Drone flying

Posted 11/07/21

Who are JARUS?

The Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) is based on a group of experts from the National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) and regional aviation safety organisations from around the world. Its purpose is to recommend a single set of technical, safety and operational requirements for the certification and safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into airspace and at aerodromes.

The objective of JARUS is to provide guidance material for authorities to base their own requirements and to avoid duplicate efforts. At present 52 countries, as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and EUROCONTROL, are contributing to the development of JARUS.

What is SORA?

There are a number of working groups at JARUS: FCL, Operations, Airworthiness, Detect and Avoid, Command and Controland Concept of Operations and the SORA from WG6

SORA stands for Specific Operations Risk Assessment and in June 2018 JARUS published the SORA V2.0 for external consultation.  The document sets out a holistic approach to assessing the risks of both the operation and the system (drone).

How does SORA work? 

Here's a summary of the SORA process:

  1. Describe your concept of operations.
  2. Determine what your initial Ground Risk Class (GRC) is.
  3. Modify your GRC to take into account the controls you have in place.
  4. Determine what your initial Air Risk Class (ARC) is.
  5. Decide if  Strategic Mitigations can be applied to determine your final ARC.
  6. Determine the Airspace Encounter Category (AEC) for where you will be flying.
  7. Determine Tactical Mitigation Performance Requirements and Robustness Levels for ARC related controls.
  8. Make determination of your SAIL score.
  9. Identify your Operational Safety Objectives (OSO)
  10. Determine if you can meet the performance objectives related to your SAIL score.

SORA and BowTie

The SORA approach basically reflects a BowTie model in its identification and use of risk controls to establish how various Threats and Consequences should be managed. Here's what it looks like in a complete picture.


JARUS SORA BowTie Diagram
JARUS SORA BowTie Diagram

What next?

The likely next step is that National Aviation Authorities will adopt the SORA model to help assess applications for drone operations in the 'Specific' (i.e. non standard) category. Exactly when and how the finalised process and version will be released and formally implemented is not, at the time of writing this article, entirely clear however some NAAs (e.g. Switzerland) already point drone operators to this process.

If you would like further information on how to complete a JARUS SORA based safety case, contact us here.


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