Third Party Risk Indicators and Their Use in Safety Regulations for UAS Operations

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Abstract

Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is growing rapidly around the world. Very different types of UAS are used for applications such as aerial photography, inspection, emergency and Urban Air Mobility (UAM), operating in low altitude and urban environment, as well as in high altitude airspace integrated with the conventional air transportation system. As a new airspace user, UAS brings novel safety challenges to the current aviation system. For current aviation the main safety issues concern first and second parties, i.e. lives and property of crew and passengers. In contrast, the main safety concern of UAS operations is third party risk (TPR), i.e. the risk posed to people and properties that have no responsibility for the UAS operation and neither benefit in some way from the UAS operation. In order to ensure the safe operation of UAS, there is a need for an evaluation of safety regulation developments for UAS operations against relevant TPR indicators. The aim of this paper is to identify relevant TPR indicators for UAS operations and to evaluate safety regulations against these TPR indicators. The main finding is that current UAS safety regulations do not consider the accumulation of TPR contributions from many UAS flights per annum over rural or urban populations.