JARUS SORA: Simplifying The Process Of Drone Operations In Europe

Published by:Nathanel Apter
JARUS SORA: Simplifying The Process Of Drone Operations In Europe

JARUS SORA is a methodology developed by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking of Unmanned Systems (JARUS), a group of international regulatory authorities that work together to develop common regulations and standards for unmanned systems.

What is the JARUS SORA?

SORA stands for Specific Operations Risk Assessment. The JARUS SORA was developed by authorities as a recommended methodology to ensure safety of drone operations. This methodology is risk based and ensures a target level of safety of 1 fatal accident per million flight hours for people on the ground and 1 mid-air collision per 10 million flight hours.

The SORA risk assessment classifies the operation into 6 risk classes called SAIL (Specific Assurance and Integrity Level). The determination of the risk class takes into account the risks in the air and on the ground as well as mitigation measures as parachutes, low kinetic energy of the drone used or airspace structure and considerations. You find more information on how to find your risk class in our Ultimate guide to determine your SAIL.

After determining the risk score of the operation, the applicant enters the second phase of the JARUS SORA: the compliance part. In this part, the applicant will have to demonstrate compliance to requirements which are proportionate to the risk class.

Writing a SORA risk assessment is a complex endeavour which requires knowledge of airspace, drones technical design, and aviation best practices. We have published an article which allows to avoid the pitfalls when writing a SORA.

SAIL Level as a function of the risk

What are the benefits of the JARUS SORA?

The use of the JARUS SORA framework provides several benefits for drone operators and regulators alike. Firstly, it provides a standardized process for the authorization of drone operations, making it easier for operators to comply with regulations and obtain the necessary approvals. Secondly, it ensures that drone operations are conducted in a safe and responsible manner, reducing the risk of accidents and incidents. Finally, it provides a transparent process for regulators to assess and approve drone operations, giving them the confidence that the operations are being conducted in accordance with the regulations.

JARUS has elaborated some Pre-defined Risk Assessments (PDRA). PDRAs are defined SORAs for some specific use cases and avoid to perform a full SORA analysis. However when using those, one should make sure that the operation falls within the scope of the used PDRA (for instance sparsely populated area below 120 m in uncontrolled airspace). A PDRA eases the risk assessment but still requires applicants to write an Operations Manual and to put together the necessary compliance evidence.  

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has also published standard scenarios. A standard scenario allows to further ease the entire process by declaring compliance to its requirements to the aviation authority without the need for further verification of the Operations Manual and compliance evidence. Therefore less administrative burden but also more responsibility for the operator to understand the requirements and put documents together that are compliant with the standard scenario and can be used on the field.


The JARUS SORA methodology is qualitative and can end up being a very subjective assessment. Different authorities often have also different interpretations of the JARUS SORA methodology and even basic terms as Visual Line of Sight can sometimes be challenging definitions to interpret. In order to make it more straight forward and to harmonize practices among states, JARUS is elaborating a new version of the JARUS SORA method which will be the Version 2.5 of the JARUS SORA (current Version is 2.0).

The JARUS SORA framework is an important development in the regulation of drone operations in Europe, providing a structured process for the assessment and mitigation of risks associated with drone operations. As the use of drones continues to grow in industries such as agriculture, construction, and logistics, frameworks such as the SORA will be essential for ensuring that operations are conducted safely and responsibly. By providing a standardized process for the authorization of drone operations, the JARUS SORA is simplifying the process of drone operations in Europe and provides a framework for the safe and responsible use of drones.

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