How can the CAA ensure every pilot is flying safely and legally?

The world of UAVs is rapidly developing, with each week seemingly bringing new advancements, opening doors to exciting innovations and prospects for a wide range of industries. However, while those working with UAVs know the unlimited possibilities and benefits that they bring to a huge variety of applications, public confidence in the technology is continually knocked due to widely reported news stories of avoidable accidents, largely due to uneducated pilots flying in an unsafe manner and breaking air-law.

An example of this was seen this year as a drone flew just 20 metres away from a passenger plane landing at Heathrow airport. While there is now call for more safety to be applied in the sector, any pilot following the regulations set out by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) would not cause such a near miss as drones are not permitted to fly above 400ft or in congested areas. Flying in zones such as airports is also restricted unless granted special permission. To prevent future incidents, the CAA must ensure that every pilot is flying safely and legally in order to safeguard this exciting technology and the potential it holds.

CAA duties
As the UK regulatory body of civil aviation, the CAA must uphold various duties. Its regulations must enable all drone flights to operate in complete safety while also ensuring the safety of all people on the ground. Military, Commercial and Civil Airspace must be secured and it is essential to equip the authority of a supervision system for flights approval, control and statistic means. To achieve this the CAA has published the Air Navigation Order (ANO), a legal document outlining the guidelines that govern safe drone flight.

Lack of consistent knowledge
While there are regulations in place, not all pilots are fully aware of them, lacking in aeronautical culture and finding it difficult to retrieve and interpret aeronautical information. Thorough, extensive drone training from approved academies can help to arm pilots with this knowledge, yet it is the duty of each pilot to ensure they properly understand the regulations before performing any missions.

Secure, informative system
Many private and professional drone pilots will operate in the the industry with various levels of competence and aeronautical understanding, due to the many routes to entry that exist. A secure, central system giving relevant information on one unique platform could help to improve consistency across all drone pilots. It could provide assistance to the preparation of each mission, help it to run smoothly as well as offering a simple but secure means to approve and supervise users.

Such a system does not yet exist, yet as it becomes increasingly clear that a resolution is needed we could soon see a similar solution in the future. Until then, drone training academies must continue to give each candidate thorough teaching that covers these rules to help the industry move forward and operate safely. UAVAir is committed to ensuring each pilot that completes its course is schooled in both the theoretical and practical aspects of UAVs.

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