Skip to main content
A Technology Survey of Emergency Recovery and Flight Termination Systems for UAS
  • Richard Stansbury, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Wesley Tanis, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Timothy Wilson, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Submitting Campus
Daytona Beach
Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering
Document Type
Conference Proceeding
Publication/Presentation Date

For safe flight in the National Airspace System (NAS), either under the current interim rules or under anticipated longer-term regulatory guidelines facilitating unmanned aircraft system (UAS) access to the NAS, the UAS must incorporate technologies and flight procedures to ensure that neither people nor property in the air, on the ground, or on or in the water are endangered by the failure of an onboard component, by inappropriate unmanned aircraft (UA) response to pilot commands, or by inadvertent entry by the UA into prohibited airspace. The aircraft must be equipped with emergency recovery (ER) procedures and technologies that ensure that in the event of such a failure that the UA is recovered intact with minimal risk to other aircraft, people, or property. Finally, should ER procedures prove ineffective and it is impossible to recover the UA, the pilot-in-command and/or the UAS may engage flight termination (FT) procedures-activities to ensure that the UA is safely destroyed (should the UA be so equipped) or immediately grounded. Together ER and FT are referred to as emergency recovery and flight termination (ERFT). This paper presents a technology survey of ERFT technologies and procedures as applied toward unmanned aircraft.

Seattle, WA
Additional Information

Copyright © 2009 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

Citation Information
Richard Stansbury, Wesley Tanis and Timothy Wilson. "A Technology Survey of Emergency Recovery and Flight Termination Systems for UAS" (2009)
Available at: