Eli Dourado

  • Former Senior Research Fellow

Eli Dourado is a former Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He has studied and written about a wide range of technology policy issues, including Internet governance, intellectual property, cybersecurity, and cryptocurrency. His focus was on aviation innovation—commercial drones, supersonic flight, and flying cars. His popular writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and Foreign Policy, among other outlets.

Dourado was an advisor to the State Department on international telecommunication matters and has served on several U.S. delegations to UN treaty and policy conferences. He received a PhD in economics from George Mason University and a BA in economics and political science from Furman University.


Publications & Appearances

Make America Boom Again

Aircraft engineering has significantly improved since the time when the Concorde was flying. With lighter materials, more efficient engines, better computer modeling, and more experience, it is more than possible to create an aircraft today that is both faster and more affordable than the Concorde was.

Airplane Speeds Have Stagnated for 40 Years

This year marks the 40th anniversaries of two of the greatest achievements in manned flight. In 1976, US military pilot Eldon W. Joersz set the still-standing airspeed record of 2,193.2 mph in the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird.” That same year, the Concorde introduced the world to supersonic commercial travel with the first passenger flights to break the sound barrier.

Do Consumer Drones Endanger the National Airspace? Evidence from Wildlife Strike Data

In December 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new interim final rule that for the first time imposed regulation on the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as model aircraft. In the name of a safe national airspace, the new regulations require operators of drones weighing more than 250g (0.55 pounds) to register with the agency.

FAA Projections Reflect Deep Uncertainty about the Effect of Regulations on Drone Adoption

In March of this year, the first FAA-approved autonomous commercial drone delivery to an urban residence took place in Nevada. This milestone highlights the exciting opportunities that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can present. If we get our policies right, UASs can yield dividends in cost savings and economic growth in areas like consumer delivery, agriculture, industrial management, and journalism. A new FAA report suggests that a poorly considered regulatory regime could severely inhibit the growth of this promising industry before it has a chance to take flight.