ECAC organises workshop on UAS investigations

13-14 October 2021 - Air accident and incident investigation experts focused on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) investigations in this year’s air accident and incident investigation workshop. The event offered the opportunity to look at the applicable regulatory framework, the investigation process and related challenges, the development of UAS investigation capability (including training requirements for investigators), safety improvement in the UAS sector, and the use of drones to support investigations.

Following fruitful discussions among participants, the workshop concluded there was a need to update ICAO Annex 13 to clarify its applicability to UAS investigations. The participants also agreed that the derogation in Regulation (EU) No 996/2010, which enables safety investigation authorities to focus their resources on the investigation of the more serious UAS occurrences, was very useful.

The need for investigator training and the benefits of training provided by UAS manufacturers were highlighted, as was the need to consider recruiting people with different expertise in order to develop capabilities (e.g. safety critical software design, strong avionics background…).

Participants also recognised the importance of creating a culture in the UAS community for the implementation and use of the safety management systems.

The next ACC workshop will be dedicated to harmonising the classification of “incidents” and “serious incidents” among the safety investigation authorities in ECAC Member States. It will be organised in 2023.