. Kelly III, Cambra D. Lutz, Jared R. Ellsworth, Alexandros Cormican, Tristan Chaney, Joshua Bruno who was my assistant on so many of these projects in 2024, and others.

From the drone community I would like to thank Ryan J. Latourette, founding member of Michigan Coalition of Drone Operators, and Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Great Lakes Drone Company. The constructive feedback was worth its weight in gold!

I most certainly owe a world of gratitude to my longtime mentor and friend, Scott Hamilton, aviation lawyer, author, and professor, to name but a few accolades, who first introduced me to the world of authoring textbooks back in 2015 when he asked me to write a chapter on Space Law for his aviation law textbook, Practical Aviation and Aerospace Law (6th Edition). He has been my biggest supporter over the years, as I entered the legal field and started practicing law, became an ERAU professor, wrote my first legal textbook alone for the American Bar Association, Drones Across America in 2017, and then co-authored the Practical Aviation and Aerospace Law (7th Edition) with him in 2020.

With respect to AAM research for this book, I would like to give thanks to Dr. Kevin Adkins, from our ERAU Daytona Beach Campus, for helping me get started down this incredibly exciting new avenue, or should I say airway, of flying cars! And my students in my inaugural AAM course in Spring 2024, Ethan Barsky, Kailee Bergantinos, Brittany Brooks, Priscila Campos, Nikolas Caruana, Jack Colvin, Jayden Gaoat, Philip Gerard, Daniel Hillenburg, Stephen Hong, Charles Hopper, Camryn Huff, Andre Jones, Patrick Keenan, Gyuhwan Kim, Jacob LeMay, Aidan McGlasson, Cole Montgomery, Swit Nasongkla, Dustin Neet, Colton Pratt, Hector Ramirez, Ethan Rose, David Shukitt, George Stephen, Jack Stork, Eric Tran, Nick Vance, Youngsoo Yook, and Seth Ziarnick, … you all made it especially fun!

Last but certainly not least, I must thank three of my colleagues at ERAU in Prescott: Joshua Caulkins, Director of the Center of Teaching and Learning Excellence, for this amazing opportunity allowing me to bring this textbook, and my dream, to fruition; Dani Carmack, at the Hazy Library for being my software guru whilst turning this ginormous work into an easy-to-read guide; and Dr. Dorothea Ivanova, Professor of Meteorology in the Applied Aviation Sciences Department in the College of Aviation, for the peer review of this text and also for being my mentor and trusted colleague since 2015 when I began my ERAU professor career.


About the Author

Sarah Nilsson has both an aviation and a legal background. She began her pilot career in 1994 and has ran a flight school at a local high school magnet program, flown cargo aircraft, and business jets, having been typed in a Citation. She holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate in multi and single engine fixed-wing airplanes, a gold seal flight instructor CFI, CFII, MEI, an AGI and IGI, a small UAS or drone pilot certificate and a TRUST certificate. She also holds North Carolina’s Division of Aviation UAS Operators Knowledge Test Certificate of Completion. In Canada, she holds Transport Canada’s Pilot Certificate in Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), Visual Line-of-sight (VLOS). In the EU, Sarah holds UK’s Drone and model aircraft certificate in A1 & A3 Open Subcategory.

In 2014, Sarah began her legal career, becoming licensed by the State Bar of Arizona and becoming founder and managing attorney of Nilsson Law, PLLC. Since 2015, she has been full-time faculty at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, Arizona, teaching Aviation Law, Global UAS Regulations, Concepts in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), Global UAS Risk Management, UAS Ground School, How to start a small UAS Business, Business Law, and Business Ethics. She is now a tenured associate professor, and for four years led the Faculty Senate as Speaker. Sarah volunteers as a FAA Safety Team Representative with the Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and during the COVID-19 Pandemic served as a command pilot with Angel Flight West as she felt the need to put her Cherokee 235 (aka Flying Broom) to good use delivering supplies to the Navajo Nation!

Sarah is co-author of the 6th and 7th and soon to be 8th edition of Practical Aviation and Aerospace Law, with Scott Hamilton. In 2017, she published her own book on US Drone Law for the American Bar Association entitled Drones Across America. In 2023, she published this eBook, through ERAU’s Open Education Resources. She has made multiple media appearances as an expert in UAS regulation, law, and policy and has published many articles and research documents for the FAA and NASA.


FAA Launches 2023 Holiday “12 Days of Drones” Safety Campaign

On Dec 4, 2023, the FAA launched their “12 Days of Drones” Safety Campaign

If you are considering a drone as a holiday gift, the FAA wants you and your loved ones to understand how to fly it safely.

The “12 Days of Drones” safety campaign is to educate people about the rules, regulations and best practices of operating a drone. This December, the FAA will share important drone-safety information and resources that will help future pilots stay up to date with the latest rules. All of the campaign’s safety messages will be posted on the FAA’s DroneZone Twitter and Facebook accounts throughout the month.

The campaign will run each weekday from December 7 – 22 with each day dedicated to a specific drone safety topic.

  • Day 1 (12/7): The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)
  • Day 2 (12/8): Register and mark your drone
  • Day 3 (12/11): Remote ID
  • Day 4 (12/12): Become a certificated remote pilot
  • Day 5 (12/13): Where can I fly
  • Day 6 (12/14): Airspace authorizations — LAANC
  • Day 7 (12/15): “Weather” or not to fly
  • Day 8 (12/18): Flying at night
  • Day 9 (12/19): Drones are for everyone
  • Day 10 (12/20): Flying over people
  • Day 11 (12/21): Drones and careers
  • Day 12 (12/22): Drones for good

The FAA also released the video below reminding everyone of the rules and regulations that drone pilots must follow.


General Disclaimer

The author maintains this website to enhance public access to drone and AAM law information. This is a service that is continually under development. Under each country, or state, name you will see a “last updated on…” date. She makes every effort to keep this site current and to correct errors brought to her attention. Email is the most expeditious way at The documents on this site contain links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. Please be aware that the author does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links to particular items is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered by the author of the reference or the organization operating the site on which the reference is maintained. Translations of any materials into English are intended solely as a convenience to the public and are not legally binding. The author has merely attempted to provide a Google translation of the original material to English for convenience. Due to the nuances in translating to a foreign language, several differences may exist so before using for any work or pleasure please have the document translated by a professional service!

Drones across the World – Book Layout

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Last updated on May 11, 2024

This book covers the drone laws of all countries on planet Earth.

As of 2024, there are over 195 countries on Earth.

A country, in this case, is defined using four categories:

(1) defined territory;

(2) permanent population;

(3) government; and

(4) government can interact with other states.

A total of 193 of these countries are member states of the United Nations (UN), and 3 countries, Kosovo, the Holy See, and the State of Palestine, are non-member observer states.

The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operated from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory. The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and the Holy See.

The State of Palestine, an autonomous entity but not a state, is officially governed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), claims the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and asserts that Jerusalem is its capital, although this city is currently under the control of Israel.

In case you were wondering, the UN is an international organization founded in 1945 and although it has evolved over time it remains the one place on Earth where all the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity.

The organization of this book, following this introduction, follows this geographical categorization.

  • Northern America
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Oceania
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa

Countries that are territories or dependencies of other countries are listed under the mother country for ease of understanding from where the law was derived.


Book Layout

You will notice that each country’s chapter in this book begins with a blurb about that country’s government using Britannica for reference. This is intended to give you insight into how the laws come about.
Next, that country’s National / Civil Aviation Authority (NAA/CAA), the government entity responsible for rule making and enforcement, will be shown.
Then, a brief overview of that country’s airspace, according to their official Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and, if that country’s air traffic services agency differs from their NAA/CAA, mention will be made at that point. It is important to note that the AIP is updated from time to time so I caution you to ensure you have the current, most up-to-date version. Airspace information is located in ENR 1.4. This is standardized across the world thanks to ICAO guidelines.
Lastly comes the much awaited for section on Drone Regulations! Some countries, or states in the US, have made regulations or policy regarding Counter-Drone or Counter-UAS (C-UAS). Others have made regulations for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). These are also included in this book.
Where the language is not initially in English, a translation is provided in this book courtesy of Google Translate! Please be aware of its limitations and when required for use, obtain an official translation. The author takes no responsibility, or liability, for the Google translation… it is merely for a brief overview and convenience!

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

As of 2024, 193 national governments are funding and directing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to support their diplomacy and cooperation in air transport as signatory states to the Chicago Convention (1944). Drafted by 54 nations in 1944, the Chicago Convention was established to promote cooperation and “create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world.” This landmark agreement established the core principles permitting international transport by air, and led to the creation of the specialized agency, ICAO, which has overseen it ever since.

