Principal Investigators: Dr. Alejandro Salado and Dr. Craig Woolsey

The U.S. Navy is interested in evaluating UAS safety targets and airworthiness standards that provide an acceptable level of safety to third parties on the ground. Airworthiness requirements, standards, and safety targets for manned aircraft are focused on minimizing the risk of death for persons on-board the aircraft in the event of a crash. In the case of UAS, however, there are no aircrew or passengers on board, which shifts the primary risk to third parties on the ground. In civil airworthiness codes, FAA Advisory Circular AC 23-1309 and FAA AC 25-1309 provide safety targets for individual catastrophic failure conditions. These safety targets have been established based on civil aircraft mishap rates. Virginia Tech will identify and evaluate methods to characterize the risk to third parties on the ground presented by UAS air system failures that are both inherent — and therefore controllable by design modifications — and non-inherent. The team will also propose UAS safety targets and airworthiness standards that provide an acceptable level of safety to third parties on the ground.

Safety target identification
Safety target identification for 3rd parties from air system failures