As the commercial operation of drones becomes an even more integral part of the wider aviation industry we are looking to regulate drones in the same way we do other areas of aviation. A key area of this being our oversight of approved operators.
Elsewhere in aviation if you're an airline, aircraft maintenance organisation, training school etc you can expect us to visit at periodic intervals. This is part of our oversight of any approved organisation. And we want commercially approved drone operators to be no different. That's why we're starting to conduct similar inspections for PFCO holders.
Naturally people can see this as 'the regulator checking up on them' and obviously that will always be part of what we do. But there are significant benefits for operators as well if we get our oversight right. This is not about 'catching operators out'. This is about working with you to help you address any risks and to comply with the regulations.
We are keen to develop the process and will now arrange visits in advance and give operators the opportunity to feed into what the inspection covers. It's also a chance for you to get time with one of the CAA drone team to discuss wider issues and feed back to us your views and requests.
As we all try to explain to the public the need to use professional and approved operators for commercial work, having evidence that you are inspected by the regulator can be a powerful bit of information to pass on to potential clients.
Eyeup Aerial Solutions was one of the first operators to take part in the process as part of a pre-roll out so we could use their feedback to help shape the process. They've written a blog of their own experience which you can read here. http://eyeup.camera/blogup/
Andy Hamilton, UAS Sector Lead