FAA Aerospace Forecast

April 2,2018

Recently the FAA released their new Aerospace Forecast, in which they attempt to predict trends they expect to see throughout the entire Aerospace industry. In their most recent forecast the largest amount of growth, both documented and predicted, is coming from the drone industry.

The overall tone of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems section of the Forecast is that the FAA expects robust growth throughout the sector. They also anticipate that the rapid growth has and will continue to lead to “unique operational challenges. Despite these challenges, the UAS sector holds enormous potential, with commercial applications ranging from aerial photography to package delivery.”


FAA Recreational Drone Predictions

From their most current measurements the FAA is claiming to have seen a growth rate of 40% in recreational drones over the past year - which the FAA calls “substantial.” Along with this growth rate, the researchers warn that the industry has a low probability of keeping this trend, “However, the trend is likely to slow as the pace of falling prices slow and early adopters begin to experience limits to their experiments,” according to the forecast.


Commercial Drone Predictions

Because the commercial drone industry is so new and there is a significant amount of crossover between consumer and “prosumer” drones it has been challenging for the FAA to produce an accurate growth number. According to the FAA, “It is very dynamic and appears to be at an early stage of growth. Unlike the model sector, we anticipate that the growth rate in this sector will continue to accelerate over the next few years.”


Drone Operators

Since the FAA began granting Part 107 Remote Pilot Licenses in December of 2017 the FAA has seen over 70,000 remote pilots join the airspace, “Starting from the base of 73,673 RPCs in 2017, non-model activities may require over 300,000 new remot pilots in 5 years, providing tremendous opportunities for growth in employment associated with commercial activities of the UAS,” says the FAA.