The Use of Aviation Safety Practices in UAS Operations A Review

Main Article Content

William Theodore Weldon
Joseph Hupy
Damon Lercel
Kaleb Gould

Abstract

Unmanned Aerial Systems, UAS, have rapidly become a part of the US National Airspace System (NAS) with over 1.6 million registered between 2015 and 2020. As the number of UAS has increased so has the number of sightings by manned aircraft and airport operators. This increase in sightings has raised concerns about the safety of UAS operations, a concern validated by the experiences of the US military. Following high accident/incident rates during UAS operation the US military discovered that UAS, despite having no pilot onboard, are subject to human error. The research and methods to minimize human error are mature, widely integrated, and successful in manned aviation. This paper reports on a literature review of three aviation safety practices and their use in UAS operations. Science Direct and the Web of Science Core Collection databases were reviewed for articles with the keywords “Crew Resource Management”, “Safety Management Systems”, or “Standard Operating Procedures” and “Unmanned Aerial System” or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.” One hundred and sixteen articles containing these keywords were published between 2000-2020. Each of the discovered articles were downloaded and reviewed by two researchers. This review discovered that six articles discuss the use of either CRM, SMS, or SOPs in UAS operations, which suggests a need for a greater body of UAS research in these areas. This void in research mirrors the early integration approach taken by the US military, and the consequence of the knowledge gap was an increased accident rate. Additional research must be conducted to understand the effect of human error on civilian UAS operations to allow for the safe operation of UAS in the US NAS.

Article Details

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Literature Reviews

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