Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the “2016 to 2036 Aerospace Forecast” stating “there is optimism that the industry has been transformed from that of a boom-to-bust cycle to one of sustainable profits.” According to the report, profits will not be the only thing hitting the skies; the FAA predicts dramatic increases in the number of drones hitting the airspace. The FAA estimates the use of small, hobbyist drones will grow from 1.9 million in 2016 to almost 4.3 million by 2020, while the use of drones for commercial purposes will grow from 600,000 in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2020. This forecast is based on the “improved regulatory environment and underlying demand,” says the report. The report also includes some statistics on the registered drones under the new FAA Rule issued earlier this year. As of March 2016, there have been over 408,000 registrations for small drones under 55 pounds. In the commercial realm, as of March 16, 2016, the FAA has issued over 4,000 Section 333 exemptions for commercial drone operations. Both of those numbers are sure to increase.
Paired with this increase, the FAA reports that it will continue its education and outreach through its “Know Before You Fly” educational campaign. Additionally, the FAA reports that it has partnered with test site operators and educational institutes to focus on research, education, and training for safe integration of drones into our airspace. Check out the full report for more details and information on aerospace across the country.