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Analyzing Hazards in Unmanned Aerial Systems and How They Impact the Aviation Community

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Many beneficial civilian applications of commercial and public small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in low-altitude uncontrolled airspace have been proposed and are being developed

Associated with the proliferation of civil applications for sUAS is a paradigm shift from single-UAS visual operations in restricted airspace to multi-UAS beyond visual line of sight operations with increasing use of autonomous systems and operations under increasing levels of urban development and airspace usage.

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There has been a rapid growth globally in the acquisition and development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Approximately 80 countries have UAVs, of which fewer than a dozen operate systems that can be armed, according to the Ministry of Defence

The US General Accounting Office estimates the number of countries with UAVs has increased from approximately 41 in 2004 to at least 76 countries in 2012. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, are remotely piloted aircraft or systems. They range from simple hand-operated short-range systems to long endurance, high altitude systems that require an airstrip. UAVs have civil and commercial uses. There has been a rapid growth globally in the acquisition and development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Approximately 80 countries have UAVs, of which fewer than a dozen operate systems that can be armed, according to the Ministry of Defence. The US General Accounting Office estimates the number of countries with UAVs has increased from approximately 41 in 2004 to at least 76 countries in 2012. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, are remotely piloted aircraft or systems. They range from simple hand-operated short-range systems to long endurance, high altitude systems that require an airstrip. UAVs have civil and commercial uses. More advanced UAVs used radio technology for guidance, allowing them to fly missions and return. They were constantly controlled by a human pilot, and were not capable of flying themselves. This made them much like todays RC model airplanes which many people fly as a hobby. It is interesting to note that the government considers all aircraft UAVs, if they are unmanned and used by a government or business. After the invention of the integrated circuit, engineers were able to build sophisticated UAVs, using electronic autopilots. It was at this stage of development that UAVs became widely used in military applications. UAVs could be deployed, fly themselves to a target location, and either attack the location with weapons, or survey it with cameras and other sensor equipment. Modern UAVs are controlled with both autopilots, and human controllers in ground stations. This allows them to fly long, uneventfully flights under their own control, and fly under the command of a human pilot during complicated phases of the mission.

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Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forms the core aspect of the use of UAVs due to its ability to endure longer loiter time, flexibility on positioning targets and the difficulty for opponents to detect the UAVs. The long endurance ability of the UAVs plays a vital role in surveillance. This increase the efficiency of the UAVs in intelligence gathering when compared to the manned platforms. According to Roland and R. John (2005), the roles of UAVs tend to vary depending on the sector and difficulty level of the military operations. They notes that there are two sectors of military operations

These are civilian and commercial sector. The UAVs employed in the civilian sector tend to focus on the aerial traffic monitoring, weather forecasting, communication relay, border management, maritime patrol, crime prevention, and various environmental monitoring such as bush fire. On the other hand, the commercial purposes of UAV include tasks such as agricultural and fisheries management, freight of goods, pipeline monitoring, and aerial photography.Use of remote sensing gives accurate information to the militaries concerning the visual spectrum, detection of airborne presence and analysis of air concentration. Giving out correct information concerning the situation of the environment embraces the value of honesty (Brown, 1993). The fourth value is social implications. Under this value, an Australian has the work of striving hard with the intention of improving the quality of life of others affected by the field of work. People will always work with the goal of positively reaching out to the lives of other people.

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To summarize, the NASEM mention the increasing applications of UAS during the investigation and final review of their report. In their report, they highlight an incident in which a drone was used to release an inflatable “rescue pod” to save two swimmers in Australia. The NASEM bring this to attention to acknowledge how integration of UAS into the NAS can increase risks to manned aircrafts and people on the ground, yet they can also be used to mitigate risk and save lives. As a result of this duality, the promise and potential of UAS “cannot readily be accounted for with current safety assessment processes.” This drives the foundation for the NASEM’s recommendations, which suggest that risk averse attitudes towards UAS operations can inhibit the “safety-beneficial operations” these systems can provide.

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ACS foundation., 2012. Australian Computer Society. Web.

Brown, C., 1993. Political Restructuring in Europe: Ethical Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Cassidy, E. G. and McGrady, A. G., 2001. Media and the Marketplace: Ethical Perspectives. New Jersey: Institute of Public Administration.

DoD., 2009. In U.S. Department of Defense. (chap. Unmanned Aerial VehiUAV). Web.

Guardian News and Media Limited., 2012. Ministry of Defence plans new wave of unmanned marine drones. Web.

Guardian News and Media Limited., 2012. Drones by country: who has all the UAVs? Web.

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