Definition of an airworthiness certification framework for civil unmanned aircraft systems

Clothier, Reece A., Palmer, Jennifer L., Walker, Rodney A., & Fulton, Neale L. (2011) Definition of an airworthiness certification framework for civil unmanned aircraft systems. Safety Science, 49(6), pp. 871-885.

View at publisher


The development of effective safety regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is an issue of paramount concern for industry. The development of this framework is a prerequisite for greater UAS access to civil airspace and, subsequently, the continued growth of the UAS industry. The direct use of the existing conventionally piloted aircraft (CPA) airworthiness certification framework for the regulation of UAS has a number of limitations. The objective of this paper is to present one possible approach for the structuring of airworthiness regulations for civilian UAS. The proposed approach facilitates a more systematic, objective and justifiable method for managing the spectrum of risk associated with the diversity of UAS and their potential operations. A risk matrix is used to guide the development of an airworthiness certification matrix (ACM). The ACM provides a structured categorisation that facilitates the future tailoring of regulations proportionate to the levels of risk associated with the operation of the UAS. As a result, an objective and traceable link may be established between mandated regulations and the overarching objective for an equivalent level of safety to CPA. The ACM also facilitates the systematic consideration of a range of technical and operational mitigation strategies. For these reasons, the ACM is proposed as a suitable method for the structuring of an airworthiness certification framework for civil or commercially operated UAS (i.e., the UAS equivalent in function to the Part 21 regulations for civil CPA) and for the further structuring of requirements on the operation of UAS in un-segregated airspace.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

515 since deposited on 07 Mar 2011
42 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 40466
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Airworthiness, Regulation, UAS, Unmanned Aircraft, Risk Matrix
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2011.02.004
ISSN: 0925-7535
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > AEROSPACE ENGINEERING (090100) > Aerospace Engineering not elsewhere classified (090199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING (091500) > Risk Engineering (excl. Earthquake Engineering) (091507)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Research Science and Technology Policy (160511)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 07 Mar 2011 00:23
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2013 14:18

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page