About MassDOT Aeronautics

MassDOT Aeronautics works to make air transportation safer, cleaner, more efficient, and more economically advantageous for the people, communities, and businesses of Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Prime Responsibilities

We employ the highest standards in safety, engineering, and financial management to:

  • Regulate and promote air transportation in the Commonwealth
  • Maintain and oversee 35 of the State’s 38 public-use airports
  • Support economic development and job growth
  • Reduce aviation’s environmental impact
  • Explore and, when suitable, introduce advanced aviation systems, including:
    • Drones equipped with sensors to help ensure air safety by better monitoring airspace in the Commonwealth
    • Electric charging stations, which can charge electric aircraft, cars, and buses
    • Infrastructure, such as vertiports, for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, which takeoff and land like helicopters, and are powered by electricity or low- or zero-emission fuel
    • Strategies to improve transportation options

Aviation and Airports Group

The Aviation and Airports Group focuses on engineering, aviation, environmental planning, and conducting airport inspections/accident investigations at public-use airports in the Commonwealth (except for Logan Airport, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport, which are owned and operated by Massport). The Aviation and Airports Group is committed to establishing a safe and efficient integrated airport system to enhance airport safety, customer service, and economic development, while preserving the environment.

Advanced Aviation Technologies Group

This group promotes advanced aviation technology that supports seamless transportation across all transportation modes. It participates in cutting-edge initiatives with global, federal, state, local, academic, and business partners, including NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. These programs test next-generation aviation technologies and ways they can be used to improve transportation, conduct research, explore adaptations, collaborate on workforce development programs, and educate communities on issues and opportunities about new technologies.

The Advanced Aviation Technologies Group includes a Drone Operations Program dedicated to inspecting and analyzing infrastructure across all transportation modes—to optimize maintenance and safety procedures for the Commonwealth’s rail lines, roads, bridges, tunnels, waterways, and airports. The Data and Analytics Team of the Advanced Aviation Technologies Group leverages data scientists and analysts to turn drone imagery into actionable information for public transportation decision-makers, and to plan infrastructure for large-scale projects. The Group also runs the Commonwealth UAS Integration Program (CUIP) to expand the operational use of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS, or “drones”) for transportation use cases across MassDOT, the MBTA, and other state agencies. The CUIP team is working to enable complex drone operations, including long-distance beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and drone delivery to remote communities, and is developing sensor systems to detect and track both crewed aircraft and drones.

How We’re Different

MassDOT Aeronautics is one of the few divisions of a state transportation agency in the nation with a breadth of experience, including:

  • An Aviation and Airports Group which oversees design and construction of infrastructure improvements for 35 of the Commonwealth’s public-use airports.
    • A Strategic Finance Team works with Planning & Environmental, Engineering, and Aviation and Operations Compliance teams to: organize and steward financing and resource allocation for airport infrastructure improvements; manage operations; serve as the Commonwealth’s primary contact to request and distribute Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funds on behalf of the State’s public-use airports; manages the fiscal activities of the Aircraft Registration Program in accordance with MassDOT Aeronautics rules for Licensing and Registration (702 CMR or M.G.L. c. 90); applies for related grants.
  • An Advanced Aviation Technologies Group that identifies, evaluates, and deploys complex operations and new, innovative aircraft, sensors, and infrastructure, including UAS/drones, Advanced Air Mobility (next-generation aviation technologies), and Counter-UAS detection solutions (security measures against drones violating airspace).
    • A Drone Operations Program
      • Inspects infrastructure across transportation modes to promote the safe, efficient maintenance of bridges, tunnels, roads, rail lines, airports, and waterways, and ensure the safe operation of drones flown on behalf of MassDOT and the MBTA.
    • A Data and Analytics Team
      • Partners with the Drone Operations Program; leverages data scientists and analysts to turn collected drone imagery into useful data and actionable information for public transportation stakeholders and decision-makers, and to plan information technology infrastructure for large-scale projects.
      • Promotes data collection, analysis, and sharing.
  • Collaboration with a 501(c)(3) organization, MassAutonomy, which promotes jobs growth and economic development by cultivating a thriving Mobility Tech (next-generation transportation) industry dedicated to alleviating the burden on government in order to serve the people of Massachusetts.

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