Advisory Circular (AC) No. 903-001

Subject: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Operational Risk Assessment

Issuing Office: Civil Aviation, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Task Force
Document No.: AC 903-001
File Classification No.: Z 5000-34
Issue No.: 01
RDIMS No.: 15147375 v12
Effective Date: 2021-06-09

Purpose

This AC provides information and guidance to manufacturers and operators intending to develop or operate a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for operations in accordance with the requirements of Part IX, Subpart 3 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

Applicability

This document applies to manufacturers and operators intending to develop or operate an RPAS for one or more of the operations listed under CAR 903.01 which are identified as requiring a risk assessment during the application process for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) – RPAS.

Exclusions. In particular, the guidance provided by this document is not intended to address:

  • (a) passenger-carrying operations;

  • (b) risks associated with carriage of dangerous or potentially dangerous payloads;

  • (c) risks associated with air-to-air collisions between two RPAs;

  • (d) security risks not confined by the airworthiness of the systems (e.g., C2 link protection from interference is addressed, but protection of the ground control station from external malicious interference is not);

  • (e) aircraft subject to the aircraft type certification process.

    Note: Formal policy defining how RPAS will be accommodated in the type certification process is still under development and will be addressed in future guidance material.

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Table of contents

  • 1.0 Introduction
    • 1.1 Purpose
    • 1.2 Applicability
    • 1.3 Description of Changes
  • 2.0 References and requirements
    • 2.1 Reference Documents
    • 2.2 Cancelled Documents
    • 2.3 Definitions and Abbreviations
  • 3.0 Background
  • 4.0 RPAS ORA Overview
  • 5.0 Concept of operations and definition of operational volume
  • 6.0 Ground risk determination
  • 7.0 Air risk determination
  • 8.0 SAIL Determination
  • 9.0 Adjacent area / Airspace considerations
    • 9.1 Determination of Adjacent Areas and Airspace
    • 9.2 Operations not Requiring Containment Objectives
    • 9.3 High Robustness Containment Objectives
    • 9.4 Low Robustness Containment Objectives
  • 10.0 Performance objectives
    • 10.1 DAA Performance Objectives
    • 10.2 Operational Safety Objectives
  • 11.0 Information management
  • 12.0 Document history
  • 13.0 Contact office
  • Appendix A — RPAS ORA Example
  • Appendix B — Detect and Avoid Considerations
    • 1.0 DAA Detection Volume Calculation
    • 2.0 DAA Detect Means of Compliance
    • 3.0 Visual Observer DAA
  • Appendix C — Operational Safety Objectives
  • Appendix D — Reserved
  • Appendix E — RPAS Safety and Reliability Targets

List of Figures

  • Figure 1 – JARUS SORA Process
  • Figure 2 – Operational Volume
  • Figure 3 – Flight Geography Considerations
  • Figure 4 – Air Risk Class Decision Tree
  • Figure 5 – Graphical Depiction of Air Risk Classes
  • Figure 6 – Notional Mission
  • Figure 7 – Notional Mission showing Flight Geography
  • Figure 8 – Notional Mission showing Contingency Volume
  • Figure 9 – Notional Mission showing Loss of C2 Contingencies
  • Figure 10 – Notional Mission showing Population Centres
  • Figure 11 – Notional Mission showing Airspaces
  • Figure 12 – DAA Detection Volume Illustration
  • Figure 13 – Visual Observer must have a clear line of sight throughout the shaded area (no visual obstructions)
  • Figure 14 – Sun position must be located outside the shaded area

List of Tables

  • Table 1 – RPAS ORA Intrinsic Ground Risk
  • Table 2 – RPAS ORA Specific Assurance and Integrity Levels
  • Table 3 – RPAS ORA Detect and Avoid Objectives
  • Table 4 – DAA Detect Function Objectives
  • Table 5 – DAA Decide Function Objectives
  • Table 6 – DAA Command Function Objectives
  • Table 7 – DAA Execute Function Objectives
  • Table 8 – DAA Feedback Function Objectives
  • Table 9 – DAA System Integrity and Assurance Objectives
  • Table 10 – Operational Safety Objectives
  • Table 11 – Example Application of Ground Risk
  • Table 12 – Example Application of Air Risk
  • Table 13 – Example SAIL Determination
  • Table 14 – Sample Format for OSO Substantiation
  • Table 15 – RPAS Reliability Targets

For assistance

Email: TC.RPASInfo-InfoRPAS.TC@tc.gc.ca