Analyzing Hazards in UAS
Ensuring the safety of sUAS operations requires an understanding of associated current and future hazards. This is challenging for sUAS operations due to insufficient mishap (accident and incident) reporting for sUAS and the rapid growth of new sUAS applications (or use cases) that have not yet been implemented. These applications include imaging, construction, photography and video, precision agriculture, security, public safety, mapping and surveying, inspections, environmental conservation, communications, parcel delivery, and humanitarian efforts such as delivery of medical supplies in developing nations.
The allowable probabilities for small airplanes differ from other aircraft by several orders of magnitude. At this juncture, it is not clear if sUAS using rotors will be held to a higher standard than fixed wing UAS. A safety risk management analysis must always assess the risk of the worst credible outcome. However, other possible effects should also be considered, particularly if their higher likelihood of occurrence could lead to a higher risk. (Maddalon, J. M., Hayhurst, 2013).
There were no occurrences involving such damage or injuries but expert judgement identified this as a key risk area that could occur through causes not associated with loss of control (Aircraft Upset) or technical failure in situations where a drone operator accidentally flies into people or property.
FAA (2016). FAA Safety Management System Manual, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Organization, Department of Transportation. Washington D.C., USA.
Belcastro, Christine M., Newman, Richard L., Evans, Joni K., Klyde, David H., Barr, Lawrence C., and Ancel, Ersin, “Hazards Identification and Analysis for Unmanned Aircraft System Operations,” Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations (ATIO) Conference, AIAA-2017-3269, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, June 2017.