Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Grandon Gill, D.B.A.

Co-Major Professor

Shivendu Shivendu, Ph.D.


Aerial Photography, Drones, FFA, Disruptive Technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


Despite the explosion of popularity of UASs, and the recognition that such systems must find a way to safely operate alongside manned aviation, a literature review by this author as well as interviews with three commercial aerial photography companies in Tampa Bay, Florida, indicate that regulatory restrictions are still the greatest obstacle to law abiding commercial UAS operators. It can take six to eight months with a backlog of 12,000 waiver applications to get either a Part 333 or Part 107 exemption, which grants FAA permission for a commercial operator to fly a UAS inside controlled airspace (Gardner, 2018). A manned pilot can file a flight plan and hover a helicopter over the same area in just a few hours.

The purpose of this research was to determine what industry experts perceive the future of UAS regulations hold, and how the industry will be impacted in both the short term of 5 years and less, and long-term of 5 years or more. UAS industry expert interviews were conducted in the “reflection of the meaning”, semi-structured style, with each interviewee given the latitude to discuss topics as they came to mind. A preset approved bank of questions helped to guide the interview, but in many cases as experts in the field, the interviewees naturally discussed the topics covered in the preset questions and the interview adapted to avoid unnecessary repetition. One interview was conducted in-person, but the rest were via phone calls due to geographical separation.