Our Pilots have their 107 airman certificates from the FAA. And our ongoing Drone safety program for all team members make us safer and more economical!
Our pilots prove their proficiency in flying their drones.
All drone parts and control systems are checked daily to be in top flight working order
Use of only approved models of drones and control systems with proven safety records
No flying over or near live public rights-of-way
Flights must stay below 400 feet and away from airports
No flying over or near people
No flying over property without permission
Full liability insurance coverage
Best Practices for Drone Safety Programs
The use of aerial drones is becoming more widespread, with applications from commercial deliveries to emergency response operations. As such, it is important that businesses establish a set of best practices for drone safety programs. A comprehensive drone safety program should be customized to your company’s specific needs and mission objectives, but should include the following core elements:
1. Policies and Procedures Development: Developing clear and comprehensive policies surrounding the activities and decisions related to the safe operation of drones is paramount. Establishing specific procedures detailing how an organization will comply with these policies should also be included in this element.
2. Risk Management Processes: Organizations should regularly review their operations, as well as market changes that could affect their drone safety program effectiveness. Remote pilots should maintain an understanding of risk management principles to assist in establishing safe flight conditions in line with legislation in order to minimize any potential risks or liabilities associated with operating a drone safely.
3. Training Program: Educating personnel on drone technology, flight operations, risk management processes and legal requirements is essential for any successful drone safety program. This training program could incorporate virtual simulations or actual in-aircraft experience depending on how heavily involved employees will be directly flying the drones (or managing other personnel engaged in such activities).
4. Periodic Reviews: Regularly testing employees’ knowledge and ability to meet operational expectations will ensure that personnel are up-to-date on current regulations pertaining to expanded societal use of drones throughout many different industries as well as new technological advancements associated with them.
These four core elements make up a strong foundation upon which organizations can build their own customized safety programs; however it’s likely that additional protocols or processes would need adjustment depending on individual mission objectives, locations or other factors unique to each company’s operations specifically utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Understanding Drone Regulations
Understanding the different regulations surrounding drone use is an important first step in creating an effective drone safety program. To ensure that operators are operating their drones safely, they need to be aware of the laws and regulations for their area. Local laws may differ from state or federal laws depending on where the drone is being operated.
At the federal level, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA has established certain rules and guidelines for operating a drone. For example, at least one pilot must have FCC certification to operate a UAS and all drones must be registered with the FAA if they weigh between .55 and 55 pounds, including any payloads such as cameras. Additionally, all drones must remain within visual line-of-sight at all times and cannot interfere with other aircrafts in any way. Operators should also be aware of restricted airspace around airports or other locations.
Some localities may also have their own rules in place specific to drones within their borders. These local regulations typically require additional license or permits to operate a UAS within city boundaries, while others require reporting of drone flights that take place close together or fly far away from home base operations. It’s important to check your local municipality to find out what you need before you begin flying your drone so you can follow all rules and regulations specific to your area as well as any of the safety protocols established by your organization’s unique safety program.
Establishing Drone Safety Protocols
As the use of drones continues to increase in both private and commercial settings, establishing effective safety measures is essential in order to protect both people and property. Implementing recommended drone safety protocols can help to ensure that operators are able to safely and effectively manage their drones and prevent dangerous accidents.
When designing a drone safety program, it is important for organizations to consider the unique risks associated with remote operations as well as strategies for mitigating these risks. Organizations should determine appropriate workflows, standards, regulations, protocols, and policies as a basis for their safety programs.
The following are some best practices for setting up drone safety protocols within an organization:
- Develop an operational manual containing instructions on how to properly operate drones;
- Create regulations outlining when and where flying is allowed;
- Develop an airspace management plan that includes details about the airspace surrounding the organization’s operating area;
- Require pilots and operators to undergo training on proper operation procedures;
- Establish protocols for consistent communication between pilots, ground personnel, air traffic control personnel, other aircraft operators;
- Implement quality assurance processes designed to ensure safety compliance with regulations.
- Provide regular equipment reviews; while also continuing operator education on new technologies or industry updates.
Training Drone Operators
Prior to allowing any operator to use a drone, a comprehensive training program should be in place. The initial training should cover the regulations governing the operation of drones, as well as practical techniques for a safe operation. Training should also cover physical and environmental conditions surrounding the operation of a drone, including weather conditions, possible hazards, and identification of airspace boundaries. Operators should also be familiarized with their area’s airspace regulations and know when they need to contact Air Traffic Control (ATC) before flying their drone. Knowing these rules will ensure your drone operations are conducted safely and securely.
