Montana | 2023 State Drone Commerce Scorecard

Montana ranks 11th in its readiness for commercial drone services

Rank: 11 (tied)

Montana tied with Nevada for 11th place in the 2023 State Drone Commerce Scorecard rankings. The state scored 57 out of 100 possible points in how prepared it is for commercial drone services.

The Six Factors Contributing to the Overall Score

A Score in Gray Indicates a Score Below the Median of All States

0 / 30

Airspace Lease Law
Montana 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.

25 / 25

Avigation Easement Law
Montana 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.

20 / 20

Task Force or Program Office
The state has a drone task force—the Montana Unmanned Aerial Systems Council—overseen by the Montana Department of Transportation. The task force was created by Governor Steve Bullock’s executive order in 2019 and develops statewide policy recommendations regarding residents’ property rights and privacy expectations.

0 / 10

Montana does not have a drone sandbox. State officials should consider dedicating state facilities and airspace to commercial drone testing. 

10 / 10

Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights
Montana law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators.

/ 5

Jobs Estimate
Montana is in the fourth quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people.

How Montana Scored Relative to Its Peers

Commercial drone-readiness scores vary across the nation. To give state leaders and residents insight into how their state compares, we have provided the scores of four state peers. In this case, these peers are selected because of their geographic and political similarities.

Chart showing how Montana scored relative to its peers

Montana scored 57 of out 100 possible points. The top ranked state in 2023 was Arkansas, which scored 90 points.

Chart showing how Montana scored relative to its peers

Get in Touch With the Author

Brent Skorup regularly briefs policymakers on his research and has appeared as a guest for news outlets like C-SPAN, NPR, CBS News, ABC News, and CNBC Asia.

Dive Deeper

Access the full 2023 report to learn more about the methodology, download the data, and see how the scorecard has changed since last year.