ICAO develops new standards, which national governments then adopt, to bring worldwide alignment to their national regulations, helping to realize safe, secure, and sustainable air operations on a truly global basis. The stipulations that ICAO standards contain never supersede the primacy of national regulatory requirements. It is always the local, national regulations which are enforced in, and by, sovereign states, and which must be legally adhered to by air operators making use of applicable airspace and airports.

Here is a current list of the 193 member states of ICAO.

For ease throughout this book, I have indicated below the country’s name whether or not it is a member state of ICAO.

Several years ago, ICAO member states asked ICAO to develop a regulatory framework for UAS that operate outside of the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) International arena. ICAO reviewed the existing UAS regulations of many states to identify commonalities and best practices that would be consistent with the ICAO aviation framework and that could be implemented by a broad range of states. The outcomes of this activity are ICAO Model UAS Regulations titled Parts 101, 102 and 149.

Part 101 highlights that

(1) all UA should be registered; and

(2) UA weighing 25 kg or less and operating in Standard UA Operating Conditions (101.7) require no additional operational review; however, if the UA weighs more than 15 kg, the UA must be inspected and approved under 101.21 or 102.301.

Part 102

(1) addresses all UA operations using UA that weigh more than 25 kg or those weighing 25 kg or less but do not adhere to Part 101 requirements;

(2) enables on-going operations or one-time events through certification; and

(3) enables a more expeditious review when manufacturers declare a type or model of UA as being sufficiently tested for a specific operational category or that has received an approval through an Approved Aviation Organization.

Part 149 promotes the use of an Approved Aviation Organization to serve as a designee authorized by the NAA/CAA to perform specific tasks. Once the organization has been certified, the authorized tasks (remote pilot licensing, UA inspection, UA approval, etc.) may provide more expeditious processing and may reduce the workload for NAA/CAA Inspectors.

This ICAO UAS Toolkit is helpful.

The following Advisory Circulars (ACs) have been provided for additional insight into the ICAO Model UAS Regulations:

AC 101-1: Provides guidance associated with rule 101 regarding UAS operations in the Open Category.

AC 102-1: Provides guidance associated with rule 102 regarding the Specific Category, UAS authorizations or a UAS operator certificate (UOC). It also addresses requirements for manufacturers.

AC 102-37: Provides guidance for the carriage of dangerous goods transported by UA. This document is helpful to understand the risks and responsibilities for safe carriage and includes information for packing and marking.

Canada AC 922-001, RPAS Safety Assurance: This AC provides information for consideration by states to assist them with UAS regulations under development in setting standards for the manufacturer’s Declaration of Compliance (DOC). While this AC is specific to RPAS advanced operations in Canada, this material can be studied by states to assist in the development of their state’s individual Safety Assurance standards for manufacturers. AC 922-001 is an example of performance-based criteria. Transport Canada specifies to what standard the manufacturer must comply for operations in controlled airspace, over people, or near people and identifies classifications of injury severity.

Humanitarian Guidance: This guidance material relates to many UA operations that provide aid in locations during emergency response as well as on-going humanitarian deliveries. The material includes helpful forms and an application process for expedited review by the NAA/CAA.

ICAO is also addressing the emerging technology of UAM / AAM at various symposia.


ICAO UTM Guidance

​The aim of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) is the safe, economical and efficient management of UAS operations through the provision of facilities and a seamless set of services in collaboration with all parties and involving airborne and ground-based functions. Like Air Traffic Management (ATM), a UTM system would provide the collaborative integration of humans, information, technology, facilities and services, supported by air, ground and/or space-based communications, navigation and surveillance.

Global UTM Association

GUTMA is the global association open to both private and public organizations, including regulators, that are involved in UTM and drone activities. GUTMA expects that this ecosystem of companies in the global drone services market will add real value to society and global economies. Companies thrive best if they can choose their drone operators and UTM providers. GUTMA supports a federated system for UTM services and fair UTM and drone services markets.


Counter-UAS (C-UAS)

Technology, on both the UAS and C-UAS fronts, continues to evolving rapidly. With this evolution, numerous Detection, Tracking, and Identification (DTI) and C-UAS technology for airport-like environments are still under development but solutions are becoming available. These provide a variety of options for detection, identification, and/or mitigation. Such comprehensive layered options often combine radar, RF, audio, acoustic, cameras, and artificial intelligence (AI) for detection that could be paired with different mitigation options such as electronic interference or kinetic interdictions. For detection, the technology providers have focused on the following technologies that are considered applicable around airports:

Radar: Radar technology play an important role as a primary means of detecting UAS-based threats. Radar can detect UAS vehicles of any size by its specific radar signature. Radar can search, detect, and track multiple objects simultaneously. However, it must quickly scan large areas with high sensitivity, and be able to eliminate false hits through different algorithms. Challenges to the use of radar include lack of automation, dependence on trained operators, high system costs, and varying accuracies on detection. A key part of identifying unauthorized drones is the need to find the pilot and the radar is not able to geolocate the pilot of the UAS.

Radio Frequency (RF): A more common UAS identification tool is the use of radio frequency or RF. The use of RF scanners provides a cost-effective solution for detecting, tracking, and identifying UAS over an average detection range of 1–3  km. This detection uses algorithms to scan known frequencies to find and geolocate RF-emitting devices with an approximate location of a UAS vehicle and its operator. This is effective if the UAS is transmitting a signal. However, RF detection sensors can only detect a few airborne subjects at a time and the accuracy could be compromised with obstacles affecting line of sight. Despite that, the use of RF has a high probability of detection with a low false alarm rate.

Optics/Infrared (IR): A less used detection method, optical sensors can use infrared or thermal imaging as well as a standard daylight camera to detect unauthorized UAS. The electro-optical sensors use a visual signature to detect UAS, while infrared sensors use a heat signature. The optical sensors provide visuals on the UAS vehicle and its potential payload and can record images as forensic evidence. The challenge with optical systems is that by themselves, they can be  difficult for detection because it can be challenged by redirection to false targets and is limited by weather. For increased efficiencies, the use of optics/infrared could be paired with radio frequency or radar solutions for UAS detection.

Acoustics: Another tool that could be paired with other detection systems is the use of acoustics that detect sounds produced by UAS motors. These would need strong algorithms to determine the type of UAS and be able to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized UAS. With that, performance could be impacted by wind and other background noises. The cost of this technology is low to medium with a medium probability of detection with higher false alarm rates. Another concern is the lack of geolocating the operator unlike other detection methods mentioned above.

Countermeasures and response solutions are meant to interfere with or intercept drones in order to mitigate their risk to the airport environment. These solutions may not be allowed in some States so operators are encouraged to contact their regulatory authorities. Countermeasures can be grouped into two groups: electronic and kinetic. Electronic mechanisms require the use of RF communications or GPS to be effective while kinetics use physical means to mitigate unauthorized drones.

Electronic Jamming: The most common tool being used for mitigating drones is the use of electronic jammers. This is the intentional use of blocking signals between the UAS operator and the drone. These types of jammers can disrupt both RF and GNSS links, and once those links are jammed, the UAS is forced to land immediately or return to home location. Concerns do rise in that when a signal is jammed, there is a high probability of the drone crashing, or it could unintentionally interfere with other airport systems within the vicinity of the unauthorized UAS.

Manipulation: Manipulation of a UAS refers to a third party taking over a UAS remotely by impersonating its remote control. Manipulation employs algorithms, often enhanced with artificial intelligence, to take control of the UAS with a new, “smarter” communications link that removes the UAS from the threat environment. The manipulating signal gives a third party an opportunity to neutralize the UAS by taking over the flight and downloading its data. This technology requires extensive maintenance of libraries of the communications employed by evolving products on the marketplace, which varies by manufacturer and model.

Kinetic Mitigations: Kinetic mitigations refer to intercepting unauthorized UAS by physical means. The examples that are currently used or being tested are as follows:

  • Live Fire: The use of conventional weapons, typically firearms, to target and shoot down UAS.
  • Nets: UAS with attack nets capture and bring back targeted UAS.
  • Use of autonomous kinetic interception methods with the option of a manned launch with monitoring.
  • Lasers: Directed energy to destroy the UAS, causing it to crash to the ground.
  • Birds of Prey: Trained birds with protective gear used to attack and crash UAS located in a restricted area.

Geofencing: Geofencing has mitigating qualities built into the UAS itself. This technology can be updated by manufacturers to include new and temporary restricted zones, evolving with risk-based data and information. Some manufacturers have gone so far as to expand the airport area restricted zones from two-dimensional circles to an enhanced safety zone. Manufacturers are helping to restrict access to sensitive flight locations, including airports, except for those authorized for approved UAS missions. Geofencing could also act in ensuring “careless and clueless” UAS operators are not able to interfere with airport operations.


United Nations C-UAS

Asan, 20 May 2022 – The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) concluded a capacity-building training workshop on Counter-Terrorism and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Digital Forensics, in partnership with the Korean National Police University (KNPU) and the Naif Arab University of Security Sciences (NAUSS), 16-20 May, 2022. The event delivered training and raised awareness on the state of art in the area of drone digital forensics and counter-terrorism to 32 Law Enforcement officials from the seven League of Arab States’ members.

Dr. Jehangir Khan, Director of UNCCT/UNOCT, delivered a statement emphasizing the need for cooperation and information exchange to prevent the potential use of drones in terrorist attacks. He also highlighted the importance of training and interacting with law enforcement in the area of drone digital forensics – such as in events like these. The area of drones is broadly covered under the Global Counter-Terrorism Program on Autonomous and Remotely Operated Systems (AROS Program).

The event was the first in-person training on drones delivered by the UNCCT/UNOCT, following the successfully completed Expert Roundtable in March 2022. The workshop will be followed up by several additional training events on drone digital forensics in the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.

The United Nations Security Council resolution 2370 (2017) strongly condemns the continued flow of weapons, including drones and their components to and between Da’esh, Al-Qaida, their affiliates, and associated groups, illegal armed groups and criminals. The resolution also encourages Member States to prevent and disrupt procurement networks for such weapons, systems and components.

This framework is further supported by the General Assembly’s seventh review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, resolution (A/RES/75/291) adopted on 30 June 2021, which strongly condemns the terrorist flow of drones and expresses concern over the weaponization of commercial drones.

UN TV – Preventing and Countering Terrorist Use of UAS


INTERPOL Stadia Activities


For more information on C-UAS…

2023 – Is drone detection technology part of a counter-drone system?


Air Traffic Control (ATC)

Air Traffic Control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace. The primary purpose of ATC worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize, and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots.  Typically, a nation’s NAA/CAA will also manage ATC, like in the US where the FAA performs both functions. However, in some countries these ATC functions are provided by other agencies. This will become clear in this book when you look up each specific country’s airspace.


EUROCONTROL, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, is an international organization working to achieve safe and seamless air traffic management across Europe. Founded in 1963, EUROCONTROL, as of 2023, has 41 member states. For ease throughout this book, I have indicated below the country’s name whether or not it is a member state of EUROCONTROL.


Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) is a group of experts from NAAs/CAAs and regional aviation safety organizations. JARUS recommends technical, safety, and operational requirements to safely integrate UAS into aviation. JARUS provides guidance material to facilitate each authority to write their own requirements and avoid duplicated efforts. As of 2023, JARUS has 65 member organizations, 63 countries, as well as EASA and EUROCONTROL. In this book, I have indicated below the country’s name whether or not it is a member of JARUS.


Now that you are familiar with the key organizations, let us switch gears and talk airspace. According to the ICAO Annex 2 manual these definitions will help you understand the airspace over a majority of the earth’s countries.

This will be helpful as you navigate each country’s ENR 1.4 that describes what portions of airspace types exist over that country.


Defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of aircraft.

Aerodrome control service

Air Traffic Control service for aerodrome traffic.

Aerodrome control tower

Unit established to provide air traffic control service to aerodrome traffic.

Aerodrome traffic

All traffic on the maneuvering area of an aerodrome and all aircraft flying in the vicinity of an aerodrome.

Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ)

An airspace of defined dimensions established around an aerodrome for the protection of aerodrome traffic. Can be circular with a radius based on the length of the runway.

Class A

All operations must be conducted under IFR.

All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance.

All flights are separated from each other by ATC.

Class B

Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR.

All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance.

All flights are separated from each other by ATC.

Class C

Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR.

All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance (country-specific variations notwithstanding).

Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other and from flights operating under VFR, but VFR flights are not separated from each other.

Flights operating under VFR are given traffic information in respect of other VFR flights.

Class D

Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR.

All flights are subject to ATC clearance (country-specific variations notwithstanding).

Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other and are given traffic information in respect of VFR flights.

Flights operating under VFR are given traffic information in respect of all other flights.

Class E

Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR.

Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other and are subject to ATC clearance.

Flights under VFR are not subject to ATC clearance.

As far as is practical, traffic information is given to all flights in respect of VFR flights.

Class F

Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR.

ATC separation will be provided, so far as practical, to aircraft operating under IFR.

Traffic information may be given as far as is practical in respect of other flights.

Class G

Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR.

ATC has no authority, but VFR minimums are to be known by pilots.

Traffic information may be given as far as is practical in respect of other flights.

Controlled aerodrome

Aerodrome at which air traffic control service is provided to aerodrome traffic.

Controlled airspace

Airspace of defined dimensions within which air traffic control service is provided in accordance with the airspace classification. Controlled airspace is a generic term which covers Classes A, B, C, D, and E.

Control Area (CTA)

Controlled airspace extending upwards from a specified limit above the earth.

Control Zone (CTR)

Controlled airspace extending upwards from the surface of the earth to a specified upper limit.

Danger area

Airspace of defined dimensions within which activities dangerous to the flight of aircraft may exist at specified times.

Flight Information Center (FIC)

Unit established to provide flight information service and alerting service.

Flight Information Region (FIR) 

Airspace of defined dimensions within which flight information service and alerting service are provided.

Flight Level (FL)

Vertical altitude at standard atmospheric level, nominally expressed in hundreds of feet.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)

Set of regulations that concern flying by reference to instruments in the flight deck, and where navigation is accomplished by reference to electronic signals.

Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC)

Meteorological conditions expressed in terms of visibility, distance from cloud, and ceiling, less than the minima specified for visual meteorological conditions (VMC).

Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone (MATZ) 

Version of ATZ for military bases.

Prohibited area

Airspace of defined dimensions, above the land areas or territorial waters of a state, within which the flight of aircraft is prohibited.

Restricted area

Airspace of defined dimensions, above the land areas or territorial waters of a state, within which the flight of aircraft is restricted in accordance with certain specified conditions.

Special Airspace

These may limit pilot operation in certain areas.

These consist of Prohibited areas, Restricted areas, Warning areas, Military Operations Areas (MOAs), Alert Areas, and Controlled Firing Areas (CFAs), all of which can be found on the flight charts.

Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR)

Set of regulations under which a pilot may operate an aircraft.

Special case of operating under VFR where a VFR flight is cleared by ATC to operate within a CTR in meteorological conditions that are poorer than VMC.

Terminal Control Area (TCA) 

Control area normally established at the confluence of Air Traffic Service routes in the vicinity of one or more major aerodromes.

Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA) 

Designated area of controlled airspace surrounding a major airport where there is a high volume of traffic.

Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA)

Delimited airspace in which radar and ATC services are made available to pilots flying under IFR or optionally VFR for the purposes of maintaining aircraft separation.

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) 

Set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.

Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) 

Meteorological conditions expressed in terms of visibility, distance from cloud, and ceiling, equal to or better than specified minima.

Classes A-E are controlled airspace.

Classes F-G are uncontrolled airspace.

Each NAA/CAA determines how it uses the ICAO classifications in its airspace design.

Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR)

No discussion of global airspace would be complete without mention of Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR).


The SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking is an institutionalized European partnership between private and public sector partners set up to accelerate, through research and innovation, the delivery of the Digital European Sky. To do so, it is harnessing, developing, and accelerating the take-up of the most cutting-edge technological solutions to manage conventional aircraft, drones, air taxis, and vehicles flying at higher altitudes.

Delivering the Digital European Sky describes U-space in more detail. U-space is a digitally native traffic management system that will ensure the safe and secure integration of drones on the airspace especially in urban areas, considering new and existing air vehicles and autonomous operations. Demonstrating the everyday benefits of U-Space is a great read!

Furthermore, in October 2022, SESAR-JU shared AI in Air Traffic Management to bring intelligent and trustworthy automation to Europe’s aviation sector.


To ensure that we are all on the same page, and to avoid you, the reader, from getting lost in terminology, I begin with a rather extensive list of acronyms, and definitions. You should also familiarize yourself with the entities or key players in UAS / UAM / AAM listed in Appendix A – Entities (VIDEO).

But first, a word of caution.

Some countries, to switch to more gender-neutral language, have replaced the word unmanned with uncrewed and likewise manned with crewed. For the sake of simplicity, I have chosen to continue to use the former language as most official documents in the US, where I reside, still retain the same at the time of writing.

Acronyms – A

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

AAM – Advanced Air Mobility

An air transportation system concept that integrates new, transformational aircraft designs and flight technologies into existing and modified airspace operations. This system primarily utilizes electric aircraft, including eVTOL and eCTOL aircraft to carry passengers or cargo, with a gross takeoff weight of 300 lbs or more. AAM expands the UAM concept to rural areas and also incorporates intra-regional UAM services, building upon the UAM concept by incorporating use cases not specific to operations in urban environments, such as:

– Commercial Inter-city (Longer Range/Thin Haul)

– Cargo Delivery

– Public Services

– Private/Recreational Vehicles

AC – Advisory Circular

A single, uniform, agency-wide system that the FAA uses to deliver advisory (non-regulatory) material to the aviation community. They provide an acceptable, clearly understood method for complying with a regulation.  They standardize implementation of a regulation or harmonize implementation for the international aviation community. They resolve a general misunderstanding of a regulation. They respond to a request from some government entity, such as General Accounting Office, NTSB, or the Office of the Inspector General. They help the industry and FAA effectively implement a regulation. They explain requirements and limits of an FAA grant program. They expand on standards needed to promote aviation safety, including the safe operation of airports.

