This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Unmanned aerial vehicles present a very real threat for airports and introduce multiple unknowns into the airport environment. Although US federal agencies and the Congress have long identified unmanned aerial vehicles to be a major concern at airports, there exists only little guidance regarding response protocols.

A new guidebook will provide planning considerations, response strategies and resources for airports to employ when an unmanned aerial vehicle is detected.

The US National Safe Skies Alliance, through its Program for Applied Research in Airport Security (PARAS), has ordered a guidebook to assist airports in working collaboratively to plan for and respond to UAV threats. Safe Skies is a nonprofit organization that works with airports, government and industry to maintain a safe and effective aviation security system. 

The guidebook will be prepared by Woolpert, specializing in UAV aviation, research and application development. 

Funding for Safe Skies programs is provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The guidebook will include strategies for planning, identification and threat assessment, response and recovery. Detection system considerations and legal, public policy and regulatory considerations will be addressed, with relevant examples and case studies as well as a plan for community awareness and prevention. 

Work will be based on literature and data review, including engagements with stakeholders throughout the airport community. 

The project panel includes representation from airport operators, airport law enforcement, the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration. Varying sizes and types of airports will be incorporated into the review to ensure the guidance is usable for all airports.

“This guidebook needs to be innovative and detailed, providing a consistent framework for airports to immediately, safely and effectively respond to UAV threats, and to work with local law enforcement to clearly define how to plan and identify these threats,” according to the company, at

The production of this guidebook is underway and will be completed in 2021.