June 27, 2022

19 (Tied) | Ohio

Score: 41/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 10/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 0/10
  • Sandbox: 10/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 1/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Ohio law allows state authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state roads. Such a law allows state officials to create drone highways above these roadways. However, the state did not receive full points, because the law is silent as to whether local officials can lease airspace above local roads and local property.
  • Task Force or Program Office: Ohio gets full points. The state has a drone program office—the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center—which is an initiative created and overseen by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The program office has initiatives such as FlyOhio and SkyVision, which focuses on enabling drone flights in low-altitude airspace and unmanned traffic management research. It is researching and considering the creation of drone highways in aerial corridors above Interstate 71.
  • Sandbox: The Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center and Springfield–Beckley Municipal Airport offer airspace access to drone companies, are affiliated with the state transportation department, and have a prominent, open invitation to drone companies to test their hardware and services.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: Ohio 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.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Ohio law does not expressly provide air rights to landowners, which raises litigation risk for drone operators because landowners do not know the extent of their property rights and may sue to protect their interests.
  • Jobs Estimate: Ohio is in the bottom quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving one out of five points.

These factors make Ohio tied (with Michigan) for the 19th most drone-friendly state in the country.