First SORA applications for operations over densely populated areas approved in the Netherlands
KIRYAT ONO, ISRAEL, April 3, 2023- The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (IL&T) has issued a precedent-setting approval for the first drone flights over densely populated areas for drones equipped with ParaZero SafeAir ASTM-certified parachute recovery systems. This approval marks a significant milestone, as it paves the way for similar approvals across the Netherlands and additional EASA Member States.
As a result of this authorization, Dutch drone operators no longer have to operate within a ‘controlled ground area’ (i.e. an area that needs to be secured and kept free of persons not involved in the operation), provided that the drone has been equipped with a ParaZero ASTM F3322-18-compliant parachute recovery system (PRS). “The parachute serves as a mitigating measure to enable regulatory compliance for ground risk mitigation, which reduces the ground risk class (GRC) to 3, leading to flights qualified as SAIL II operations” states Robin Zuidhof, UAS Consultant at Drone Flight Company.
The issue of ground risk has previously limited the use of heavier drones in urban environments, and until now, the IL&T had only issued operating permits under the condition that the territory flown over was inaccessible to uninvolved persons, making it virtually unfeasible for scaled operations in urban environments. However, thanks to the efforts of teams from Drone Flight Company and ParaZero, Dutch operators with approved permits do not require the territory to be cordoned off, provided that a certified emergency parachute system has been equipped on the drone being flown. This means that drone operations with heavier aircraft above busy cities will now be possible.
ParaZero’s SafeAir is a UAS (uncrewed aircraft system) parachute recovery system that mitigates flight risks autonomously. The SafeAir system is equipped with integrated sensors that continuously monitor and analyze the drone’s flight patterns to identify any indications of a critical failure. When triggered, the SmartAir Pro™, ParaZero’s onboard computer, responds with an instantaneous activation of the SafeAir system. The system cuts power to the drone, alerts people on the ground with an audible alarm, and deploys a lightweight parachute, bringing the drone down to the ground in a safe, controlled descent. “We extend our gratitude to the IL&T and our regional partners, Drone Flight Company, for their collaborative efforts, which will benefit commercial drone operators seeking to apply for similar authorizations” commented Aaron Gabriel Gliner, ParaZero’s Director of Business Development & Regulation.
Drone Flight Company (www.droneflightcompany.com) is one of the largest companies offering legal support to drone operators intending to perform flights in the Specific category. Since 2016, regulatory experts of Drone Flight Company unburden operators by guiding them during the application phase.
ParaZero (https://parazero.com/) is a world-leading developer of autonomous parachute safety systems for commercial drone and urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft. Started in 2014 by a passionate group of aviation professionals and drone industry veterans, ParaZero designs smart, autonomous parachute safety systems for commercial drones designed to enable safe flight operations over populated areas and beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS).