In recent years, the drone industry has soared to new heights, with applications ranging from aerial photography to package delivery to commercial inspections. 

In 2024, the worldwide drone market revenue amounts to $4.3bn and is projected to grow annually by 2.26% CAGR between 2024 and 2028, according to Statista. As the demand for drone services continues to rise, so does the need for a comprehensive understanding of drone regulations and the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) framework.

Whether you’re a commercial user, founder of a drone or traffic-management start-up, or aviation decision-maker, those in the industry must be well-versed in regulations, not only for the success of the industry but for the safety of the public.

Safety First: Compliance with Drone Regulations.

Safety is paramount in any industry, and the drone sector is no exception. The airspace is a shared resource, and adherence to regulations ensures the safe integration and accommodation of drones into the airspace system. Regulatory bodies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe, have established rules and guidelines to govern drone operations. As businesses grow, a wider understanding of how regulations differ from country to country can be beneficial as you choose where to expand your drone operations.

Understanding these regulations is not just a legal requirement; it's a commitment to the safety of the public, other airspace users, and the operators themselves. Professionals in the drone industry must navigate through airspace restrictions, altitude limits, systems requirements, and operational guidelines to mitigate risks and ensure safe drone flights.

Unlock the potential of your drone operations 

Comprehensive knowledge of drone regulations is not just about avoiding legal consequences; it's about unlocking the full potential of your drone operations. Understanding the restrictions and allowances provided by regulatory bodies enables professionals to identify lucrative opportunities and plan operations accordingly.

Drone regulations often vary from country to country, and staying informed about these variations allows industry players to expand their services globally. Whether you're offering aerial surveys, inspections, or deliveries, a solid grasp of drone regulations is the key to unlocking new markets and business possibilities.

Undertaking the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)

While drone regulations provide a general framework for safe operations, the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) takes safety to a more granular level. SORA is a holistic risk-based assessment framework designed to evaluate the safety of specific drone operations that go beyond standard regulations, created by the Joint Authorities on Rulemaking for Unmanned Systems (JARUS) to estimate the risk of airborne drone operations and the potential harm to third parties on the ground.

Professionals in the drone industry must understand SORA as it allows them to assess and mitigate the unique risks associated with their specific operations. From urban drone deliveries to beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, SORA provides a structured approach to identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks, ensuring a higher level of safety for complex drone missions.

The SORA process is comprised of 10 steps: 

  1. The concept of operations (ConOps)
  2. Determination of the intrinsic ground risk class (GRC)
  3. Determination of the final ground risk class (GRC)
  4. Determination of the initial air risk class (ARC)
  5. Application of strategic mitigations to determine the residual air risk class (ARC)
  6. Tactical mitigation performance requirements (TMPR) and levels of robustness 
  7. Final specific assurance and integrity level (SAIL) and operational safety objectives (OSO) assignment
  8. Identification of operational safety objectives (OSOs)
  9. Adjacent area and airspace considerations
  10. Comprehensive safety portfolio

After completing all steps, an organisation should compile all of the information in a comprehensive safety portfolio. For those who are new to the aviation or drone industry, this can be a confusing task to undergo, without support from industry experts.

Drone regulation training to keep the competitive edge

In a rapidly evolving industry, staying ahead of the curve and fully informed is essential for success.

By investing time and resources in understanding both drone regulations and SORA, professionals can position themselves as leaders in the field, and be confident in their drone operations as their business progresses. Furthermore, clients and partners are more likely to trust operators who demonstrate a commitment to safety and compliance, granting those who undertake regular training the strategic advantage.

Join us for our 5-day Barcelona training retreat this June

As you navigate the skies with your drone business, consider enrolling in a comprehensive training program that covers both drone regulations and SORA. Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to soar confidently above the competition.

If you’re ready to make the strategic investment and master UAS drone regulations and the SORA framework, join us in Barcelona this June 10th -14th. 

In partnership with BCN Drone Center, this 5-day training to rapidly bring you up to speed on the latest regulations in the industry, including newly released U-Space regulations.

After the 5-days, you will have a strong understanding of both current and upcoming regulations, plus the knowledge of how to apply SORA methodology to your organisation’s UAS operations. 

Led by industry experts, Lorenzo Murzilli, CEO of Murzilli Consulting, Yves Morier, Retired Principal Advisor at EASA and DGAC, Lluís Amat, Head of UAS Regulatory Compliance, BCN Drone Center, and Juanjo Sola, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Commercial Space, Murzilli Consulting, this is not to be missed. 

To find out more about the 5-day UAS Regulatory & SORA training in Barcelona, click here.