WBK Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)


To guarantee safety of manned aircraft a well-established process exists. This requires a complex structure comprising approved manufacturers, design organisations, training organisations and operators. This process is a very heavy burden for the industry; nevertheless, it is necessary in order to guarantee the safety of manned aircraft flight. The effectiveness of this approach is evident from the industry’s excellent track record.

The topic of safety for unmanned aircraft has been under discussion for several years. The approach cannot be the same as for manned aircraft for many reasons. To complicate the situation, the availability of cheap components and the potential versatility of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have led to the creation of many small manufacturers and operators of UAVs. It is not uncommon that the personnel of these companies do not have any experience of the safety process for manned aircraft.

In this scenario, certification authorities, such as EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), want to establish clear rules that will guarantee the safety of UAV operations. Their intention is that these rules should not prevent the development of new UAV-based applications and that they should not be complex enough to require an extensive aviation background. This effort has led to the creation of the SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment) process. It should be noted that the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has played an instrumental role in this effort.

At a glance

Qualification: Certificate of attendance

Start: on request

Duration: 4 days

Costs: CHF 1,440.00

Location: ZHAW School of Engineering - Technikumstrasse 9 - 8400 Winterthur

Language of instruction: English
The language of instruction is English. The course, and all related material, is prepared in English.

Objectives and content

Target audience

The course addresses a wide audience:


Participants will acquire both knowledge of the theoretical background and the practical experience to effectively address the issues posed by the SORA process.


This modular course is structured over four days, with eight hours of lessons per day.

Day 1

Introduction to UAS operation

Safety in aviation (manned vs. unmanned)

Qualitative and quantitative approach to safety

Bow-Tie model

Day 2

Introduction to SORA

Concept of operation and robustness

Ground risk class and mitigations


Day 3


Introduction to the air risk model

Nominal collision risk and DAA

Off-nominal risk, failures and Air SAIL

Day 4

Case study 1

Case study 2


The continuing education course includes various activities such as lectures supported by practical examples, and days where the concepts discussed are applied to real case studies.


Modular, four eight-hour days.

Enquiries and contact



The lecture team comprises:



The course is intended for all those interested in applying for SORA as part of UAV operation. Therefore, a basic knowledge of UAV operation (and related issues) is required. The course does not require particular mathematical or technical skills, although these may be an advantage.

General terms and conditions


Starting dates and application

Start Application deadline  
on request on request

Downloads and brochure