Laying the Groundwork of Global Standardization for UAS

Laying the Groundwork of Global Standardization for UAS

Key Take Away:

The F38 committee has a goal to set clear strategy for identifying and expediently developing high quality standards for safe, routine UAS operations in the civil airspace, globally.

  • Minimum safety, performance, and flight proficiency requirements
  • Quality assurance that aircraft manufacturing conforms to design criteria
  • Production acceptance tests and procedures
  • A baseline plan for continued airworthiness protocol, including monitoring and maintaining continued operational safety, and processes for identifying, reporting, and remedying safety-of-flight issues


The ATSM International develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products and systems. These standards are offered for adoption by people or industry without being mandated in law. Some standards become mandatory when they are adopted by regulators as legal requirements.  ASTM’s tag line is “Helping Our World Work Better”. “Better” is an understatement. Over 30,000 technical and subject matter experts come together in-person and online and do a deep dive on safety, manufacturing, performance, training, and quality assurance.

In April 2010, the FAA and ASTM signed a Memorandum of Agreement to develop standards for sUAS operations. The ASTM F38 group is comprised of representatives from industry, academia, professional societies, and government agencies. The committee has developed more than two dozen standards to further UAS design, performance, quality, and safety over its years of work. Two of the more notable standards created are specifications for remote ID and tracking (F3411) to address safety and security concerns, and a standard pertaining to BVLOS: the practice for seeking approval for BVLOS small unmanned aircraft systems, less than 55 pounds, (F3196) to create a viable market.

Standards under the jurisdiction of F38 (taken from the ASTM website)

Each main committee in ASTM International is composed of subcommittees that address specific segments within the general subject area covered by the technical committee. Click on the subcommittee links below to see the title of existing standards for each subcommittee. Then, click on the resulting titles to see the standard’s scope, referenced documents, and more.

The TruWeather team is chairing the F38 committee working with over 50 industry participants to develop the “Standard Specification for Weather Supplemental Data Service Provider (SDSP) Performance and Interoperability” under the F38.02 Flight Operations subcommittee. The weather group is coordinating with the FAA and industry to modify the current standard that requires the certification of weather instruments to a standard that quantifies weather data performance.  If the FAA accepts this as the new standard, it will allow for the use of a broader array of cost effective weather sensors to increase the density of weather measurements in the low-level atmosphere where drones and E-VTOLs fly.  More weather measurements will increase micro-weather awareness in support of Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight, resulting in enhanced flight safety, efficiency, and effectiveness for the growing UAS and eVTOL community.

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