To conclude the framework related to the procedures required by the EU UAS Regulation 2019/947 for drone operations, we provide an easy-to-read list of questions and answers on the Specific Operations Risk Assessment, also known as SORA methodology.


1 What is SORA?

SORA stands for Specific Operations Risk Assessment. It is a methodology developed by JARUS (Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems) to evaluate the risk level of certain unmanned aircraft operations and propose mitigations.


2 How does SORA relate with the European UAS Regulation 2019/947?

In 2019, the SORA methodology has been endorsed by EASA as Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) to fulfil the requirements of the European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 expressed in Article 11. In fact, according to this article, all operations conducted in the Specific category require a risk assessment in order to obtain Operational Authorisation from the Competent Authority of the Member State where the operator is registered.


3 How does SORA work?

SORA provides a combination of design and operational mitigation mechanisms for known areas of harm to third parties on the ground or in the air. These mitigations must be met with a level of robustness (low, medium, high) that is commensurate with the determined ground and air risks classes. The level of robustness corresponds to an appropriate combination of the levels of integrity and the levels of assurance.


4 What does level of integrity mean?

It refers to the safety gain achieved by the mitigation.


5  What does level of assurance mean?

It refers to the method of proof demonstrating that the level of integrity has been met.


6 Is SORA conceived for all kinds of operations?

The SORA methodology is primarily aimed at the Specific category of UAS operations (as defined by EASA Technical Opinion 01/2018) unless the operation falls within a Standard Scenario or a Pre-Defined Risk Assessment.


7 Are drone operators in Specific category obliged to carry out the SORA risk analysis?

The SORA methodology is not meant to be compulsory, but it is strongly recommended  to find the best mitigation means, and hence reducing the risks for UAS operations within the Specific category.


8 Is the SORA methodology in its final stage?

The SORA methodology is conceived as a work in progress database, to be constantly improved through the feedback stemming from UAS operations, to provide answers to all the challenges related to the integration of UAS in the airspace.


9 How can I carry out a SORA assessment for my drone operation?

If your drone operation falls into the Specific category, you can perform the analysis on your own, dealing with paperwork and standards, or subcontracting the analysis to a consultant. Alternatively, by subscribing to SAMWISE Pro you may perform an unlimited number of risk analyses , thus saving cost and time.


10 What should I do after conducting the SORA analysis?

After having completed a SORA assessment, you need to send all the information to the National Aviation Authority and apply for an operational authorisation. Once the National Aviation Authority deems the risk assessment adequate, it issues an authorisation, and the operation can be conducted.

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