June 27, 2022

6 (Tied) | North Carolina

Score: 58/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 10/10
  • Sandbox: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 3/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: North Carolina law creates an avigation easement, which means drone operators are protected from nuisance and trespass laws as long as their drones do not disturb people on the ground.
  • Task Force or Program Office: North Carolina gets full points. The state has a drone program office in the Division of Aviation with the goal of promoting economic development and airport safety.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: North Carolina law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights.
  • Jobs Estimate: North Carolina is in the middle quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving three out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: North Carolina law does not allow public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads. An airspace lease law would allow state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways.
  • Sandbox: North Carolina does not have a drone sandbox. State officials should consider dedicating state facilities and airspace to commercial drone testing and should have a prominent, open invitation for drone companies to test their hardware and services.

These factors make North Carolina tied (with Georgia and New Jersey) for the 6th most drone-friendly state in the country.