ACR – Airman Certification Representative

An individual representing a specific FIRC sponsor who is authorized to accept FAA applications for renewal of valid flight instructor certificates from successful graduates of that sponsor’s program and to issue temporary flight instructor certificates.

ACS – Airman Certification Standards

The guide for students, instructors, and FAA-designated examiners to know what applicants must know, do, and consider for their FAA Knowledge Exam and practical (checkride) to earn their pilot certificate or rating. The ACS adds task-specific knowledge and risk management elements to each Area of Operation and Task. The result is a comprehensive presentation that integrates the standards for what an applicant needs to know, consider, and do to pass both the knowledge test and the practical test for a certificate or rating.

ACTS – Airman Certificate Testing Service

The Airman Testing Standards Branch of the FAA recently awarded a new airman knowledge testing contract called the ACTS. The ACTS contract provides a comprehensive, best practices approach to enhance the overall quality of FAA Airman Knowledge Testing. The ACTS vendor supports the FAA in development, assessment, maintenance, and delivery of airman knowledge tests. The vendor also enhances knowledge test items, knowledge tests, and supplementary material with automated state-of-the-art technology and academic expertise.

AD – Airworthiness Directive

ADs are legally enforceable regulations issued by the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR 39 to correct an unsafe condition in a product. Part 39 defines a product as an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance.

ADM – Aeronautical Decision Making

Systematic approach to the mental process used by pilots to determine consistently the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances.

ADS-B – Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast

ADS–B is an advanced surveillance technology that combines an aircraft’s positioning source, aircraft avionics, and a ground infrastructure to create an accurate surveillance interface between aircraft and ATC. ADS–B is a performance–based surveillance technology that is more precise than radar and consists of two different services: ADS–B Out and ADS–B In.

AEC – Airspace Encounter Category

Qualitative classification of the rate at which a UAS would encounter a manned aircraft in typical civil airspace found in the US and Europe. The airspace encounter risk was grouped by operational altitude, airport environment, controlled airspace, uncontrolled Mode C veil/TMZ airspace, and in uncontrolled airspace over rural and/or urban populations, into 12 categorizations. The AEC is based on the assessment of the proximity (the more aircraft in the airspace, the higher the rate of proximity, the greater the risk of collision), geometry (an airspace structure which reduces the rate at which aircraft find themselves on collision courses), and dynamics (in general, the faster the speed of the aircraft in the airspace, the greater the number of collision risks over a set time). Airspace where there is a higher density of manned aircraft, few airspace structural controls, and high aircraft closing speeds, will experience higher airspace encounter rates than in airspace where there is low density, high airspace structure and slow speeds.

AEH – Airborne Electronic Hardware

Custom, micro coded components, or devices used as part of the airborne system. The primary technologies include Programmable Logic Devices, Field Programmable Gate Arrays, Application-Specific Integrated Circuits, and similar circuits used as components of programmable electronic hardware.

AELP – Aviation English Language Proficiency

The FAA and ICAO, the world’s organization overseeing aviation, require all pilots flying under their organizations to have attained ICAO “Level 4” English ability. This means all pilots must speak, read, write, and understand English fluently.

AGL – Above Ground Level

The literal height above the ground over which you’re flying.

AIM – Aeronautical Information Manual

The FAA’s official guide to basic flight information and ATC procedures. The AIM contains the basic aeronautical knowledge information required to fly in the US NAS.

AIP – Aeronautical Information Publication

Publication issued by or with the authority of a state and containing aeronautical information of a lasting character essential to air navigation. ENR 1.4 specifically details the nation’s airspace.

AIS – Abbreviated Injury Scale

Anatomically based, consensus-derived, global severity scoring system that classifies each injury by body region according to its relative importance on a 6-point ordinal scale. AIS is the basis for the Injury Severity Score (ISS) calculation of the multiply injured patient.

AKTR – Airman Knowledge Test Report

The primary purpose of the printed AKTR is to communicate to the applicant the specific subjects which the applicant should study or obtain additional training in prior to the practical test. It is also used by Examiners to determine completion of the appropriate knowledge test within required timeframes.

AMC – Acceptable Means of Compliance

Non-binding standards adopted by EASA to illustrate means to establish compliance with the Basic Regulation and its Implementing Rules.

ANSP – Air Navigation Service Provider

An organization that provides the service of managing the aircraft in flight or on the maneuvering area of an and which is the legitimate holder of that responsibility.

AO – Airspace Observer

A person who assists the remote pilot by performing unaided visual scanning of the airspace in which the UA is operating for any potential hazard in the air.

APA – Administrative Procedure Act

Governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations. It includes requirements for publishing notices of proposed and final rule making in the Federal Register and provides opportunities for the public to comment on notices of proposed rule making.

ARC – Aviation Rule making Committee

A rule making committee that provides information, advice, and recommendations to the FAA. The FAA has the sole authority to establish and task ARCs, which are not subject to FACA and therefore somewhat more flexible. ARCs are formed on an ad hoc basis, for a specific purpose, and are typically of limited duration.

ARC – Air Risk Class

A generalized qualitative classification of the rate at which a drone would encounter a manned aircraft in a typical civil airspace. It provides an initial indication of the collision risk for the airspace before mitigations are applied.

ASI – Aviation Safety Inspector

FAA’s ASIs administer, investigate, and enforce safety regulations and standards for the production, operation, maintenance, and modification of all aircraft flying today.

AST – Aviation Safety Technician

Perform scheduled maintenance and repair work on aircraft machinery, ensuring aircraft airframes and engines are maintained within FAA standards. They usually work in hangars, repair stations, and airfields.

ATC – Air Traffic Control

A service provided by ground-based air traffic controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and through a given section of controlled airspace and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace.

ATD – Anthropomorphic Test Device

Commonly known as a crash test dummy, it is a high-precision test instrument used to measure human injury potential in vehicle crashes.

ATM – Air Traffic Management

An aviation term encompassing all systems that assist aircraft to depart from an aerodrome, transit airspace, and land at a destination aerodrome, consisting of air traffic services (ATS) including air traffic control (ATC), airspace management (ASM), and air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM).

ATO – Air Traffic Organization

The operational arm of the FAA. It is responsible for providing safe and efficient air navigation services to 29.4 million square miles of airspace. This represents more than 17 percent of the world’s airspace and includes all the US and large portions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.

ATS – Air Traffic Service

Generic term meaning variously, flight information service, alerting service, air traffic advisory service, air traffic control service (area control service, approach control service, or aerodrome control service).

AWC – Aviation Weather Center

Delivers consistent, timely and accurate weather information for the world airspace system. They are a team of highly skilled people dedicated to working with customers and partners to enhance safe and efficient flight.

Acronyms – B

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line of Sight

A term relating to the operation of UAVs and drones at distances outside the normal visible range of the pilot. BVLOS drone operations provide numerous advantages over regular line-of-sight flying.

Acronyms – C

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

C2 – Command and Control

A “set of organizational and technical attributes and processes … [that] employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions” to achieve the goals of an organization or enterprise, according to a 2015 definition by military scientists Marius Vassiliou, David S. Alberts, and Jonathan R. Agre. The term often refers to a military system.

C2 – Control and Communications

Command and Control (C2), also referred to as Control and Non-Payload Communication (CNPC), refers to the communications link between a UAV and its ground station that is responsible for the management and control of the aircraft. C2 links are an essential part of drone operations whether the aircraft is being directly remotely piloted by a human or programmed to fly autonomously.

C2 Link

Data link between a UA and a remote pilot station or control station that is used in the management of a flight.


Command, Control, and Communication

CAA – Civil Aviation Authority

A national or supranational statutory authority that oversees the regulation of civil aviation, including the maintenance of an aircraft register.

CBO – Community Based Organization

A public or private nonprofit organization of demonstrated effectiveness that – (A) is representative of a community or significant segments of a community; and (B) provides educational or related services to individuals in the community.

CCS – Combined Charging Standard

A widely accepted global charging standard for electric vehicles (EVs) that supports most electric aviation and electric ground vehicles.

CFI – Certificated Flight Instructor

A pilot who has been trained by an instructor specifically on how to teach people to learn to fly. Flight Instructors are responsible for taking people up in an aircraft and teaching them how to fly.

CFR – Code of Federal Regulations

Published by the FAA, here is a Complete list, updated weekly.

CG – Center of Gravity

The average location of the weight of an object.

CMUs – Control and Monitoring Units

Many comments issued during the public consultation by EASA focused on the new element introduced in Part 21, namely the ‘control and monitoring unit’ (CMU). At the time of the NPA, the CMU was defined as ‘command unit’ (CU) by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 and CU was, therefore, used throughout the adaptation of Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012, in its Annex I (Part 21) and in various forms. However, in the last stages of review of the Opinion, it was decided to provide a new definition for ‘CMU’ in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947. This term was, therefore, used in Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012.

COA – Certificate of Waiver or Authorization

FAA grant of approval for a specific flight operation.

CONOPS – Concept of Operations

Clearly defined and detailed purpose of the system/operation intended for the RPAS. Includes a description of the operational aspects of the crew, RPAS system, processes, and procedures, and the expected environment.

CoW – Certificate of Waiver

FAA reviews, issues, or denies requests for a waiver.

CRM – Crew Resource Management

The effective use of all available resources for flight crew personnel to assure a safe and efficient operation, reducing error, avoiding stress and increasing efficiency.

CS – Control Station

Interface used by the remote pilot or the person manipulating the controls to control the flightpath of the SUA.

C-UAS – Counter UAS

A smart-sensor and effector package capable of remotely detecting SUAS and then tracking and classifying them before providing the option to disrupt their activity.

Acronyms – D

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

D – Controlling dimension

The diameter of the smallest circle enclosing the VTOL aircraft projection on a horizontal plane, while the aircraft is in the takeoff or landing configuration, with rotors/propellers turning, if applicable.

DAA – Detect and Avoid

The capability to see, sense, or detect conflicting traffic or other hazards and take the appropriate action.

DOC – Declaration of Compliance

Record submitted to FAA that certifies the SUA conforms to the Category 2 or Category 3 requirements under 14 CFR 107 Part D

DPE – Designated Pilot Examiner

An individual, appointed in accordance with 14 CFR 183.23, who meets the qualification requirements of the Order 8900.2, General Aviation Airman Designee Handbook, and who: (1) is technically qualified; (2) holds all pertinent category, class, and type ratings for each aircraft related to their designation; (3) meets requirements of 14 CFR part 61, sections 61.56, 61.57. and 61.58, as appropriate; (4) is current and qualified to act as PIC of each aircraft for which they are authorized; and (5) maintains at least a third-class medical certificate, if required; and maintains a current flight instructor certificate, if required. A DPE for a rotorcraft/helicopter designation must hold the appropriate category, class, and, if appropriate, type ratings. Examiner’s authorizations will be issued on the basis of each make and basic model of helicopter, regardless of the aircraft’s size and power.

Acronyms – E

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

eCTOL – Electric Conventional Take-Off and Landing

eCTOL are similar to eSTOL but different in their performance. Of conventional design, the eCTOL concept considers current aircraft, such as the well-known Cessna Grand Caravan or the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 hydroplane, powered entirely by electric motors.

EDL – Enhanced Driver’s License

State-issued enhanced drivers licenses that provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship.

EID – Enhanced Identification Card

An enhanced ID is more secure than a real ID and provides proof of U.S. citizenship, making it easier for owners to travel.

EMI – Electromagnetic Interference

Unwanted noise or interference in an electrical path or circuit caused by an outside source. It is also known as radio frequency interference. EMI can cause electronics to operate poorly, malfunction or stop working completely. EMI can be caused by natural or human-made sources.

EMS – Emergency Medical Service

Also known as ambulance services or paramedic services, are emergency services that provide urgent pre-hospital treatment and stabilization for serious illness and injuries and transport to definitive care.

ERP – Emergency Response Plan

A plan to deal with emergencies.

eSTOL – Electric Short Take-off and landing aircraft

eSTOL refers to the category of STOL aircraft that utilize battery technology, attaining propulsive power from electricity. eSTOL aircraft are able to take off and land on shorter than average runways.

ETC – Enhanced Tribal Card

Uses RFID technology (Radio Frequency Identification) to allow tribal members to be identified quickly and be given easy passage through land and seaports of entry into the US.

eVTOL – Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicle 

These new aircraft designs are instrumental in a new movement toward Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and/or Urban Air Mobility (UAM).


Acronyms – F

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

FAA Orders

Internal agency rules that apply to FAA employees but provide insight into how the FAA treats UAS.

FAA Order 8900.1 – Flight Standards Information Management System

Joint Order 7200.23 – Processing of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Requests

FAST – Free and Secure Trade

The program is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the US from Canada and Mexico. Initiated after 9/11, this innovative trusted traveler/trusted shipper program allows expedited processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements. FAST enrollment is open to truck drivers from the US, Canada, and Mexico.

FHSS – Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum

Method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly changing the carrier frequency among many distinct frequencies occupying a large spectral band. The changes are controlled by a code known to both transmitter and receiver.

FHWA – Federal Highway Administration

The FHWA provides stewardship over the construction, maintenance and preservation of the Nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. FHWA also conducts research and provides technical assistance to state and local agencies to improve safety, mobility, and to encourage innovation.

FMVSS – Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues FMVSS to implement laws from Congress. These regulations allow them to fulfill their mission to prevent and reduce vehicle crashes.

FPV – First Person View

FPV, also known as first-person point of view (POV), is the ability of the user of some technology to see from a particular visual perspective other than one’s actual location, such as the environment of a character in a video game, a drone, or a telemedicine client.

FPV Device – First-person view device

Device that generates and transmits a streaming video image to a control station display or monitor that gives the pilot of a UA the illusion of flying the aircraft from an on-board pilot’s perspective.

FRIA – FAA-Recognized Identification Area

A FRIA is a defined geographic area and both the UA and the person operating it must be located within the FRIA’s boundaries throughout the operation. In addition, the person operating the UA must be able to see it at all times throughout the operation.

FTN – Federal Aviation Administration Tracking Number

Beginning January 13, 2020, all applicants must establish an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) within IACRA before taking any FAA airman knowledge test. This identification number will be printed on the applicant’s Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR) in replacement of the Applicant ID number.

Acronyms – G

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

GCS – Ground Control Station

A ground station is typically a software application, running on a ground-based computer, that communicates with your UAV via wireless telemetry. It displays real-time data on the UAVs performance and position and can serve as a “virtual cockpit”, showing many of the same instruments that you would have if you were flying a real plane. A GCS can also be used to control a UAV in flight, uploading new mission commands and setting parameters. It is often also used to monitor the live video streams from a UAV’s cameras. There are at least 10 different ground control stations. On desktop there is (Mission Planner, APM Planner 2, MAVProxy, QGroundControl and UgCS. For Tablet / Smartphone there is Tower (DroidPlanner3), MAVPilot, AndroPilot, and SidePilot that can be used to communicate with ArduPilot (i.e. Copter, Plane, Rover, AntennaTracker).

GNSS – Global Navigation Satellite System

General term describing any satellite constellation that provides positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services on a global or regional basis.

GPS – Global Positioning System

The GPS, originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the US government and operated by the US Space Force.

GRC – Ground Risk Class

The UAS ground risk relates to the unmitigated risk of a person being struck by the drone (in case of loss of control) and is represented in the SORA by 11 Ground Risk Classes. The initial GRC is derived only from the dimensions and kinetic energy of the drone, the type of operation (VLOS or BVLOS) and the operational scenario (operations over an unpopulated or populated area, if the area is controlled or if the area includes a gathering of people).

GSE – Ground Support Equipment

GSE is the support equipment found at an airport, usually on the apron, the servicing area by the terminal. This equipment is used to service the aircraft between flights. As the name suggests, ground support equipment is there to support the operations of aircraft whilst on the ground. The role of this equipment generally involves ground power operations, aircraft mobility, and cargo/passenger loading operations.

Acronyms – H

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

HIC – Head Injury Criteria

The HIC is a measure of the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact. The HIC can be used to assess safety related to vehicles, personal protective gear, and sport equipment.

HMI – Human Machine Interface

The hardware or software through which an operator interacts with a controller. An HMI can range from a physical control panel with buttons and indicator lights to an industrial PC with a color graphics display running dedicated HMI software.

hVTOL – Hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing

These new aircraft designs are instrumental in a new movement toward Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and/or Urban Air Mobility (UAM).


Acronyms – I

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

IACRA – Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application

IACRA is the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA’s airman application process. IACRA helps ensure applicants meet regulatory and policy requirements through the use of extensive data validation. It also uses electronic signatures to protect the information’s integrity, eliminates paper forms, and prints temporary certificates.

IAM – Innovative Air Mobility

Drone and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air taxi operations. An air taxi is an aircraft operating under an air taxi operating certificate for the purpose of carrying passengers, mail, or cargo for revenue in accordance with 14 CFR Part 121 or Part 135.


In Accordance With

ICA – Instructions for Continued Airworthiness

ICA provide a way to keep products airworthy. ICA provide documentation of recommended methods, inspections, processes, and procedures. The ICA must contain information on each item or part, as appropriate, installed on the product.

