I would like to introduce the following topic, having come across a FORTUNE
of information regarding everything and anything to do with the legal, safe,
licensed and regulated use of UAVs, as published by the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA)
during late 2011, and in effect today.
As this information is new to me and consists of hundreds of pages of guidelines,
directives, methods of operation, testing, build validation, training, control and
what have you - alas, all in Hebrew and with many terms that are new to me -
I will kick this off with my key intention here:
Can the DIY Drones community work with such guidelines, if made available, to advance the
APM 2.5 flight controller, add-on sensors and logic boards, and the fantastic Mission Planner -
to comply with such given requirements?
For example, mention was made of the UAV FC being programmed to be aware of
various regulated airspace by designation (Airports, Military, Flight paths and corridors etc) -
where they are in terms of geographic zones - and the definition of the UAVs mission
in terms of a virtual "Bubble" - in space as much as in Time, with the ability to avoid these
pre programmed zones (much like the DJI Tienanmen No-Fly Zone) and alert the operator
as to any breach of these parameters.
Or the very specific need for various what-if operations and safe-return routes in case of
a control error / comm breakdown / failsafe event -
One can't simply RTL if there happens to be a 6 lane highway in the automatic RTL flightpath!
This is the real stuff that sets the adults apart from the boys, if ever anyone aspires to use
these Ardu-Systems for commercial and legal applications.
If anyone is up to this, I am sure this would help with prepping all concerned towards
safe and responsible UAVeeing that could be made readily available for proper commercial
While I have my fingers crossed for Trappy, I am one to believe that any serious future for
our wonderful new "toys" calls this community to put its hacking and maker skills to work
at the "grown-up" class, now that we really HAVE proven that this stuff can be made to fly
out the doors of garages and home workshops across the world!
Technically these solutions are certainly possible. The motion to dismiss case is actually a motion to question the legality of the FAA to enforce the penalty. One of the key phrases there is that FAA governs "nagivable airspace", which is considered higher than 400ft. Considering that model aircraft aren't for transporting people, it can be questioned whether it's the role of the FAA at all in that space and concerning the vehicle (it's not a low-altitude passenger liner!). The other very important argument is the differentation made between hobby and commercial use. How can commercial or hobby use of such aircraft make any distinct difference? And if there *was* a difference, I'd bet my money on the commercial user being safer.So before asking "is it possible" and "what are the current regulatioins", it must be established that the regulations are actually sane, not contradictory and so on. If the regulations do not really apply, then the complexity of operating an RPA is anything between "making a call to advise regional traffic control there is an RPA operating under 400ft in some area where the pilot/operator evaluate the conditions for operation in that environment" vs. getting an RPA technically certified with all the paperwork, showing the execution of checklists, using certified equipment and all that and still not dealing properly with liability issues. Any incidents then become subject to more civil investigations, which probably make more sense given that the RPA's we're talking about here are a far cry from the passenger liners and the biggest threat of these aircraft is not collision with full-scale, but the consequences of a flying object falling down on earth. From that perspective, it makes more sense to consider it from a different legal perspective more along the lines of "sensible use of technology".
"...the biggest threat of these aircraft is not collision with full-scale, but the consequences of a flying
object falling down on earth..."
With respect to the fact that people tend to inhabit the earth upon which UAVs occasional fall to
out of the sky, a very definite term was set - "Kill Probability" =
The chances the UAV will kill someone given a hit,
10% for mini,
25% for small,
50% for medium,
100% for heavy UAV's.
The full and proper calculation method is described in the attached document.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I for one am already researching CO2 triggered
parachute systems for my Octo.
I'm considering that these attachments are great source material for raising awareness of the dangers. What we have now are pretty vague guidelines saying "don't fly close to people". Here I see that the risks are somehow quantified.
So rather than working the contents of these guides into software as if it were a software / algorithm specification, why not convert them into a set of downloadable guides for the APM 2.5 community? I'm thinking of them more as a sensible training guide set that commercial users can draw from and if it so happens, use in a court of law as a demonstration of what they evaluate on a day-to-day basis.
Another thing that I have been looking for is a good set of templates that can be used to document maintenance efforts, flight reports after a job, and so on. These shouldn't be too extensive and large, but just serve as a general idea about how a vehicle performs, specialties and a trace of the kind of maintenance that has been undertaken to get rid of incidents. In the end, once an investigation is initiated, showing this kind of serious involvement into the proper function of the vehicle and operation is paramount to reduce liability issues. I think that effect goes a lot further than 'using a piece of software that does this automatically.. '.
Would you agree?
Just got in from the Israeli UVID 2013 conference (http://uvid.israeldefense.co.il/)
and saw your reply, and yes, what you are saying is what I had in mind:
How do we go about creating these downloadable guides for the APM 2.5 community?
I have a few leads to the ICAA and would need to see if any of the info is available in English.
As I am studying these docs with the full intent of legalizing my Octo and NEX for proffesional
AP & planning survey usage, I hope to be able to provide some more input on the matter.
The Israeli Commercial UAV guidelines and licensing procedures were based in part on material pablished by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).
Here are two links for starters:
Look for CAP 722 for the standard that is being adopted throughout most of Europe in one way or another.
While You were typing I managed to track down the following ICAO document:
PREPARATION OF AN OPERATIONS MANUAL / Doc 9376-AN/914
Also found CAP 722:
both are now attached for all to study :-)
I'd say... let's focus and restrict ourselves on the specific needs of this community. This means a focus on light RPA's (<7kg), <400ft altitude, <500m horizontal distance and visual line of sight (meteorological conditions). The small companies operating this kind of equipment apparently makes up 80% of the market, so that's a huge number to aim at.
Things that come up are:
- Operational limits; The limits for which the guidelines were designed (weight, alt, distance) must be absolutely clear.
- How to determine if a vehicle is fit for flight?
- Pilot/operator skills; which manoevers must a pilot be able to execute to be considered a skilled pilot? For aeromodeling and start flying at a field, they have some pretty basic exercises for this.
- Emergency procedures; how to intervene, which functions are available, how to confirm the emergency procedure works, what's the last resort, how to 'ditch'?
- Flight planning both for success and failure. How to define safe zones for a vehicle to crash or ditch? Is a geofence in place?
- Evaluation of the environment; is the environment safe enough to fly in? which sources to check. Are there radiation masts close? power lines? urban areas?
- Regular testing of such safety precautions: does the geofence work? So this could be a set of software / hardware tests for APM builders. Are there specific conditions under which the functionality could fail, how to execute such tests, etc.
- disclaimer: nothing written in this document dismisses the operator from seeking compliance with national regulations in his/her country. Eventually it would be cool if someone could say: " I built and tested my aircraft according to APM guidelines" and have that actually mean something.
There are some regulation bodies that have quite clear ideas on what they want the regulation to look like, but haven't come forward yet to express them. The UK is one of those apparently, Australia and I've seen discussions in Brazil (ANAC) where the very subject came up. Nothing here materialized into something formal yet, but it certainly makes sense to build on those ideas, take it forward. That means collecting the documents first, storing them in a place where others can download them and start building a comprehensive document base from there.
So... do you know of a suitable public storage place for such documents with some authentication for authors/uploaders?
some more docs and links:
1. Unfortunately I don't know of any specific public storage thing, though it seems
like this should be on some form of a WIKI framework, most preferably
connected with the already existing APM wiki -
but how to set this up is beyond me.
2. As to RPAs, I can understand targeting the ~ 7kg range, however, the Israeli
AUW / Aircraft take-off weight classification, as defined in circular UAV
0.2 - 1.5 Kg Micro UAV
1.5 - 15 Kg Mini UAV
15 - 150 Kg Light UAV
150 - higher Heavy UAV
So at least for me, that would mean meeting requirements for the full Micro to
3. Your remarks make full sense, if you could number the paragraphs it would
make it easier to reference them in the reply.
4. I think any "official" APM guidelines for UAV licensing should go the full monty,
since anyone going down the license route will need a full and proper doc set
to build upon and reference.
What gets "left out" should be the responsibility of the license applicant, as
only he/she knows the target operation of the UAV they are working on.
5. For now, lets keep this strictly for Air-born vehicles.
6. The sooner this gets put on a WIKI of sorts and starts taking shape - the better.
It seems very likely that the USA will only be allowed 2.2 lbs as the starting figure.
Determining if the vehicle is fit for flight has to be the responsibility of an aviation authority approved body or testing centre, Resource UAs in the UK can do that sort of thing on behalf of the CAA. In the USA DHS has a centre and the FAA hope to announce 6 test sites later this year. Airworthyness would never be something this community could sign off.
No doubt space on the wiki can be dedicated to this task. I will see what needs to happen to get it happening.
It will have to be fairly broad brush and you will need experts from each country with regs in place.
Your link to the MOR doc made me smile I have had to submit a couple of those in my manned flying career. There have been some UA MORs already and an AIRPROX.
The UK has more than 200 licenced operators have a look here for some info
1. Obviously, the whole issue has to and will be broken down into
logical parts, each with their specs, testing procedures as
recommended by manufacturer etc. I am confident 3D Robotics +
this open-source forum could nail out the criteria for robust pre-flight
tests and QA for the APM flight controller - they do not need to be a
national certified body, but the best practices need to be a reviewable
deliverable document of sorts.
2. Seeing this done for every component that goes into our craft would
be nice - Frames, ESCs, UBECs, Power Sources & Distro boards,
Motors, props etc etc. But in the end it boils down to Airworthiness
of a specific build, and all the info just goes to support the building
3. Waiting for the day some of us would be selling licensed RTF
4. Help with the wiki is much appreciated!
5. Broad brush and experts - this is why posting on the web helps
6. I'm not sure what you mean by MORs and AIRPROX. ?
7. That should be a Thumbs Up for the UK too!