Assess the Vulnerabilities of Packaging and Package Containment Systems (A77_A11L.UAS.127)

Identifying potential hazards, vulnerabilities, and package faults with UAS package delivery systems is crucial to safe and efficient UAS operations. Currently, sections of the 49 CFR provide great guidance and summation of general requirements for packaging and packages for a “typical” shipper; however, as we are steadily finding out, the UAS operators are NOT your typical shipper. Specifically, many of these new operators are experimenting with various means of package delivery systems such as: dropped via tether, delivered via parachute drop, delivered via free-fall drop, etc. Additionally, the research effort should include an examination of environmental effects on package integrity. Unlike manned operations, UAS packages will be exposed to a myriad of weather conditions outside of the aircraft fuselage and therefore the effects of certain atmospheric conditions should be assessed. Because of these new dynamics, researchers believe many of the current standards and testing are inadequate for these types of operations.

The goals of any packaging standard would be to adequately protect the contents against shock, vibration, compression, and/or atmospheric hazards during delivery. For those operators that intend to carry Hazmat, the FAA evaluates the operator’s Safety Cases to ensure the appropriate mitigations/safety controls are being applied to decrease the risk for people on the ground. Unfortunately, much of what is assessed reflects the standards for the “typical” shipper and the impacts of potential research delay or execution would negatively impact the safety of package delivery.



Jerry Hendrix
UAS Research Programs
University of Alabama Huntsville
Phone: 256.824.5408


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