Johnson-Laird Inc.

sUAS/RPA/Drone Forensic Analysis.


A rose by any other name....well, specifically an unmanned aircraft. In the USA and Canada they are known as small unmanned airborne systems (if you include the ground controller) or sUAV, small unmanned airborne vehicles if you refer to the part that flies. However, in Europe they are known as remotely piloted vehicles, RPA or sRPA for small RPA.


The intent is not to confuse, but the result is, nevertheless, confusing.

Freefly Systems ALTA 8 with unique "skyview" top mounting camera.

Image courtesy

Welcome to the New JLI


As of September 1, 2017, JLI's general forensic software analysis and technical due diligence consulting divisions will be handled by JurisLogic LLC. This new organization is under the management of two veterans of JLI, Barb Frederiksen and Marc Visnick -- both of whom have decades of experience with JLI.


As of September 1, 2017, JLI will focus on the newly emerging branch of forensics: small unmanned aircraft or, if you must, "drones." In addition JLI will perform research and development of a new breed of documentation -- you can read more about that at


Since 2012, Andy Johnson-Laird has been entirely focused on developing expertise in this area, working with the standards organization, the ASTM to develop standards in collaboration with the FAA to form the new Federal Aviation Regulations. Andy was the lead author of the ASTM standard for commercial flight operations over people, co-author for the standard for pilot knowledge, and a task group member for the standard for extended and beyond visual line of sight operations.


He has extensive experience with aviation, holding a manned pilots license for light aircraft, sailplanes, and self-launching sailplanes in the UK and the USA. He flies both multi-rotor and fixed wing unmanned aircraft in the USA and since 2012 the lead forum administrator on the Freefly Systems' forum, advising movie and TV professionals who fly the ALTA multi-rotor helicopters with MōVI stabilized camera gimbals.

Drone Forensics?


It's not entirely obvious, but today's unmanned aircraft are, electronically speaking, a group of single chip microcomputers flying in close formation. Many of these computers talk to each other and collectively create and record a vast swath of computer-based evidence as the aircraft flies. Some of this evidence is recorded on the aircraft, and some is downlinked to the remote controller on the ground.


Careful analysis of this evidence can be particularly relevant in the case of mishaps (as accidents are called in aviation terms), or acts of alleged malfeasance.


This analysis can answer many of of the questions that arise -- was the cause of the mishap pilot error or equipment failure? Where was the aircraft at a specific moment in time -- did it really fly so low as to peer into someone's living room or over-fly someone's private property?


And that's where JLI's forensic software analysis skills come into play to answer those questions.

Ubiquitous and Infamous

The DJI Phantom 2

Several reckless pilots have flown it without regard to the safety of manned aviation or people on the ground. It appears that it never occurs to these pilots that they share the sky with manned aircraft, first responders, fire fighters, or that these sUAV can drop from the sky like a brick.

Copyright © 2017 Johnson-Laird Inc.