Korean J Aerosp Environ Med.  2016 Aug;26(2):35-42.

RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) and Human Factors

  • 1Sungshin Women's University, Korea RPAS Association, Seoul, Korea


The importance of human factors in civil aviation cannot be overemphasized. Still more than 70~80% of total accidents are believed to be derived from human factors reasons, including mistakes committed by pilots. Since RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), though pilots are not on board, is operated by pilots in the control station on the ground, human factors arise as same as for manned aircraft. The complicated interactions between control station, manned and unmanned aircraft, air traffic center necessitate the analysis of human factors and the mitigation of risks involved for ensuring safety. In relation to human factors for RPAS, a system-analysis approach is required in the analysis, design and development of RPAS. The whole system incorporating the components of sub-system, as well as the interaction between sub-systems should be dealt with. The factors and components of sus-systems include human resources, personnel, training, human engineering, system safety, development and evaluation of human machine interface (HMI), workload, situation awareness, teamwork and user acceptance, and assessment of human errors. It is important to take a gradual approach, following the trends of advanced countries, to ascertain to continue R&D, and to conduct test operation for cumulating operational data and relevancy for operational purpose, according to development stage. It is appropriate to initiate regulation from hobby or leisure RPAS to small, light and large ones, and to begin regulation from low altitude to mid and high ones on a gradual basis. The items for RPAS regulation at this point include definition, classification, communication, flight rules, operational permission, certificate, license, training, security, privacy, accident investigation, accident product liability, insurance, SMS and penalty. In the legislation procedure, human factors out of the items above should be considered and reflected in the regulation. From now on, Korea should actively take part in international fora such as ICAO's RPAS Panel, and JARUS so that it can follow international major trends and make domestic regulation for RPAS reflecting human factors. If the level of technology and safety were improved more than expected, the regulation for RPAS as a whole should be relaxed accordingly.


RPAS; Human Factors; Regulation; Human Machine Interface; Gradual and Step-by-Step Approach; Legislation
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