Low Altitude Operations Safety: Part 107 Waiver Request Case Study

This research seeks to develop and validate a technical approach for Concept of Operations (CONOPS) analysis, risk mitigation, and experimental validation of hazard controls for successful submission of a waiver to Part 107 for Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) operations over people. The safety case and subsequent waiver language may include mitigations necessary for the waiver depending on the level of safety required by the FAA for flight over people. Per the Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) Recommendations and Final Report[1], flight “over people” is defined as UAS flight directly above one or more persons. This research is based on methods developed in the Alliance for Safety System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) A4 Project and published in the UAS Characteristics Report[2] and will provide the technical justification for a requested waiver to Part 107. This research includes three parallel efforts. The first is a modeling effort underpinned by developing risk and scenario-based impact kinetic energy (KE) thresholds by way of CONOPS analysis, determination of operationally appropriate technical data requirements, test and analysis requirements, and suitable operational envelopes, and then the development and establishment of area-weighted impact KE thresholds. These thresholds, in conjunction with vehicle parameters (weight, effective areas, drag coefficients, and impact energy absorption) and ballistic models, will be used to calculate operating height-velocity diagram to ensure that vehicles do not exceed the impact KE thresholds. The second effort is verification of model inputs and outputs by way of flight and drop tests. The final effort is to develop a set of mitigations to keep the aircraft within the impact KE thresholds and/or to limit the potential of laceration and penetration injuries following blade or UAS body impacts and submit a request for waiver for a single sUAS. ________________________________________ [1] Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), ARC Recommendations Final Report, April 1, 2016 [2] FAA A4 Project Team, White Paper on UAS Characteristics for the FAA UAS Center of Excellence Task A4: Ground Collision Severity Evaluation, June 3, 2016

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $151733
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Start Date: 20160804
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160930
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160930

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01607471
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE)
  • Contract Numbers: 15-C-UAS-UAH-02
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2016 9:35AM