Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS

UTM - UAS Traffic Management


UTM Pilot Program


Altitude Angel


Nov 17, 2020 - The FAA has concluded the second phase of its UAS Traffic Management Pilot Program (UTM/UPP).

The agency ended the phase with virtual demonstrations in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and two UAS Test Sites: the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) and the New York UAS Test Site(NYUASTS).

The UPP results will provide a proof of concept for UTM capabilities and serve as the basis for policy considerations, standards development and the implementation of a UTM system.

“The demonstrations will help move us closer to safe beyond-visual-line-of-sight drone operations,” said Pamela Whitley, the FAA’s acting assistant administrator for NextGen. “Flight testing UTM capabilities in high-density airspace will help us develop policy for safely and efficiently integrating drones into our national airspace while benefiting and serving communities.”  

The demonstrations showcased emerging UTM capabilities that will support beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations:

- The FAA UTM Flight Information Management System prototype and infrastructure, which gives the FAA access to information from industry and other stakeholders.

- New technologies and data to validate the latest international standards for remote identification and support authorized users with specific operator data.

- In-flight separation from other drones or crewed aircraft in high-density airspace to validate recently proposed international UTM standards to help drones avoid each other.

- UAS volume reservations to notify drone operators of emergencies and make sure other UTM capabilities work properly in these scenarios.

- Secure information exchanges between the FAA, industry and authorized users to ensure data integrity.


Each event attracted more than 100 participants and included local and state elected officials and representatives from international civil aviation authorities. Both test sites collaborated with drone operators and local public safety agencies to demonstrate scenarios that featured various complex UTM capabilities working together to support BVLOS operations with increasing volumes and densities.

MAAP hosted an event on Oct. 28 in partnership with UAS Service Suppliers (USS) AirMap, AiRXOS, ANRA Technologies, and Wing. On Nov. 9, NYUASTS hosted its showcase in coordination with the Griffiss International Airport, Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR), and USS partners AiRXOS, ANRA Technologies, AX Enterprize, and OneSky.

The FAA has worked closely with NASA, industry and other stakeholders since 2017 to identify the initial set of capabilities needed to support small drone operations and advance UTM. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 extended the objectives of the program to further enable safe BVLOS drone operations, paving the way for the program.

Stay tuned for more updates on how emerging technologies are being field tested to support the growing UAS industry.


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Jan 2019 - Nevada UAS Test Site Selected for FAA UTM Pilot Program


Bringing UAS Traffic Management Down To Earth - by Patrick C. Miller - November 30, 2015


NASA research on Air Traffic Management for Low-Altitude Drones

Info kindly collected by John Sami at the NBAA conference - Nov 2015

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December 23, 2015 - FAA memo - Guidance for UAS ATCT Notification calls (download below)

Guidance for UAS ATCT Notification Calls[...]
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ODM Strategic Framework - Final 170308.p[...]
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OnDemand Air Mobility 2016.pdf
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UAS Hub was launched to provide a singular spot for airports, airlines, law enforcement and the general public to find UAS integration information, tools and peers.  Through the sharing and publishing of information on one central site, UASHub encourages safe and inclusive integration of UAS into the national airspace. 

With regular posting of legislative, regulatory, industry news, FAA updates, services and reader content, UAS Hub is the premier source of UAS-related knowledge and collaboration. 

UAS Hub is sponsored by the Airport Innovation Accelerator, a division of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).

March 2017 - two good documents below

One is an article calling for the FAA to restructure the airspace for Class H for UAS

The other is on testing navigation and positioning performance in UAS


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Good reading material with regards to UAS Traffic Management

Analysis of sUAS Regulations for Hobbyis[...]
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Examining UAS Threats Defenses_ A Conce[...]
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Geofencing Safety.pdf
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Investigation Into Unmanned Aircraft Inc[...]
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LeighFisher Focus - The Era of Small Dro[...]
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Opening Autonomous Airspace.pdf
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Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


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