The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued their analysis of the main safety risks involving Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) / Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) / Drone operations. The aim of the study was to better understand the safety risks posed by the growing use of UAS.
The study used occurrence data from both the European Central Repository (occurrences reported to NAAs of the EASA Member States) from 2010 to May 2016 and also from airlines involved in EASA’s Commercial Air Transport (CAT) Aeroplanes Collaborative Analysis Group (CAG).
From these occurrences there were 42 accidents, the majority of which resulted from the crash of drone for either technical reasons or due to loss of control. None of these occurrences involved fatalities or injuries.
EASA has recently published their ‘Drone Collision’ Task Force report. This came out with the following recommendations:
Recommendation 1: The Task Force recommends that an analytical model of the drone threat should be developed that takes into account a more detailed analysis of the construction of drones and an assessment of the dynamic behaviour of drones and their components.
Recommendation 2: The Task Force recommends that a specific risk assessment should be conducted to assess the behaviour of lithium batteries on impact with structures and rotating parts, and their possible ingestion by jet engines.
Recommendation 3: The Task Force recommends that further research should be conducted to establish hazard severity thresholds for collisions between drones and manned aircraft. Impact analyses should be performed.