Commercial Drone Use
September 15, 2016
While hobbyists have been using unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, for some time, companies are just starting to adapt the technology for their own uses. Small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS), also known as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), have rapidly become more common in companies’ commercial efforts. However, while drones may present your company with new business opportunities, the technology introduces new risks. And, in response, legislators and insurers are working to keep up with the burgeoning technology and its associated risks.
Despite the fact that drones are readily available, employing them for commercial use is not as simple as just buying one off the shelf. In order to receive the full benefits of utilising drones and to protect your company’s investment, it is critical to understand the risks associated with commercial drone operations.
Complying with Regulations
Before your company can begin using a drone for commercial use, you must first receive permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). To receive permission, your company’s drone pilot(s) must possess at least a basic understanding of the applicable aircraft pilot regulations, which should include the Air Navigation Order (ANO) and the Rules of the Air Regulations.
Under Article 166 of the ANO, when operating a drone, a pilot should adhere to the following rules:
If your company’s drone is equipped with a camera, it must also adhere to Article 167 of the ANO, which includes additional rules. These rules state that a drone must not be flown:
However, there are two exceptions to piloting a drone beyond the normal, unaided line of sight:
If your drone weighs less than 3.5 kilograms and is compliant with Articles 166 and 167, the drone pilot using FBV would not need to maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft as long as the pilot