Virginia | 2023 State Drone Scorecard

Virginia ranks 13th in its readiness for commercial drone services

Rank: 13

Virginia ranked in 13th place in the 2023 State Drone Commerce Scorecard rankings. The state scored 55 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

30 / 30

Airspace Lease Law
Virginia law allows public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads, which allows state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways. 

0 / 25

Avigation Easement Law
Virginia 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.

20 / 20

Task Force or Program Office
The state has a program office devoted to drone technologies, overseen by the manager of aviation technology. Furthermore, a state law was passed in March 2020 that creates a drone policy advisory group that reports to the Department of Aviation.

0 / 10

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

0 / 10

Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights
Virginia law does not expressly provide air rights to landowners, which raises litigation risk for drone operators.

/ 5

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

How Virginia 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 Virginia score relative to its peers

Virginia scored 55 of out 100 possible points. The top ranked state in 2023 was Arkansas, which scored 90 points.

Chart showing how Virginia score 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.