In addition to initial training courses, organizations should implement periodic refresher courses. Such courses will help ensure that operators stay up to date on operational changes due to new regulations or other relevant updates in technology or processes that may affect operations. Refresher courses can also increase proficiency which is essential for safe operations.
It is important for employers to keep records of all operator certifications and qualifications including date trained/last refreshed, results of every type of competency check, and an updated status log indicating if an operator passed/failed recertification tests or any other important information related directly to their authorization level(s). This data is critical for accident management; if there was an issue with the conduct of one of your operators while they were flying your drone the accurate record keeping can help point out any deficiencies in your training program which could otherwise harm your organization’s reputation or worse – result in legal action taken against you.
Implementing Risk Management Strategies
The use of drones in the workplace presents certain risks. In order to minimize these risks, it is critical that employers implement effective risk management strategies. These strategies should include systematic procedures, policies, and practices designed to identify, assess, and control the risk associated with drone operations.
When establishing a program for drone safety and risk management, employers should consider the following considerations: assessing the organization’s capability in handling drone operations; developing emergency response plans; ensuring employee training is up-to-date and compliant with relevant regulations; testing for compliance with safety standards and regulations; selecting pilots with appropriate skills and experience; requiring documented flight logs or operational records; assessing operational parameters such as flight height, radius from airspace at airports or other restricted areas, weather conditions or any other risks identified in advance of each mission; creating comprehensive maintenance plans for drones and related equipment; instituting safety audits on a regular basis to monitor how existing systems are functioning in practice.
By implementing risk assessment strategies detailed above organizations can help reduce the chance that an incident involving drones may occur. A successful program begins with fully understanding all risks associated with using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), then putting appropriate measures in place to reduce these risks while still making sure that organizations realize all the business benefits of using UAVs.
Ensuring Compliance with Local Laws
When implementing a drone safety program it is essential to understand the local laws, regulations and ordinances that apply to drone usage. It is paramount for businesses to ensure compliance with these laws, as failure to adhere to local requirements can result in significant financial penalties.
Researching state and local laws regarding drones should be the first step in any drone safety program. Businesses should become familiar with the rules and regulations regarding airspace, permission process for commercial or recreational flights, pilot certification requirements, weight limits applicable to air carriers and any other relevant legislation.
Additionally, businesses are encouraged to develop policies that go beyond what is required by state and local law. Having clear guidelines that are specific to employees’ role when flying drones can drastically reduce the risk of noncompliance with legal standards and potential accidents. These policies might include protocols on data privacy or rules about the weight of payloads those flying can carry.
In order for a drone safety program to be successful, organizations should also consider investing in training for their staff members that will work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This training should cover basic safety procedures such as never flying drones over people or congested areas, as well as piloting techniques such as how different weather conditions affect operation and construction of flight plans based on both federal and local rules.
Creating a Safety Culture
With the rise of drones in the aviation industry, it is critical that organizations create a safety culture to ensure their operations maintain the highest level of safety. Creating a successful safety culture requires more than just having a drone policy, but also fostering an environment in which employees feel open and safe to discuss safety issues.
Organizations need to develop strategies that engage everyone involved with their drone operations. Leaders must ensure their workforce is empowered to make decisions on how best to maintain safe operations, rather than using a top-down approach where managers take responsibility for safety. This can be accomplished by creating accountability for all personnel on matters related to aviation safety, as well as encouraging honest feedback from workers regarding any issues they face pertaining to flight operations. Through measures like effective training and continuous communication across all levels of an organization’s structure, leaders can create an environment where employees take active responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
Creating a safe organizational culture not only benefits personnel but fuels success in all aspects of business operations, from improved customer service to economic growth. Organizations should use best practices like these when developing a drone program and providing continued guidance in order foster an effective aviation-safety culture.
In conclusion, effective drone safety programs require attention to a number of variables. Drone operators should be well-versed in all applicable local and federal regulations and should have pre-flight checklists that they follow religiously. Additionally, the establishment of no-fly zones around sensitive areas such as airports and large venues will be paramount to ensuring the safety of all air traffic.
Finally, drone operators need to remain mindful of situational awareness. Knowing not only where you are flying but also who else may be sharing the airspace is crucial for safe operation. With the combination of knowledge, preparation, and awareness all operators can help promote improved safety for everyone on the ground!
Robert Haller, Drone Specialist