IPP – Integration Pilot Program

Beginning in 2017, the UAS IPP has brought state, local, and tribal governments together with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to test and evaluate the integration of civil and public drone operations into our NAS. The program is assisting the USDOT and FAA craft new rules that support more complex low-altitude operations by: (1) Identifying ways to balance local and national interests related to drone integration; (2) Improving communications with local, state, and tribal jurisdictions; (3) Addressing security and privacy risks; and (4) Accelerating the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations. The program has created a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to drone integration and provided actionable information to the USDOT on expanded and universal integration of drones into the NAS.


Industrial, Scientific, and Medical

Acronyms – L

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

LOC – Loss of Control

Unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight and is a significant factor in several aviation accidents worldwide and the leading cause of jet fatalities worldwide. Loss of control may be the result of mechanical failure, external disturbances, aircraft upset conditions, or inappropriate crew actions or responses.

LOS – Line of Sight

A straight line along which an observer has unobstructed vision.

Acronyms – M

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

MCC – Multi Crew Cooperation

Functioning of the flight crew as a team of cooperating members led by the PIC.

METAR – Aviation Routine Weather Report

An observation of current surface weather reported in a standard international format. METARs are issued hourly unless significant weather changes have occurred.

MMC – Merchant Mariner Credential

Credential issued by the USCG in accordance with guidelines of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) to US seafarers to show evidence of a mariner’s qualifications. It is the standard documentation required for all crew members of US ships for all vessels required to operate with a licensed Master or Operator, regardless of size. The MMC replaced the Merchant Mariner’s Document, merchant mariner license, Certificate of Registry, and STCW Certificate.

MOC – Means of Compliance

Method an applicant uses to show its SUAS would not exceed the applicable injury severity limit upon impact with a human being, does not contain any exposed rotating parts that would cause lacerations, and does not have any safety defects.


Miles Per Hour

MSL – Mean Sea Level

Your true altitude or elevation. It’s the average height above standard sea level where the atmospheric pressure is measured in order to calibrate altitude.

MTOM – Maximum Takeoff Mass

Often referred to as maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), of an aircraft is a value defined by the aircraft manufacturer. It is the maximum mass at which the aircraft is certified for take-off due to structural or other limits. MTOW is usually specified in units of kilograms or pounds. The mass is a fixed value and does not vary with changes in temperature, altitude, or runway available.

MTOW – Maximum Takeoff Weight

Maximum gross takeoff weight (MGTOW) or maximum takeoff mass (MTOM) of an aircraft is the maximum weight at which the pilot is allowed to attempt to take off, due to structural or other limits.

Acronyms – N

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

NAA – National Aviation Authority

The Agency of a sovereign state, or by agreement or statute, a group of sovereign states, which is given responsibility for determining and administering the regulatory regime which is in place to ensure that aircraft can be operated safely.

NAS – National Airspace System

The common network of US Airspace – air navigation facilities, equipment, and services; airports or landing areas; aeronautical charts, information, and services; rules, regulations, and procedures; technical information; and manpower and material.

NextGen – Next Generation Air Transportation System

FAA’s ongoing multibillion-dollar infrastructure program to modernize the US NAS, which is the world’s busiest and most complex. NextGen is a series of interlinked programs, systems, and policies. It is satellite-based and relies on a network to share information and digital communications, so all users are aware of other users’ precise locations.

NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 

NHTSA‘s mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement.

NM – Nautical Mile

In the English measurement system, a nautical mile is 1.1508 miles, or 6,076 feet.

NOTAM – Notice to Air Missions

Notice distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition, or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure, or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations.

NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Official document that announces and explains the agency’s plans to address a problem or accomplish a goal. They are published in the Federal Register. Recently published rulemaking documents.

Acronyms – O

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

In the business world, this means a company that makes a product to be sold by another company under its own name.

OM – Operations Manual

Outlines the processes that are necessary to achieve business goals, documents on how to do them, and who is responsible for carrying them out. A company can have more than one operations manual.

OPA – Optionally Piloted Aircraft

A hybrid between a conventional piloted aircraft and an UAV.

OSO – Operational Safety Objective

The OSOs take account of the risks of the operation. The mitigation measures, the competence of the personnel involved and operation, and the technical features of the UAV are adequate and sufficiently robust to keep the operation safe.

Acronyms – P

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

PDRA – Pre-Defined Risk Assessment

A shortened set of prescriptive conditions that must be complied with by a UAS operator to conduct a pre-determined type of operation.

PIC – Pilot in Command

The person aboard the aircraft who is ultimately responsible for its operation and safety during flight.

PL – Public Law

The part of law that governs relations between legal persons and a government, between different institutions within a state, between different branches of governments, as well as relationships between persons that are of direct concern to society. Public law comprises constitutional law, administrative law, tax law and criminal law, as well as all procedural law. Laws concerning relationships between individuals belong to private law.

Acronyms – R

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.


Research and Development

RAM – Regional Air Mobility

An air transportation primarily utilizing eCTOL and eVTOL aircraft to carry passengers, cargo, or provide services in a regional setting.

RBO – Risk-Based Oversight

A way of performing oversight, where planning is driven by the combination of risk profile and safety performance; and execution focuses on the management of risks, besides ensuring compliance.

RC – Radio Control

The use of control signals transmitted by radio to remotely control a device.

RCP – Required Communication Performance

The requirements needed to support performance-based communication, being requirements for the following: (a) ATC and associated ground equipment; (b) the communication service provider; (c) aircraft equipment; (d) flight crew.

RF – Radio Frequency

The oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around 20 kHz to around 300 GHz.

RLP – Required C2 Link Performance

Generic term for Required end to end C2 Link Performance

RP – Remote Pilot

Controls an UAV. As a remote pilot, your duties include flying and maintaining a drone and its systems, as well as remaining up to date on all FAA regulations regarding UAVs.

RPA – Remotely Piloted Aircraft

UA that is piloted from a remote pilot station.

RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System

RPA, its associated remote pilot stations, the required command and control links and any other components as specified in the type design.

RPIC – Remote Pilot in Command

Person who holds a remote pilot certificate with a SUAS rating and has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of a SUA operation conducted under 14 CFR 107.

RPS – Remote Pilot Station

The station at which the RPIC manages the flight of a UA.

RPV – Remotely Piloted Vehicle

Unmanned vehicle capable of being controlled from a distant location through a communication link. Normally designed to be recoverable.

RVSM – Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum

The reduction of vertical space between aircraft from 2,000 to 1,000 feet at flight levels from 29,000 feet up to 41,000 feet. RVSM was implemented to increase airspace capacity and provide access to more fuel-efficient flight levels.

Acronyms – S

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

SAF – Sustainable Aviation Fuel 

SAF, made from non-petroleum feedstocks, is an alternative fuel that reduces emissions from air transportation. SAF can be blended at different levels with limits of 10% to 50%, depending on the feedstock and how the fuel is produced.

SAIL – Specific Assurance and Integrity Level

The chosen parameter in the SORA methodology to consolidate the ground and air risk analysis. The level of confidence represented by the SAIL is not quantitative but instead corresponds to objectives that need to be complied with, descriptions of the activities that might support the compliance with those objectives and evidence to indicate the objectives have been satisfied. Based on the SAIL (levels I – VI) Operational Safety Objectives (OSO) are determined for barriers and mitigations to different threats, such as a technical issue with the UAS, a deterioration of external supporting systems, human error, and adverse operating conditions. These OSO’s basically describe the requirements for the operator’s organization, the drone and the pilot.

SARP – Standards and Recommended Practices

Technical specifications adopted by the Council of ICAO in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation to achieve “the highest practicable degree of uniformity in regulations, standards, procedures and organization in relation to aircraft, personnel, airways and auxiliary services in all matters in which such uniformity will facilitate and improve air navigation”. SARPs are published by ICAO in the form of Annexes to Chicago Convention. SARPs do not have the same legal binding force as the Convention itself, because Annexes are not international treaties. Moreover States agreed to “undertake to collaborate in securing (…) uniformity”, not to “comply with”. Each Contracting State may notify the ICAO Council of differences between SARPs and its own regulations and practices. Those differences are published in the form of Supplements to Annexes.

SM – Statute Mile

Unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet.

SMM – Safety Management Manual

Guidance material on safety management principles and concepts, State Safety Program (SSP) and Safety Management System implementation are contained in the ICAO Safety Management Manual (SMM) (Doc 9859).

SMS – Safety Management System

Systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structure, accountability, responsibilities, policies, and procedures.

SOP – Standard Operating Procedure

A set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations.

SORA – Specific Operations Risk Assessment

Multi-stage process of risk assessment aiming at risk analysis of certain UA operations, as well as defining necessary mitigations and operational safety objectives and their required level of robustness.

