Operations Over People
For commercial operators, the ability to operate over, or close to, people is critical as it opens new verticals and business opportunities that were previously unattainable.
The FAA and other CAAs around the world have indicated that parachute systems that comply with ASTM F3322-18 are a good way to mitigate the risk of flight over people.
ParaZero is proud to present the only ASTM F3322-18 compliant parachute system for the DJI Mavic 2 and Phantom 4 series.
ASTM F3322-18 requires over 45 aerial parachute deployments with a 3rd Party Testing Agency. These tests together with the standard’s other requirements give operators and regulators the confidence required in the three performance pillars of a parachute system:
- Effective and reliable in all failure scenarios
- Rated descent rate:
Mavic – 12.8 fps
Phantom – 16.8 fps
- Minimum flight altitude:
Mavic – 62.7 ft
Phantom – 62.4 ft
Learn More About ASTM F3322-18
Industry standards are an important factor in allowing regulators to move forward with rulemaking. Regulators do not have the ability or resources to be experts in every detail of every new technology. Instead they rely on the industry led standard setting organizations to define the baseline for certain technologies.
This is exactly the case with ASTM F3322-18 Standard Specification for sUAS Parachutes. Seeing that parachute technology will likely play an important part in future regulations (see More About the FAA’s Proposed Flight Over People Rule below), the FAA requested that ASTM standard body put together a working group to define a standard for sUAS parachute systems.
In mid-2017, ParaZero, together with other industry leaders such as MITRE, DJI, Amazon, the FAA itself and others, began developing the standard that is currently known as F3322-18.
The standard is designed to address the three performance pillars of parachute systems mentioned below.
Effective and reliable in all failure scenarios: F3322-18 requires the integrator/manufacturer to perform a series of over 45 aerial deployments in different scenarios together with a 3rd Party Testing Agency. These scenarios include two types of failures; Full Motor Cut (FMC), basically a complete loss of power to all rotors, and Critical Number Motor Failure (CNMF), a partial failure resulting in only some of the motors malfunctions. These deployments are performed at different UAS states (mainly hover or full forward speed).
Rated descent rate: The rated descent rate under open parachute is critical to understand the expected kinetic energy of the object upon impact. Kinetic energy is the deciding factor for flight over people categories in the new FAA draft regulation. Throughout all tests the descent rate is measured with on-board equipment. The system is rated by the average descent rate from all tests.
- The SafeAir Mavic’s decent rate is 3.9 meters per second/ 12.8 feet per second
- The SafeAir Phantom’s descent rate is 5.12 meters per second/ 16.8 feet per second.
Minimum flight altitude – because of the design of a parachute, it inherently loses altitude before it can slow down the falling object. The altitude lost as part of the deployment process determines the minimum safe flight altitude for the system to be effective. To determine this figure we took our worst result from all tests (15.9 meters/ 52.2 feet) and added a safety factor equal to twice the length of the parachute cords.
- The SafeAir Mavic’s minimum flight altitude is 19.11 meters/ 62.7 feet
- The SafeAir Phantom’s minimum flight altitude is 19.02 meters/ 62.4 feet
What is the FAA NPRM for Flight Over People
In January of 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation published the long-awaited draft rule for UAS flight over people. The draft, defined as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposes changes to the existing Part 107 regulations that restrict any UAS operation over people. While the restriction was officially waivable, only a handful of companies were successful in securing such waivers to date (two of which were using ParaZero SafeAir Systems).