ASTM International's Technical Committee F-38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems is preparing to release what it terms a guide to "demystifying" the US Federal Aviation Administration's experimental certification application process for non-traditional unmanned air vehicle and aerospace developers seeking to enter the industry.

The "Guide for suggested procedures for applying for a special certificate of air worthiness experimental - UAS or a type certificate for an unmanned aircraft system" is in draft form and is expected to be ratified by the standards body in the near term.

James Jewell, vice-chairman of the committee, says the guide aims to "make some sense of out of the certification process for the 'Home Depot' kind of unmanned air system manufacturer that does not have 10 aerospace engineers fully conversant in regulation and certification".

A former regulator from Transport Canada wrote the draft. "It is really intended for folks that are building up small model system like UAS and intending to fly them how to speak to the FAA in language that the FAA understands and in a format that they understand. Some of the things that I have heard that have been submitted are really quite unprofessional."

Jewell says the new guide forms part of a suite of draft standards being developed by ASTM for mini-UAVs, with these categories expected to dominate growth in commercial market applications in the near term.

These include a guide to terminology and a soon-to-be-released guide to standard practices for within-visual-range UAV flight operations.

The full suite is intended to help "anyone that is looking to get flight authority to fly small UAS, in other words 50lb [23kg], or maybe a little higher, but as long as they are remote control and flown within visual range this suite of standards should help you document the programme layers and gravitations for certificates of authorisation. We are very close to publishing the entire portfolio."