PDRA G-03 | Linear inspections without observers

Table of Contents

The PDRA G-03 has been created in response to the demand of countries to facilitate the drafting of Operational Authorizations for the development of routine and automated surveillance and inspection flights of infrastructures and facilities, under BVLOS flight conditions.

As the flights are carried out near these infrastructures and at low altitude, manned aircraft cannot fly and the airspace in which they intend to fly is qualified as “atypical”. For the flight to be considered atypical airspace, it must be performed at a maximum of 30 meters above the surface being flown, which may be increased in some specific cases.

The airspace classified as atypical can be either controlled or uncontrolled, where the competent authority will define the requirements for its determination and coordination procedures.

This type of airspace restriction allow flights to be carried out by the operator in BVLOS and in an automated mode, following a programmed flight in which the operator intervenes only at the moment of giving the take-off order and in the interruption of the flight, if necessary.

PDRA G-03 Characteristics

The requirements for flight within this scenario are as follows:

  • Aircraft up to 3 meters in size and a maximum kinetic energy of 34 kJ.
  • Flight in sparsely populated areas
  • Flight in VLL conditions (Very Low Level)
  • Flight in BVLOS conditions within the control range of the C2 Link.
  • Limited to pre-programmed flights to avoid the risk of collision with obstacles.

Risk Level

Operational risk classification according to SORA methodology:
GRC Final 3 Final ARC ARC-a SAIL II

Ground requirements

The operator shall determine a flight geography that protects third parties outside the operational volume. Thus:

  • Fixed wing: you should use the 1:1 rule to determine the minimum ground safety buffer distance.
  • Rotating wing: in this case, the distance may be reduced by applying the ballistic calculation methodology.

Air Requirements

Flights can be performed:

Atypical airspace:

  • 30 meters horizontal distance from obstacles (e.g. trees, buildings, towers…)
  • At a height of 15 meters from the overflown obstacle (or 30 meters if the obstacle is less than 20 meters high).
  • Out of:
    • known areas where manned aircraft landings and take-offs take place (e.g. heliports)
    • Low altitude military flight zones
    • Low altitude flight paths of other types of manned aircraft (e.g. hot air balloons)
    • in coastal areas where search and rescue flights typically take place
    • Areas where unmanned aircraft are known to be flying (e.g. model airplane clubs).

Temporarily Segregated Area (TSA):  

  • Flights may be conducted in a Temporarily Segregated Area. The entire operational volume must be within the TSA.

Pilot training

In order to perform flights within the PDRA G-03 scenario, it is necessary for the operator to propose to the national aviation authority a training plan that is based on open category operations with the addition of the following elements:

  • Aviation safety
  • Air regulation for specific category, SORA and PDRA.
  • Navigation
  • Human factors
  • Operational procedures
  • Aircraft knowledge
  • Meteorology
  • Risk mitigation for air risk

In addition, a practical training plan based on the characteristics of the operation, which should cover:

  • Preparation of operations
  • Flight preparation
  • Flight under normal conditions
  • Flight under abnormal conditions
  • Flight under emergency conditions

PDRAs are much more flexible than standard scenarios because they allow us to justify how we meet the scenario requirements. In addition, the list of scenarios is much longer, allowing the development of new activities in the sector that are highly specialized and easily adaptable to new aircraft and other technologies.

Don’t hesitate to start your journey to fly into these scenarios!