Bow Tie Analysis of the Effects of Unmanned Aircraft on Air Traffic Control

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, AIAA AVIATION Forum 2021




Within the aviation domain, there is a growing industry demand to develop and integrate remotely piloted operations into the National Airspace System. However, it is not yet well understood how the integration of unmanned aircraft with impact air traffic control, and specifically, the air traffic controllers who are at the sharp end of this safety critical system. This research presented in this paper aimed to begin to address this gap in understanding by identifying and exploring potential hazards associated with introducing Unmanned Aircraft into the national airspace system, and identify possible mitigations to reduce identified risks. A bowtie risk analysis methodology was used to identify and analyze hazards. A focus-group format discussion was conducted with nine subject matter experts as participants. Findings identified five areas of potential risk, each associated with multiple hazards. Mitigations for each hazard are reported. Findings have essential implications for the safe and efficient integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.


Research Foundation