Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are set to become part of everyday air traffic operations perhaps within the next few years; however there are significant challenges that need to be addressed in order to seamlessly introduce UAS into non segregated airspace. This chapter discusses some of the identified safety challenges in achieving this objective in the context of the current regulatory framework. It also takes a look at how one might rigorously argue the safety of UAS operations in non-segregated airspace from an Air Traffic Management (ATM) perspective. The chapter draws upon the experience of the authors’ in the UAS domain, more specifically the lessons learnt from a number of safety assessments for flying UAS as Operational or General Air Traffic (OAT or GAT) inside and outside segregated airspace. Most UAS operations are currently constrained to designated danger areas or within temporary restricted areas of airspace, commonly known as segregated airspace, or are flown under special arrangements over the sea. On some occasions, UAS operations are permitted in an extremely limited environment outside segregated airspace. To exploit fully the unique operational capabilities of current and future UAS and thus realise the potential commercial benefits of UAS, there is a desire to be able to access all classes of airspace and operate across national borders and airspace boundaries. Such operations must be acceptably safe but regulation should not become so inflexible or burdensome that the commercial benefits are lost. The viability of the commercial market for UAS especially in the civil market is heavily dependent on unfettered access to the same airspace as manned civilian operations. Whilst it is essential that UAS demonstrate an equivalent level of safety compared to manned operations the current regulatory framework has evolved around the concept of the pilot-inthe-cockpit. There is a need to develop UAS solutions that assure an equivalent level of safety for UAS operations, which in turn will require adaptation of the current regulatory framework to allow for the concept of the pilot-not-in-the-cockpit without compromising the safety of other airspace users. One of the major issues facing UAS operations is the demonstration of equivalence (in particular for See and Avoid) in the context of an evolving ATM environment. It is very important to understand that the current ATM environment is not static. Achieving equivalence with manned operations is not a fixed target as there are many significant changes proposed that aim to improve operational efficiency and performance or enhance safety. On the whole proposed changes to the ATM environment could be seen

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Published on 01/01/2009

Volume 2009, 2009
DOI: 10.5772/6492
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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