Safety test proposal for drone users

The BBC has reported 'Anyone who buys a drone in future in the UK may have to register it and take a safety test'

CDT has found out this may be the outcome of a new government consultation on strict uav safety rules.

Also there may be tougher fines / penalties for anyone who flies a drone / UAV in a no-fly zone, with the possibility of being charged with a criminal offence of misuse of a drone.

Drone use has become huge in the past few years, with drones / UAV available in high street shops.

The government says drones have massive economic potential and are already being used by everyone from the emergency services, marine, survey, conservation groups, energy companies and transport firms.

The Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad, said while the vast majority of drone users were law-abiding, "some are not aware of the rules or choose to break them putting public safety, privacy and security at risk".

Drone UAV UAS Night Rating Overview

Drone UAV UAS Night Rating Overview

A night rating is a perfect way to increase revenue over the winter months, CDT are offering a full day of training and night test for £149.  See timetable and course overview below.   If you fancy getting here the night before and doing some group night practice in our 92 acre estate with one of our instructors, accommodation and breakfast is available from £20 per night. 

Commercial Drone UAV Training in Aberdeen - Scotland

Commercial Drone Training in Scotland

Commercial Drone Training Ltd and Cabro Aviation Ltd have announced that courses are being run in Aberdeen to provide commercial drone uav pilot flight training, ground school and testing for unmanned aircraft operation, commonly known as drones.  The course will report back to the Civil Aviation Authority that students who pass the three day course have demonstrated the capability and to operate unmanned aircraft of under 20kg.

The Civil Aviation Authority have published guidance on operating drones, and providing such approved courses contribute to airspace and the public’s safety by ensuring they are flown by competent pilots.

CDT are a CAA approved training provider based in Devon ad Cabro Aviation are a flight training facility based at Aberdeen International Airport.   

Drones are being used for a wide range of commercial activities such as oil rig, power line and structural surveys, to commercial photography and video production. With the increase in demand for such work, the requirement for competent pilots will be in demand.

 

 

Drone Insurance

Insuring unmanned aircraft systems is going to be complicated By: 

An unmanned aircraft flies over a raging forest fire, alerting firefighters to where the blaze is most dangerous; another hovers over a construction site conducting a building inspection; and a third sweeps through a neighborhood taking photographs that showcase the exterior and interior of a home listed for sale.

While this may sound like some sci-fi movie scene set in the future — it’s not. The use of flying robotics in the form of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, is not only happening now, its commercial growth is predicted to significantly increase over the next 10 years.

However, in implementing these new UAS-related business opportunities, a multitude of insurance liability and coverage issues must be addressed, ranging from personal injury and invasion of privacy to aerial surveillance and data collection.

http://www.riskandinsurance.com/rise-drones/

 

South Korea fires warning shots at 'N Korea drone' over DMZ

South Korean soldiers have fired warning shots at a suspected North Korean drone flown across the heavily fortified border.

Yonhap news agency cited officials saying that soldiers fired about 20 rounds before the craft turned back.

Earlier, South Korea's president urged China to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea, following its apparent nuclear test.

Pyongyang claims it has tested a hydrogen bomb.

That claim is doubted by experts, who say the blast, though probably nuclear, was not big enough to have been a thermonuclear explosion.

Drone Training South West

CDT carry out 3 days of drone training & testing in one residential setting enabling us to report to the CAA that a student has demonstrated the capability to operate safely such aircraft within the under 20kg (small class), and that the student meets the three critical elements* that comprise acceptable evidence of pilot competency.

 * The three critical elements are the successful completion of:

                - Ground School & General Airmanship Theory Examination               

                - Practical Flight Assessment

                - Operations Manual Approval (to CAP 722 Template)

The above elements can be completed in 3 days in our rural residential training school near Exeter.

CDT enhance pilot safety by offering 2 days of practical training elements (not compulsory) into the training course on day 4 and 5, based on real world scenarios including planning, setting up and undertaking two full drone operations during the course.  

During practical exercises one of the team will take high quality photographs of you operating in your corporate clothing for you to use on your website (examples are shown throughout this website).

