Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation

UAVs certification

The Certification Body of the Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation conducts product certification in the legally mandatory area and in the voluntary area. The conformity assessment of products with the specified requirements is performed in accordance with the certification programs adopted in the Unit, based on legal regulations, standards and own certification programs, which were developed on the basis of the requirements of ISO/IEC 17065, ISO/IEC 17021–1 and ISO/IEC 17067 international standards.

The process of certification of the product(s) is launched, respectively, on the basis of an application for certification submitted by the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s authorized representative, importer, distributor (when it introduces the product under its own name/brand) or user.

The activity of the Unit is based on:

  • obligatory certification of product compliance with legal requirements (accredited area;
  • voluntary certification of product compliance with the specified reference technical specification (accredited and non-accredited area).

In the area of mandatory conformity assessment, the Łukasiewicz Research Network Certification Unit – Aeronautical Institute has the status of a notified body with the number……………………, which, through the European Commission’s notification of…………………, has been authorized to perform third party tasks in the process of conformity assessment of products – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Systems (hereinafter also referred to as UAVS) in accordance with the EU harmonization legislation, in this case with the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 of March 12, 2019, on unmanned aerial systems and operators of unmanned aerial systems from third countries (Official Journal of the EU L 152 of June 11, 2019, page 1, as amended).

Mandatory conformity assessment – open category:

  • CE marking,
  • MTOM < 25 kg,
  • VLOS.

In the area of voluntary conformity assessment, the Unit performs:

  • specific operations risk assessment (SORA) (non-accreditation area);
  • assessment of compliance with the requirements of the UAVS that are already on the EU market, and its manufacturer or owner (in consultation with the manufacturer) makes a conversion due to the class designation) (non-accredited);
  • assessment of compliance with UAVS requirements that are adapted to special flights, for example, medical (non-accredited area).

Voluntary certification – special category:

  • UAV with MTOM > 25 kg, VLOS mission, BVLOS;
  • UAV with MTOM < 25 kg, BVLOS mission;
  • anti-drone, transport, vision, remote sensing systems.

Analysis of the Specific Operations Risk Assessment

Depending on the level of operational risk, an unmanned aerial vehicle flight can take place in one of three categories, for which requirements have been defined to be met by operators and manufacturers. It is important to distinguish in European and national regulations a special category that requires authorization by the relevant supervisory authority.

In accordance with the new regulations (EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/947), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations are classified based on their degree of risk:

  • the lowest – open category,
  • medium – special category,
  • the highest – certified category.

In the open category, operations are performed only in line of sight of the pilot or observer (VLOS), up to a maximum height of 120 meters, with a drone with a maximum take-off weight of up to 25 kg. It is required to keep a safe distance between the drone and other people, animals and aircraft.

Flying over gatherings of people and in the vicinity of rescue operations or transporting people or hazardous materials is classified as a certified category.

Among these categories, there is a special category that requires a special permit from the competent authority of the European Union Member State (in the case of Poland: the Civil Aviation Authority – ULC).

Special category

If the operation:

  • cannot performed as part of the open category,
  • it is not subject to the national standard scenario published by the President of the Civil Aviation Authority,
  • is subject to the standard scenario published by EASA (effective from December 2, 2021),
  • goes beyond the possibility of conducting of an Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA),
  • does not qualify for the certified category,
  • is not subject to a specific ban issued by the Civil Aviation Authority,

then it is necessary to carry out a risk analysis, and then it is required to submit an application to the Civil Aviation Authority for permission to perform operations with an unmanned aerial vehicle in a special category.

The risk analysis methodology recommended by the Civil Aviation Authority is SORA – Specific Operations Risk Assessment, developed by the JARUS organization and then adapted to European regulations by the EASA organization.

Risk analysis using the SORA methodology is a unified tool used for a particular category, defining the level and objectives of safety at the operational level, which allows for a standardized assessment of planned UAV operations.

The ten-stage analysis using the SORA methodology takes into account the most important issues related to the need to define the mission profile, assess the threats that may occur on the ground, in air traffic and determines the Specific Assurance and Integrity Levels (SAIL), as well as defines security objectives at the operational level, i.e. SPA (Security Posture Assessment).

SORA risk analysis – areas

Divide the risk analysis into five specific areas, starting with CONOPs, i.e. a description of the operation concept, place, time, method, crew, training, etc. and technical data.

Then, in the second and third areas, SORA focuses on risk assessment – the first related to the UAV hitting the ground, i.e. the effects of such an impact and the resulting threat to people, and the second related to the collision with a manned aircraft and its consequences.

The fourth area concerns the determination of the SAIL level, i.e. a specific level of integrity and assurance, and the SPA, i.e. security objectives at the operational level, requirements to be met by the operator for a given mission, based on the above risks. In addition, the adjacent area is also taken into account. The fifth area is a summary.

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