Lighting Applications for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
|Publication Date:||1 December 2019|
This SAE Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) provides technical recommendations for the lighting applications for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The technical content of this ARP discusses the unique trade-offs that are necessary to maintain commonality to the U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs)1 for aerospace lighting. The recommendations set forth in this document are to aid in the design of Unmanned Aircraft (UA) lighting for the size of aircraft and operation for which the aircraft is intended. In addition, certain concepts of operation for which UASs are suited will require unique lighting solutions.
An unmanned aircraft is a device that is used for flight with no onboard pilot. These devices may be as simple as a Radio Controlled (RC) model aircraft or as complex as a DoD surveillance aircraft flying over hostile areas in warfare. All are controlled by a data link to connect the pilot to the aircraft via a Ground Control Station (GCS). Unmanned aircraft range in size from wingspans of 6 inches to a several hundred feet and weigh from 4 ounces to over 25000 pounds. The collective components for operating these devices are called an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The three things all UASs have in common are:
• The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), often referred to as Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAS)
• The Ground Control Station (GCS) and Pilot
• The data link software for the Command and Control (C3) between the GCS and aircraft
This Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) describes the functions and characteristics of lighting design for the Unmanned Aircraft operating as a system with the GCS. The C3 interface for controlling the UA lighting will be briefly mentioned and some areas of covert lighting are discussed along with lighting for ground operations.
1 Lighting designs that deviate from the FARs could bear the burden of justifying equivalent safety to the FAA.