An operability framework for unmanned aircraft systems
In the current absence of comprehensive and generic UAS airworthiness regulations, the development of UAS and their introduction into non-segregated airspace pose significant challenges to the UAS industry and regulators. This paper reports on a research study that considered the problem, from an engineering perspective, beyond the limits of the airworthiness of the aircraft and remote control station. The study introduces the concept of UAS operability, which includes the safe and reliable functioning of the UAS as a system, the airworthiness of its airborne sub-systems, and the safe and reliable functioning of its non-airborne sub-systems and functional payloads. The regulatory domain for UAS operability is described and the study establishes a generic and comprehensive UAS operability framework. The framework was validated by populating its elements with engineering criteria that can be used by the UAS engineering domain for the development of engineering specifications and as guidance towards achieving the safe and reliable functioning of UAS.