The outline course timetable is shown below.  The coloured boxes show the minimum course attendance to leave with the documentation to apply to the CAA for your licence.  In the evenings we actively encourage you to socialise with us and your fellow students, the course staff will dine with you in our on-site bistro and stay on site.  An instructor will be available every evening until 11pm in the library to answer queries etc.

Evaluating Operational Factors For SUA Flights Within Congested Areas

In order to fly a SUA in a congested area, SUA operators must establish safety and operational control measures that prevent the SUA from endangering the general public. Operators are advised to ensure that their existing risk assessment and operating procedures address the enhanced measures required for congested areas.

The procedures should address all relevant aspects of the congested areas they intend to operate within, taking into account any special circumstances or local conditions. Such measures may include but not be limited to:

Segregation. Segregating the activities from public interference by placing physical barriers and cordons, or using other built/natural features that effectively separate the SUA operation from the general public.

Crowd control. Marshalling or other active crowd control measures that restrict access to the area within which the SUA is operating.

Utilisation of other agencies. Liaising with the Police, local authorities and other controlling agencies/organisation to gain official road closures, traffic cessation or site access restrictions.

Note: These measures should ideally be proportionate to the risk posed by the SUA, bearing in mind the limited flight times and size and weight of the aircraft. Temporary restrictions may suffice in some cases. Restrictions that would be suitable for a full-size aircraft such as a helicopter in most cases would not be applicable to a SUA.

Wind and turbulence. Taking account of changes of wind strength and direction at varying heights above the surface. Windshear, ‘rotor’ and ‘curl-over’ effects may be present at any point on the planned flight path caused by interactions between buildings and strong winds or when transitioning from flight over a land to a water surface.

Radio Frequency (RF) interference. Pilots should take account of the possible reduction in operating range in an urban environment due to the heavy use of communications (mobile telephone, WiFi etc.) equipment and other sources of electromagnetic spectrum/RF interference. Mitigation for the consequences of weak or lost GPS signal due to masking by buildings should be considered along with the general RF saturation level. The use of a spectrum analyser is recommended to assist in assessing the level of local electromagnetic and RF congestion in the 2.4 GHz or 35 MHz frequency range.

Emergency procedures. SUA emergency procedures planned to be implemented during controller/transmitter/loss of GPS guidance failure modes should be able to be put into effect without breaching the minimum separation distances or flying directly overhead persons/vehicles. An automatic ‘Return-to-Base’ feature should not cause a hazard to anyone off the nominal flight path; this may limit the SUA to mainly vertical flight paths directly above the launch point.

Test flights. It is desirable to conduct limited test flights (hover controllability check) and other systems tests at the launch point before committing to the full flight profile. The integration and correct set-up of the camera and gimballed-mount should also be checked at this time to avoid unnecessary calibration flights.

The procedures and limitations on the use of the SUA that will be used to establish these control measures should be stated in the SUA operators’ operations manual.

 

 

Small Unmanned Aircraft: Congested Areas Operating Safety Case (CAOSC)

CAOSCvmeans Congested Areas Operations Safety Case. Its an assessment that considers all elements of the comapanies drone operations in congested areas (including airworthiness).

All CAOSC assessments will be conducted by the CAA.

The CAA make it clear that the CAOSC does not replace the requirement to hold an Operations Manual and any significant changes to the Company’s CAOSC will require further assessment.

Also, operators should ensure that any changes to their Operations Manual do not significantly affect the CAOSC.

Where changes to equipment, company policy or operating environment (within the period of a current permission) significantly affect the CAOSC, a new application for reassessment must be made.

Article 167 - Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft

Article 167

  1. The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the aircraft in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA. 
  2. The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are: 

    a)over or within 150 metres of any congested area;

    b)over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;

    c)within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft; or

    d)subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.

