Modeling Risk-Based Approach for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

July 2018
Topics: Unmanned Systems, Aviation and Aeronautics, Aviation Industry, Government Agency Operations, Risk Management, Modeling and Simulation
Jeffrey L. Breunig, The MITRE Corporation
Joyce M. Forman, The MITRE Corporation
Shereef Sayed, The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Laurence F. Audenaerd, The MITRE Corporation
Arthur D. Branch Jr., The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Michael Hadjimichael, The MITRE Corporation
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With the rapid acceleration of small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) technologies and the ever-growing demand for operating sUAS in the National Airspace System (NAS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking quantitative risk assessment methods to enable sUAS to safely access airspace and avoid highly restrictive operational or technical waivers. The purpose of this research is to provide a quantitative risk assessment model that the FAA can use to streamline the waiver approval process, to support regulatory development, and facilitate safety risk analysis. An accurate risk assessment model, one that accounts for different types of sUAS vehicles and operational missions, will enable the FAA to approve operations faster and with fewer constraints. MITRE has developed the sUAS Airworthiness Assessment Tool (sAAT), which quantifies the risk of fatality to third-party people on the ground from sUAS operations by combining characteristics of the intended vehicle type with the planned operations. The sAAT risk assessment model builds on past efforts to quantify both the operational parameters and safety criteria for sUAS. The sAAT model has a modular architecture that can incorporate updated or new algorithms and constants as new knowledge of sUAS operations and advances in sUAS technologies become available.

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