Probability of low altitude midair collision between general aviation and unmanned aircraft

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Abstract

Unmanned aircraft usually fly below 500 ft in order be segregated from manned aircraft. However, while general aviation (GA) usually do fly above 500 ft in areas where unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate, GA will at times also fly below 500 ft. Consequently, there is a distinct risk of near-miss encounters as well as actual midair collisions. This work presents a model for determining this risk based on physical parameters of the aircraft, actual figures for the numbers of GA in a given airspace, as well as the probability of having GA below 500 ft. The model is applied to Danish airspace and the MAC rate for unmitigated operations of unmanned aircraft is found to be approximately 10^-6 MAC per flight hour. The model is particularly well-suited for beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations, and is useful for UA operators for conducting risk assessment of planned operations as well as for regulators for determining appropriate operational requirements.
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Unmanned aircraft usually fly below 500 ft in order be segregated from manned aircraft. However, while general aviation (GA) usually do fly above 500 ft in areas where unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate, GA will at times also fly below 500 ft. Consequently, there is a distinct risk of near-miss encounters as well as actual midair collisions. This work presents a model for determining this risk based on physical parameters of the aircraft, actual figures for the numbers of GA in a given airspace, as well as the probability of having GA below 500 ft. The model is applied to Danish airspace and the MAC rate for unmitigated operations of unmanned aircraft is found to be approximately 10^-6 MAC per flight hour. The model is particularly well-suited for beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations, and is useful for UA operators for conducting risk assessment of planned operations as well as for regulators for determining appropriate operational requirements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSafety Science
ISSN0925-7535
StateSubmitted - 12 Jul 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
ID: 261937147