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Abstract

The operation of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in the National Airspace System requires a careful consideration of the operating philosophies to ensure a safe outcome for all users. Small UAS operations are explored while the associated risks and benefits from the operations are reviewed. The operation of sUAS in self-separation airspace is discussed by an examination of the concept of autonomous flight rules (AFR). This includes a presentation of the basic principles of AFR and an explanation of the requirement for a sense-and-avoid system. Current and future uses of sUAS are presented to highlight the benefits from their use. Finally, an overview of the major risks associated with the operation of sUAS is provided in the form of a risk assessment matrix and a hazard/risk process decision chart. Mitigation actions to reduce the risks are also specified along with recommendations for further study.

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