SPECI – Aviation Selected Special Weather Code

An unscheduled report taken when there is a significant change in the weather during the period between the hourly reports. SPECIs contain all data elements found in a METAR, plus additional plain language information which elaborates on data in the body of the report. Fortunately, METARs and SPECIs are coded using the same format.

sRPA – Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft

RPA that has a maximum take-off weight of at least 250 g (0.55 pounds) but not more than 25 kg (55 pounds).

SSP – State Safety Program

Integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety.

STC – Supplemental Type Certificate

A supplemental type certificate (STC) is a type certificate (TC) issued when an applicant has received FAA approval to modify an aeronautical product from its original design.  The STC, which incorporates by reference the related TC, approves not only the modification but also how that modification affects the original design.

STOL – Short Takeoff and Landing

STOL refers to the length of runway, land or water required for take-offs and landings. A STOL aircraft is defined as an aircraft that is ideal for take-offs and landings in a small area of land or water.

SUA – Small Unmanned Aircraft

Weighing less that 55 pounds, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft, and can be flown without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

SUAS – Small Unmanned Aircraft System

SUA and its associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the SUA) that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the SUA in the NAS.

SUMPs – Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

Strategic plan designed to improve quality of life in cities by satisfying mobility needs of their inhabitants, businesses, and their environment through the implementation of sustainable mobility and transport solutions.

SWIM – System Wide Information Management

SWIM provides a single point of access for near real-time, relevant, and reliable aeronautical, flight, weather, and surveillance information. It delivers the infrastructure, standards, and services needed to optimize the secure exchange of relevant data across the NAS and the aviation community. As the digital data-sharing backbone of NextGen, SWIM enables both operational excellence and innovation.


Acronyms – T

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

TAF – Terminal Aerodrome Forecast

A TAF is a concise statement of the expected meteorological conditions at an airport during a specified period (usually 24 hours). Each ICAO state may modify the code as needed. The TAF code, as described here, is the one used in the United States. TAFs use the same weather code found in METAR weather reports.

TC – Type Certificate

Type certification is the approval of the design of the aircraft and all component parts (including propellers, engines, control stations, etc.). It signifies the design is in compliance with applicable airworthiness, noise, fuel venting, and exhaust emissions standards. The Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) is the main ACO for UAS type certification.

TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System

TCAS is a family of airborne devices that function independently of the ground-based ATC system and provide collision avoidance protection for a broad spectrum of aircraft types. All TCAS systems provide some degree of collision threat alerting, and a traffic display. TCAS I and II differ primarily by their alerting capability.

TFR – Temporary Flight Restriction

Airspace restrictions (TFRs) are communicated to pilots through Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs). They restrict aircraft (including drones) from operating without permission in a certain area for a limited time. You must always check NOTAMs prior to your flight.

TMPR – Tactical Mitigation Performance Requirement

TMPR provides tactical mitigations to assist the pilot in detecting and avoiding traffic under BVLOS conditions. The TMPR is the amount of Tactical Mitigation required to further mitigate the risks that could not be mitigated through Strategic Mitigation (residual risk).

TSO – Technical Standard Order

A Technical Standard Order (TSO) is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, and appliances used on civil aircraft. When authorized to manufacture a material, part, or appliances to a TSO standard, this is referred to as TSO authorization. Receiving a TSO authorization is both design and production approval. Receiving a TSO Authorization is not an approval to install and use the article in the aircraft. It means that the article meets the specific TSO and the applicant is authorized to manufacture it.

TWIC – Transportation Worker Identification Credential

TWIC®, is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels. TSA conducts a security threat assessment (background check) to determine a person’s eligibility and issues the credential. US citizens and immigrants in certain immigration categories may apply for the credential. Most mariners licensed by the US Coast Guard also require a credential.

Acronyms – U

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

UA – Unmanned Aircraft

Aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

UAM – Urban Air Mobility

UAM envisions a safe and efficient aviation transportation system that will use highly automated aircraft that will operate and transport passengers or cargo at lower altitudes within urban and suburban areas. UAM will be composed of an ecosystem that considers the evolution and safety of the aircraft, the framework for operation, access to airspace, infrastructure development, and community engagement.

UAS – Unmanned Aircraft System

UA and the equipment to control it remotely.

UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Popularly known as drone, is an airborne system or an aircraft operated remotely by a human operator or autonomously by an onboard computer.

UOC – UAS Operator Certificate

ICAO rules require that any UA over 25kg requires a UAS authorization or a UOC.

UPP – UTM Pilot Program

SUAS operators are continuously exercising new applications for SUAS, including goods delivery, infrastructure inspection, search and rescue, and agricultural monitoring. There has been limited infrastructure available to manage the widespread expansion of SUAS operations within the NAS. In response to this need, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 established the UPP to define an initial set of industry and FAA capabilities required to support UTM operations.

USC – United States Code

The USC is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the US.

UTM – Unmanned Traffic Management

The FAA, NASA, other federal partner agencies, and industry are collaborating to explore concepts of operation, data exchange requirements, and a supporting framework to enable multiple BVLOS drone operations at low altitudes (under 400 feet AGL) in airspace where FAA air traffic services are not provided. UTM is a “traffic management” ecosystem for uncontrolled operations that is separate from, but complementary to, the FAA’s ATM system. UTM development will ultimately identify services, roles and responsibilities, information architecture, data exchange protocols, software functions, infrastructure, and performance requirements for enabling the management of low-altitude uncontrolled drone operations.

Acronyms – V

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

VCA – VTOL-Capable Aircraft

A power-driven, heavier-than-air aircraft, other than aeroplane or rotorcraft, capable of performing vertical take-off and landing by means of lift and thrust units used to provide lift during take-off and landing.

VLL – Very Low Level

VLL airspace is the space below 500ft AGL. This boundary was chosen by various stakeholders under the mistaken assumption that manned aviation does not normally operate below 500ft. In fact, this is exactly the airspace most often used e.g. by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), police and military aircraft, training flights performing practice emergency procedures, glider aircraft landing outside the airfield perimeter and others including many airspace users with little protection against collisions with other aircraft. However, this VLL airspace definition is not related to today’s ICAO worldwide airspace classification. It would make perfect sense, if drones and manned aviation are to co-exist in the same airspace, to also use the same airspace dimensions and classifications.

VLOS – Visual Line of Sight

Operation in which the pilot or UA observer maintains direct unaided visual contact with the UA.

VO – Visual Observer

Person the RPIC designates as a crew member who assists the SUA RPIC and the person manipulating the controls to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground.

VTOL – Vertical Take-off and Landing

A VTOL aircraft is one that can take off and land vertically without relying on a runway. This classification can include a variety of types of aircraft including helicopters as well as thrust-vectoring fixed-wing aircraft and other hybrid aircraft with powered rotors such as cyclogyros/cyclocopters and gyrodynes.


Acronyms – W

The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

W&B – Weight and Balance

Weight and balance’s best analogy is a lever and fulcrum (think teeter-totter). If perfectly balanced on the fulcrum, the lever will be absolutely level. Adding any weight to the lever upsets the balance, and how much influence the weight has depends on its location on the lever. The greater the distance from the fulcrum, the greater the influence.

WINGS – FAA Pilot Proficiency Program

The objective of the WINGS Program is to address the primary accident causal factors that continue to plague the general aviation community. By focusing on this objective, the FAA hopes to reduce the number of accidents they see each year for the same causes. It is not a simple “Award” program but is instead a true proficiency program, designed to help improve your skills and knowledge as pilots.

The WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.


The following primarily come from either ICAO documents, EASA documents, or FAA documents.

Aerial Work

Aircraft operation in which an aircraft is used for specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, search and rescue, and aerial advertisement.


Defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of aircraft.


The FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service includes more than 1,300 engineers, scientists, inspectors, test pilots and other safety professionals. They are responsible for oversight of design, production, airworthiness certification, and continued airworthiness programs for nearly all US civil aviation products: large and small airplanes, rotorcraft, engines, and propellers and foreign import products. The FAA collaborates with the ICAO and other civil aviation authorities to maintain and advance the safety of international air transportation. An airworthiness certificate is an FAA document which grants authorization to operate an aircraft in flight. There are two different classifications of FAA airworthiness certificates: Standard Airworthiness Certificate, and Special Airworthiness Certificate. 14 CFR Part 21 deals with UAS.

Assemblies of people

Gatherings where persons are unable to move away due to the density of the people present.

Corrective lenses

Spectacles or contact lenses

Design VTOL aircraft

The design vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft is the largest electric, hydrogen, or hybrid VTOL aircraft that is expected to operate at a vertiport. This design VTOL aircraft is used to size the TLOF, FATO, and Safety Area.

Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and reasoning to help decision making.


This is an emerging form of autonomous UAS technology that uses drones that deploy from and return to self-contained landing “boxes.” Traditional drones consist of both a non-manned aircraft and some form of ground-based controller. Drone-in-a-box systems, on the other hand, deploy autonomously from a box that also functions as a landing pad and charging base. After carrying out a pre-programmed list of instructions, they return to their “base” to charge and/or upload information. Stand-alone drone-in-a-box systems are composed of three main components:(1) a ground station that charges and shelters the drone; (2) the drone itself; and (3) a computer management system that allows the operator to interact with the system, including multiple drones. The ground station also provides battery charging and conducts health checks, and can be made of either metal or carbon fibre.

Flight termination system

System that when activated, terminates the flight of a UA.


In respect to remotely piloted aircraft, an interruption or loss of the C2 link such that the remote pilot is no longer controlling the aircraft and the UA is not flying its preprogrammed procedures in the predicted manner.

Generative Artificial Intelligence

Type of artificial intelligence (AI) that involves generating new, original data or content that did not exist before. Unlike other types of AI that may be focused on prediction or classification, generative AI is focused on the creation of new and original content, such as text, images, music, or even entire videos.

Green energy / Green electrons

Green energy is any energy type that is generated from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind or water. It often comes from renewable energy sources although there are some differences between renewable and green energy. The key with these energy resources are that they don’t harm the environment through factors such as releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Green electrons produce electricity from non-emitting sources – largely wind and solar. They traverse wires to reach the end-user and may be stored in batteries for future deployment.


Act of passing piloting control from one remote pilot station to another.


A small, designated area, usually with prepared surface, on a heliport, airport, landing/takeoff area, apron/ramp, or movement area used for takeoff, landing, or parking of helicopters. A Helipad may also be used for electric, hydrogen, and hybrid VTOL aircraft.


Landing site (land, water, or structure) or airport designed to support take-off and landing operations, including taxiing, and parking for eVTOL aircraft, AAVs, helicopters, and other small aircraft.

Metropolitan area

Populated region with a high-density core (city) and lower density peripheral region (suburbs, rural areas).


In UAM, mobility is the ability to move or to be moved freely and since it is a wider term than ‘transportation’, it implies the ability to move by utilizing an integrated network of transportation modes. Hence, mobility is the ability to move or to be moved, by having access to an array of multiple, quality options of integrated transportation systems.

Open-Air Assembly

The FAA employs a case-by-case approach in determining how to apply the term “open-air assembly.” Potential examples of open-air assemblies may include sporting events, concerts, parades, protests, political rallies, community festivals, or parks and beaches during certain events. Some potential examples that might not be considered open-air assemblies include individual persons or families exiting a shopping center, athletes participating in friendly sports in an open area without spectators, individuals or small groups taking leisure in a park or on a beach, or individuals walking or riding a bike along a bike path. Whether an open-air assembly exists depends on a case-by-case determination based on the facts and circumstances of each case.


Person, organization, or enterprise engaged in or offering to engage in an aircraft operation. In the context of RPA, an aircraft operation includes the RPAS.


“Over” refers to the flight of the small unmanned aircraft directly over any part of a person. For example, a small UAS that hovers directly over a person’s head, shoulders, or extended arms or legs would be an operation over people. Similarly, if a person is lying down, for example at a beach, an operation over that person’s torso or toes would also constitute an operation over people. A flight where a small UAS flies over any part of any person, regardless of how long the flight is over the person, would be considered an operation over people.

Person manipulating the controls

Person other that the RPIC who is controlling the flight of a SUA under the supervision of the RPIC.

Powered-Lift Aircraft

A heavier-than-air aircraft capable of vertical takeoff, vertical landing, and low speed flight that depends principally on engine-driven lift devices or engine thrust for lift during these flight regimes and on non-rotating airfoil(s) for lift during horizontal flight.

Risk Mitigation

Process of incorporating defenses or preventive controls to lower the severity and/or likelihood of a hazard and the projected consequences.


State in which risks associated with aviation activities, related to, or in direct support of the operation of aircraft, are reduced and controlled to an acceptable level.

Segregated airspace

Airspace of specified dimensions allocated for exclusive use to a specific user.

Shielded operation

Operation of an aircraft within 100m of, and below the top of, a natural or man-made object.

Smart Cities

Cities in which current networks and services improve their efficiency with digital, information, and communication technologies. This includes smarter mobility and transport networks, a more efficient energy distribution, upgraded water supply, and waste disposal facilities to reduce emission and improve quality of life of their inhabitants and businesses.

Sustained Flight

“Sustained flight” over an open-air assembly includes hovering above the heads of persons gathered in an open-air assembly, flying back and forth over an open-air assembly, or circling above the assembly in such a way that the small unmanned aircraft remains above some part the assembly. Sustained flight over an open-air assembly of people does not include a brief, one-time transiting over a portion of the assembled gathering, where the flight is unrelated to the assembly.

UAM integration

Managed framework for the organizational, infrastructural, regulatory, and economic integration of the UAM operations without degrading safety, security, or disrupting current airspace operations.


Vertibases can be installed on existing roofs, making their construction costs far lower.


A Vertihub is a self-contained structure with several take-off, landing, and parking areas, and maintenance facilities with the possibility of retail sales.


The Vertipad has the lowest production and maintenance costs. Vertipads are also the smallest and have limited function. A Vertipad offers a single take-off and landing area and limited parking or maintenance space.


A vertiport is a defined area that can support the landing and take-off of eVTOL aircrafts during flight operations.

According to EASA, the basic definition of a vertiport is “an area of land, water, or structure used or intended to be used for the landing and take-off of Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft.

In other words, vertiports are areas dedicated to groups of electric aircraft that allow advanced services to support urban air mobility of both passengers and goods. Thus, vertiports also include all the tools that enable the implementation of such purposes, such as ticketing systems, secure boarding procedures, and charging facilities


Vertistops will be the smallest element of the vertiport network and contain one TLOF area with one or two pads. Vertistops have the lowest physical footprint and serve as a connection point to the vertiplace network for suburban areas. Vertistops will also serve as multimodal connection points, but only to a handful of transport modes and will serve primarily to connect passengers with automobiles, buses, and other mobility options for transportation to deliver them the last mile. Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facilities will likely be scant to nonexistent and basic passenger holding areas and weather monitoring systems will exist to enable flights.

Voluntary Consensus Standards Body

Domestic or international organizations that plan, develop, establish, or coordinate voluntary standards using agreed-upon procedures. These bodies observe principles such as openness, balance of interest, and due process. They may include nonprofit organizations, industry associations, accredited standards developers, professional and technical societies, committees, task forces, or working groups.

Artificial Intelligence

According to Oxford dictionary, artificial intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. I include this section in order to draw awareness to the reader because drones and AAM are using AI in their technologies.

IBM – What is AI?

Coursera – 4 Types of AI: Getting to Know Artificial Intelligence

TechCrunch – Age of AI: Everything you need to know about artificial intelligence

US Department of State – Artificial Intelligence

National Institute of Standards and Technology – Artificial Intelligence

MIT – Artificial Intelligence

AAAI – Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence



Cybersecurity refers to every aspect of protecting an organization and its employees and assets against cyber threats. As cyberattacks become more common and sophisticated and corporate networks grow more complex, a variety of cyber security solutions are required to mitigate corporate cyber risk.

IBM – What is Cybersecurity?


Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the operational lead for federal cybersecurity and the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience. They are designed for collaboration and partnership. They lead the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to our cyber and physical infrastructure. They connect their stakeholders in industry and government to each other and to resources, analyses, and tools to help them build their own cyber, communications, and physical security and resilience, in turn helping to ensure a secure and resilient infrastructure for the American people.


The primary law governing cybersecurity in the United States is the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA). This law prohibits deceptive acts and practices in business, including those related to data security.

A Brief Overview of the Federal Trade Commission’s Investigative, Law Enforcement, and Rulemaking Authority

A Glance At The United States Cyber Security Laws

2022 – Cybersecurity Legislation

S.1631 – Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023



Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

These are the learning outcomes for EACH Country or State in the US.

1. Foundational Knowledge: Understand the different airspace unique to each country within which you are likely to operate the UAS once working in that industry.

2. Application: Make sound operational decisions based on the type of activities and limitations of your UAS and the rules within which you can operate.

3. Integration: Connect the various rules with the airspace of each country so as to perform legal and safe UAS operations.

4. Human Dimension: Interact professionally with others in the regulatory agencies regarding licenses, certifications, or permits necessary to fly your UAS.

5. Caring: Value the rules of each country by respecting the reasons for that country’s implementation of said rules.

6. Learning how to learn: Identify all applicable important sources of information so that as the airspace and/or rules change over time, you can always access the most accurate, trustworthy, and current information.

Short Essay Questions

Short Essay Questions

  1. Why is the FMRA of 2012 important for UAS users?
  2. Why is the FESSA of 2016 important for UAS users?
  3. Why is the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 important for UAS users?



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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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