June 27, 2022

1 | Oklahoma

Score: 74/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 30/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 10/10
  • Sandbox: 10/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 4/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Oklahoma law allows public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above local roads, state roads, and state property. Such a law allows state or local officials to create drone highways above these areas.
  • Task Force or Program Office: Oklahoma gets full points. In May 2020, a state law created a drone program office—the Oklahoma Advanced Mobility Pilot Program—within the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Among other things, the program office creates a nine-member advisory council that makes recommendations about drone and electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Oklahoma law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights. The law also affirms the existence of “titles, estates, rights and interests” in airspace, independent of the connection to the property owner of the land.
  • Sandbox: Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation has a program that offers airspace access to drone companies, is affiliated with the state transportation department, and has a prominent, open invitation to drone companies to test their hardware and services.
  • Jobs Estimate: Oklahoma is in the second quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving four out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: Oklahoma law does not create an avigation easement, which means drone operators may be subject to nuisance and trespass laws, even if their drones do not disturb people on the ground.

These factors make Oklahoma the most drone-friendly state in the country.