Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team Creates New Groups

At the recent meeting of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST), the team created three risk reduction working groups.

  • UAS Loss of Control (LOC) is a very real safety concern. Due to the number of UAS sightings at extreme altitudes and close proximity to manned aircraft one can reasonably assume a loss of control to be a factor in some of these instances. FAA reports, news reports and social media provide many instances of operators losing control of their unmanned aircraft. These sightings and reports warrant the creation of a working group to address this emerging safety issue.
  • Injury Reduction: Due to the number of reports online that indicate individuals are injuring themselves in a variety of ways, the UAST will investigate ways to reduce these injuries.
  • Safety Culture: improving the UAS safety culture to mitigate some risk. A majority of new operators to the NAS (700,000 non-commercial, 50,000 commercial) do not come from a traditional manned background. It would be beneficial for UAST members to promote a culture where safety is a priority.

Each group will analyze currently available data to develop specific safety enhancements.

Additionally, the UAST launched two important efforts aimed at data collection and analysis. The Anonymous Reporting System will allow and encourage UAS operators to self-report hazardous situations anonymously. The data will be analyzed by UAST teams to look for opportunities to enhance the safety of UAS operations. The anonymized data will be held by a non-governmental organization and access will be strictly limited. Data is critical to the efforts of all the UAST groups.

The Collaborative Analysis Demonstration Group will have a small group of industry members volunteer flight data to examine the benefits of analyzing different datasets. This in turn will help in developing a long-term data strategy for the UAST.

“In a very short time, the UAST has made great strides toward executing on its mission of developing industry-led safety enhancements,” said Ben Marcus, Industry Co-Chair of the UAST. “The work we’re doing together with our partners at the FAA demonstrates the drone industry’s commitment.”

About the UAST

The Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) is an Industry-government partnership committed to ensuring the safe operations of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the national Airspace system. The UAST supports the safe integration of UAS with data-driven safety enhancements and collaboration among members of the UAS industry.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the formation of the team on August 2, 2016. Administrator Huerta committed that the FAA would work with stakeholders to charter a team to address safety issues related to the increasing number of UAS operations. The Safety Team is co-chaired by Ben Marcus, Co-founder & CEO of AirMap, and Earl Lawrence, Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.

Source: Press Release