A UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)-approved operations manual for safe deployment of lightweight drones in research
International Journal of Remote Sensing
Taylor and Francis
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The academic literature of late is rich with examples of lightweight drones being used to capture data to support scientific research. Drone science is a blossoming field, but alongside a long-standing public concern about drone safety, the research community and our collaborators are increasingly calling for a ‘code of best practice’ for researchers who fly drones (no matter how small). Researchers who have long enjoyed the freedom of operating separately from ‘hobbyist’ and ‘commercial’ operators are now finding that their institutions and collaborators are demanding evidence of operational competence. In the UK, such competence can be formally accredited by obtaining a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ‘permission for aerial work’ (PfAW). Part of this process requires that the operators produce an ‘operations manual’ (OM) – a lengthy document explaining protocols for safe drone deployment, alongside maintenance and flight records. This article provides the frontispiece to an OM produced as part of a successful PfAW accreditation process. We share our OM, which is available as supplemental material to this article, in the spirit of research as a collaborative endeavour, with the aim that it will assist others facing the same stringent checks as ourselves, whilst also serving as a guide to safe flying that can be adapted and adopted by others
This research was supported by a NERC PhD studentship (NE/K500902/1) awarded to AMC.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.