Use the following checklist to evaluate a launch site. If the required minimum capabilities of a site can't be met for any single category, then the site likely isn't viable. Apply considerable scrutiny before proceeding with a launch site that has one or more zero ratings in the categories below.
NOTE: Emergency sites generally do not require all the features of a launch site. Use the guidelines below to help evaluate whether an emergency site will work, but as a rule you likely won't need to meet the same requirements.
Add up the point value for each category and use the following scoring as a guide:
- Minimum Score: 6 - 8
- Adequate Score: 9 - 12
- Ideal Score: 13 - 16
- Not viable - 0 points: Site is within or immediately adjacent to controlled airspace, near power lines or other strong RF interference, or otherwise dominated by tall obstacles.
- Adequate - 1 point: Some physical obstacles nearby.
- Ideal - 2 points: Generally has 360 degrees of clear airspace around the site.
- Not viable - 0 points: Unreliable network connectivity and/or strong RF interference in the area surrounding the launch point.
- Adequate - 1 point: Connectivity is stable, but slow.
- Ideal - 2 points: Clear connectivity with a stable connection.
- Not viable - 0 points: No power at site.
- Adequate - 1 point: Minimum number of outlets for laptop and charging of batteries and other equipment, long distances from outlets to where RPIC will be set up.
- Ideal - 2 points: Sufficient power and easy access, all-weather (GFCI) outlets.
Line of Sight
- Not viable - 0 points: Launch pad is surrounded by elevated obstructions or other obstacles that interfere with RF connection or clear visual observation of the drone.
- Adequate - 1 point: Some visual obstructions or limited distances.
- Ideal - 2 points: Site is clear of visual obstructions.
- Not viable - 0 points: Physical access is difficult or dangerous, access to the site is unfettered.
- Adequate - 1 point: Site can be accessed with some acceptable risk to equipment or personnel, site security is sufficient but not without risk of non-staff getting access.
- Ideal - 2 points: Site can be easily accessed and secured.
- Not viable - 0 points: No secure storage available on or sufficiently near the site.
- Adequate - 1 point: Minimal storage is available, storage access is limited, and/or storage cannot be adequately secured.
- Ideal - 2 points: Sufficient storage that can be readily accessed and secured.
- Not viable - 0 points: No shelter from the elements (wind, weather, excessive sun/heat) is available or possible.
- Adequate - 1 point: Limited shelter is available, occasional risk from the elements that might preclude setting up shelter. Temporary shelter might be the only viable option.
- Ideal - 2 points: Permanent shelter from the elements is available.
- Not viable - 0 points: Site is not located near areas that are likely to have operational activity.
- Adequate - 1 point: Site is some distance from likely operational areas, limiting duration of drone at an event.
- Ideal - 2 points: Site is near common operational areas.