Integrating the operation of airborne wind energy systems safely into the airspace requires a systematic qualification process. It seems likely that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency will approve commercial systems as unmanned aircraft systems within the “specific” category, requiring risk-based operational authorization. In this paper, we interpret the risk assessment methodology for airborne wind energy systems, going through the ten required steps of the recommended procedure and discussing the particularities of tethered energy-harvesting systems.
Although the described process applies to the entire field of airborne wind energy, we detail it for a commercial flexible-wing airborne wind energy system. We find that the air risk mitigations improve the consolidated specific assurance and integrity level by a factor of two. It is expected that the framework will increase the safety level of commercial airborne wind energy systems and ultimately lead to operation approval.
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