  3. Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.  
  4. Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft. 
  5. In this article ‘a small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ means a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

Article 166 – Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA)

These articles are the basic rules / regulations issued by the CAA which will be issued as part of your Permissions for Aerial Work

Article 166

  1. A person shall not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small aircraft so as to endanger persons or property. 
  2. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made. 
  3. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions. 
  4. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7 kg excluding its fuel but including any articles installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly such an aircraft: 

    a)in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffic control unit has been obtained;

    b)within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any  such air traffic control unit has been obtained; or

    c)at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) above and in accordance with the requirements for that airspace.

  5. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly such an aircraft for the purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

Drone jammers to guard top events

SOPHISTICATED drone-jamming technology is to be deployed at major public and sporting events in the UK following a successful trial at last month’s Remembrance Sunday parade.

In the first example of such technology being used to police a public event in the UK, a radar device was installed on the roof of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan police, close to Whitehall, where the commemoration took place.

The equipment, made by a consortium of British firms and a more advanced version of the kit used by some celebrities to protect their privacy, is capable of detecting, tracking and disrupting the controls of any rogue drones flown remotely by terrorists as airborne weapons.

Unmanned aircraft project leads push to civilian drones

The "Pandora's box" of unmanned aircraft in the UK has been opened, according to the Astraea consortium.

Yet many technology and ethics issues surrounding civilian drones are yet to be solved, journalists at London's Science Media Centre were told.

The UK-led, £62m Astraea project - which has participation of the UK Civil Aviation Authority - is attempting to tackle all facets of the idea.

Later in November, they will carry out a crucial collision-avoidance test.

Unmanned aircraft or UAs is something of a new name for drones, which have gained notoriety principally in the theatre of war where remotely operated aircraft are used for surveillance or air strikes.

But the same technology put to use for civilian purposes is already a hot topic of debate in the UK and abroad, most recently surrounding their use by London's Metropolitan Police.

It's not just the technology, we're trying to think about the social impact of this

Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, Astraea project director

A recent report by the UK's Aerospace, Aviation and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) found that applications for unmanned aircraft are said to be worth some £260bn - replacing costly or dangerous work done by manned planes, or opening up new applications that are currently out of reach.

Crop or wildlife stock monitoring, search and rescue, and check-ups on railway lines are some of the envisioned uses of UAs.

"All these things are currently done by manned aircraft, and they're done in currently quite hazardous environments," said Ruth Mallors, director of the Aerospace KTN.

"We want to use unmanned aircraft in these applications, but to be able to do that we have to demonstrate that were complying with the Civil Aviation Authority regulations, which are for manned aircraft.

"There's not going to be any new regulations - we'll comply with the regulations in place."

That is what brings about the technological challenge. The project involves sensors to be the "eyes" of a UA, the software to carry out manoeuvres and collision avoidance, and the aircraft themselves.

Points of debate

Plans for UAs envision that a pilot will always be on the ground controlling them, but they must have on-board technology that can perform in an emergency - in the eyes of aviation law - as well as a pilot.

"These things are going to have a level of self-determinism, particularly if you ever lose the communication link with the ground control," said Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, Astraea project director. "They've got to be able to operate fully safely and take the right decisions.

Drones and the UK

Image captionUAs will be free from constraints of size and shape that human pilots bring about

  • It is legal to fly your own drone in the UK without any special permission if it weighs less than 20kg and flies more than 150m from a congested area
  • CAA permission is required if it is used for a commercial activity such as aerial photography
  • Permission has been given for inspecting power lines, police use and crop surveillance
  • Direct visual contact with the drone is currently required at all times
  • Drones larger than 20kg would have to be approved for use by the CAA for use in UK airspace in the same way as commercial aircraft
  • The CAA has made clear that it will not approve their use until it is convinced the drone can automatically "sense and avoid" other aircraft

"But we're not talking about unthinking drones, we're not talking about irrational and unpredictable behaviour, and we're not talking about something that gets itself up in the morning, goes off and does its own things and comes home without any human oversight."

The project has the participation of major contractors including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Thales UK. But they are also working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority, who will ultimately control the licensing for UAs when they pass stringent safety tests.

Gary Clayton, head of research and technology for EADS Cassidian, another project partner, said theCAA's publication CAP722 is being held up internationally as a template for aviation legislation around UAs.

But Mr Dopping-Hepenstal said the project is aiming much further than the technology and safety legislation.

