Low Altitude Operations Safety
The FAA requested research to explore the data requirements and analysis needed to submit a Part 107 waiver for flight over people. The submission of the waiver in conjunction with the research allowed the team to exercise the approval process and define standards that might be used to improve the waiver process for more challenging waivers such as operations meeting the Category 3 and 4 Performance Standards defined by the Micro-ARC Final Report. The research led to successful submission of a Part 107 waiver for flight over people for the Phantom 3 Standard and Advanced, including substantiation data to meet the Category 4 Performance Standards defined by the Micro-ARC Final Report1. The waiver and this final report include new methodologies for determining safety thresholds other than those used by the Range Commanders Council (RCC). Flexible, plastic vehicle structures and frangible payloads do not transfer energy during collisions in the same manner as the smaller metal debris used as the basis for RCC standards. The modification of impact energy standards from the RCC standards is a new approach and provides better insight into the injury mechanisms associated with sUAS ground collisions with humans. Safe operation can be conducted when operating these sUAS platforms over people, and the application of the KE standards in this report extends the capabilities of safety mechanisms such as parachutes for larger platforms up to 25.4 lbs for flight over people under Category 4 Performance Standards.