Risk Assessment – The first step in RPAS Safety Management

A Risk assessment on your planned operations is critical as this forms a significant part of CASA’s assessment of your UOC application.


The evaluation of risk is the process known as “Risk Assessment”.

The UAS Operator and UAV Controller should perform this assessment on several occasions as required by the role and activities to be completed.

The Risk Assessment should be performed during the feasibility planning phase to determine if the flight is viable. It should then be re-validated on the day prior to  the flight. Any assumptions made during the initial Risk Assessment (such as forecast weather/wind, location of persons etc.) should be confirmed.

The Risk Assessment involves calculating a risk factor based on the severity of any undesired outcome, the probability (likelihood) of that outcome and the exposure to the perceived threat. Where the risk factor is unacceptably high a mitigating factor or control measure is needed to reduce the probability likelihood or consequence to manage the risk back to an acceptable level/factor. Even if the risk is acceptable you should consider any factor that could be applied to reduce the risk further.

A risk assessment needs to include factors such as:

  • Bird Strikes
  • Pilot and spotter / cameraman looses sight of the UAV / RPA
  • The pilot has a medical emergency
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Take-off and Landing operations
  • Incorrect assembly of aircraft parts
  • Radio interference

Other topics to be addressed with Risk Assessments include:

  • Determining the Risk
  • Risk Management
  • Validation of Risk Assessments
  • Identification of the severity / consequences of the event
  • Probability or Likelihood of the event occurrence
  • Exposure to an occurrence
  • The calculated Risk Value
  • Risk Values

    Risk Level

    Action Required

    Time Allowed



    Very High

    Discontinue, Stop




    Immediate Correction

    1 Week



    Correction Required

    2 Weeks



    Attention Needed

    3 Weeks



    Possibly Acceptable

    4 Weeks


    None None  
  • The Risk Register

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