"What this programme is trying to do is look at this holistically," he said. "It's not just the technology, we're trying to think about the social impact of this and the ethical and legal things associated with it. You've got to solve all this lot if you're going to make it happen, enable it to happen affordably."

Chris Elliott, an aerospace engineer and barrister, is acting as consultant to the project. He told reporters that the licensing and privacy questions were points "to debate, not to pontificate".

"We have a very robust privacy regime now for aviation, and I don't see much very different. A lot of it comes down to what society thinks is acceptable," he said.

"I find it interesting that Google has got away with its [Streetview] because we love Google and we all use it. If this technology positioned to something that is good for us, that we like, then people will accept that kind of behaviour.

"Pandora's box is open - these things are going to fly. What we need is to engage everybody, the public and the specialists, with understanding the good and bad sides."

For now, though, safety is paramount. The Astraea project will carry out real-world collision-avoidance tests using three planes in two weeks' time, putting their autonomous control software through its paces and ensuring that unmanned aircraft can independently avoid a crash.

Let’s un-man the stereotype

By Gina Velde

Automated aerial mapping has transformed the way we survey large, inaccessible areas, yet the term ‘unmanned’ appears to reinforce outdated gender stereotypes all too common in both the aviation and geospatial industries. And as hobbyist and low quality systems with their associated safety concerns are becoming commonplace, the term falls short of an accurate description that reflects the huge safety benefits this technology brings to the mining, construction and surveying industries.

Aviation is one of the most gender stereotyped industries in the world, with men making up the vast majority of airline executives and pilots, women the flight attendants and booking receptionists. A recent campaign by Virgin Australia to put ‘the romance back’ in flying seemed to reinforce these stereotypes, with male pilots flanked by glamorous female flight attendants and a call back to the ‘good old days’ of flying. Sure, they have the odd token woman pilot in their adverts, but in the main male pilots lead the flock of pretty, red-lipsticked cabin crew. And that’s not to single out Virgin Australia as an exception, almost all airline websites feature similar images.

The geospatial industry stereotypes may not be quite as glamorous, but the roles are still neatly defined: men predominate in the board rooms and out in the field, women in receptionist, marketing and accounting roles.

 

When automated aerial mapping was introduced to the geospatial industry in 2011, the two industries crossed paths for the first time. Yet despite the groundbreaking technology that has revolutionised the way we survey large areas or monitor and inspect hard to reach structures, the accepted industry terms use gender-stereotyped language that is all too common in both industries.

‘Unmanned Aerial Systems’ or UAS has become the widely used term to describe either fixed wing or multi-rotor solutions for a range of different industries. It may seem a perfectly adequate description and it has the advantage of differentiating these industry-specific solutions from the more generic term ‘drone’ with all its negative connotations to do with war and espionage.

You may also think the word ‘unmanned’ is harmless given its route in the word ‘mankind’ (and so far there’s been no push to change this to ‘peoplekind’), yet the Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘not having or needing a crew or staff’ is technically incorrect when it comes to describing these systems, as they require a certified pilot on the ground to control them.

When looking for alternatives that would enable us to keep the UAS or UAV acronym that has become widely accepted as an industry term, it seems that all the variations fall short. ‘Unattended’ suggests the aircraft is left to its own devices, ‘uninhabited’ suggests unchartered landscapes and hardly rolls off the tongue, ‘unpiloted’ is better but ignores the fact that there is a certified pilot on the ground who went through rigorous training and is in control at all times. ‘Unoccupied’ is perhaps the most technically correct option and provides a gender inclusive alternative if we are to keep the acronym.

We are doing the technology a disservice by not reinforcing its safety benefits and supporting gender neutrality in our language.

Pushing for gender equality is highly topical, given recent campaigns by major Australian companies such as ANZ bank to create an ‘equal future’ for the next generation. In an emotive video whereby young girls read out statistics such as “women make up 40% of the world’s workforce, yet control only a ¼ of the world’s wealth,” the campaign states that although girls learn to read and talk faster than boys, “the system’s not designed for women to succeed.”