In the world of drone operations, safety is a fundamental priority. The SORA semantic model is an essential framework in which operations are classified into two categories: Controlled Operations and Uncontrolled Operations. But what does this mean and how are these categories applied in the field?
In this article, we will break down each of the zones that must be defined and analysed before each flight, taking into account all the peculiarities of the flight. We will also explore how these zones can be adapted to specific situations, such as flying in a stadium.
This situation is the most complex of all. In this case, the pilot has no control over the aircraft and must apply emergency procedures. These procedures must be applied as quickly as possible, as each passing second may mean that the aircraft moves further away from the pilot, thereby increasing the risks of the operation.
Normally, this type of situation occurs beyond the Operational Volume, within the containment buffers, both in the air and on the ground. To simplify it, we could say that the pilot previously tried to prevent the aircraft from escaping by applying contingency procedures within the Contingency Volume, but failing to do so, emergency procedures must be applied since it is considered that the pilot has no control over the aircraft.
Emergency procedures must ensure that the aircraft will not exceed the safety buffers and access the corresponding adjacent areas.
The Operational Volume is defined as the volume where operations are carried out safely. The Operational Volume includes both the Flight Geography and the Contingency Volume.
The Flight Geography is the volume where the operator is carrying out the aircraft operation under normal conditions. Depending on the type of operation that is intended to be carried out, this can be in the form of a trajectory or defined as a large volume.
In the following image (source: FOCA-UAS-GM-Part1), the delimitation of the different areas that were defined above can be clearly seen. In this case, it is about determining a flight zone within a sports stadium, where the different zones are delimited for the safe development of the operation.