Standard Active Last Updated: Nov 09, 2020
ASTM F3478-20

Standard Practice for Development of a Durability and Reliability Flight Demonstration Program for Low-Risk Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) under FAA Oversight

Standard Practice for Development of a Durability and Reliability Flight Demonstration Program for Low-Risk Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) under FAA Oversight
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Significance and Use

4.1 Demonstration plans developed in accordance with this practice will include all necessary content and key considerations to support an effective flight demonstration program aimed at approval or certification of UAS by the FAA through D&R demonstration.

4.2 This practice does not address planning requirements for UAS development testing. It is assumed that a manufacturer has completed all UAS design and development and is preparing demonstration programs to support compliance demonstration on a stable and controlled system configuration. Manufacturers who wish to prepare a detailed design and development program should review Specification F3298 for programmatic examples.

4.3 This practice is intended to be used on low-risk UAS that meet the following design criteria and operating limitations.

4.3.1 The UAS has a command and control link that enables the pilot-in-command to take contingency action.

4.3.2 The unmanned aircraft (UA) has a kinetic energy of 25 000 ft-lb calculated in accordance with methods specified within the MOC.

4.3.3 The UA is operated 400 ft above ground level (AGL).

4.3.4 No operations over open-air assemblies (operations over people are acceptable).

4.3.5 No flight into known icing.

4.3.6 Maximum of 20:1 aircraft to pilot ratio.

4.3.7 The UA is electrically powered (excludes internal combustion engines and fuel cells).


1.1 This standard practice is intended for low-risk UAS seeking type certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under 14 CFR Part 21.17(b) in accordance with the FAA durability and reliability (D&R) means of compliance (MOC). The definition of “low-risk UAS” does not necessarily align with other definitions found within corresponding ASTM standards (F3442/F3442M) or other UAS-related standards. For the purposes of this practice, “low-risk” is defined as a UAS operated in accordance with the concept of operations (CONOPs), eligibility criteria, and kinetic energy threshold specified in the G-1 Issue Paper (which will be provided to the applicant by the FAA). See 4.3 for design criteria and operating limitations for low-risk UAS.

1.2 This standard practice establishes a common methodology and key considerations for the development of minimum flight plans for low-risk UAS that demonstrate aircraft reliability as part of a D&R MOC.

1.3 The scope of this standard practice encompasses D&R planning, data collection, and reporting.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. This is not intended to limit the systems of units used for design, development testing, or demonstration testing. However, the units of measurement used on pilot-facing placards and markings and manuals must be the same as those used on the corresponding equipment with recognition that international aviation utilizes feet for altitude and knots for airspeed as operational parameters.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.09
Developed by Subcommittee: F38.01
Pages: 22
DOI: 10.1520/F3478-20
ICS Code: 03.220.50; 49.020