Writing your Drone Operations Manual Vol 1 & 2 – Important Updates from the CAA

Writing your Drone Operations Manual Vol 1 & 2 – Important Updates from the CAA

Why It’s Crucial to Stay Up to Date with CAA Amendments

Firstly, it’s important to highlight that the Operations Manual is a document for you, not the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). You and/or your employees are the ones who will be applying it to all your future SUA business operations. Therefore, you need to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the document, including keeping up to date with any changes or amendments from the CAA. These may come into play before you’ve even submitted your Ops Manual to the CAA for approval and is something we will explore further in this article.

For those of you already familiar with the Operations Manual, you’ll know it’s not a short process by any means. Whether you’re making the final tweaks, are part-way through writing the document or yet to begin, it’s important that you take note of the information available in this article. It’s not uncommon for new requirements to get drafted in by the CAA after you’ve completed your Ops Manual but are yet to submit it for approval – and that’s where you can get caught out.

But don’t panic, we’re here to help. This article will outline all the most recent updates from the CAA* and provide you with a comprehensive checklist of amendments to action prior to submitting your Operations Manual.

Air Navigation Order 2016

The Air Navigation Order (ANO 2016) was updated to Version 5.3 on 27th March 2018 and you must amend your Operations Manual to reflect this, e.g.

1. In your document control (Referenced Publications section) you must list details of all publications used to source information for your OSC Volume 1, including CAP 393 ANO 2016. You should amend this to reflect the newest revision number 5.3, plus any additional mention throughout Volumes 1 & 2.

ECCAIRS Reporting Process

You must ensure you have mentioned the incident reporting process (ECCAIRS), explained the importance of it and how you would create a report via the ECCAIRS website. You can include a flow chart to show the steps you would take for the reporting process. We suggest amending the following sections in Volume 1 to include the information stated or similar:

2. Add to your Safety Policy e.g.

The company will maintain a record of safety incidents and report any Air Safety matters worth reporting via the ECCAIRS portal www.aviationreporting.eu.

3. Add to Accident Prevents and Flight Safety Program e.g.

The company will maintain a record of safety incidents and report any Air Safety matters via the ECCAIRS portal if appropriate. The Airprox report system will be used if necessary and also the AAIB informed if required.

You should then include a clear table of contact details for the relevant agencies.

Contacting Air Traffic Control

To ensure you are clued up on how and when to contact Air Traffic Control (ATC), you must include if you intend on speaking with the ATC and if so, you should provide an explanation on how you would find the correct contact number and the process involved. This is particularly useful when you are onsite working a commercial job, as you can refer to your Operations Manual for this information.

4. Add to the Communications section in Volume 1 e.g.

In case of contacting Air Traffic Control the NSF and ENSF procedure will be used If required. The NATS AIS website will be used to obtain ATC phone numbers for the use in the case of an emergency using the link below.

ATC Contact Numbers

  • Select IAIP from the menu
  • Select Aerodrome index – Specific from the menu
  • Select Aerodrome name from list
  • Open Aerodrome Textual data

NSF/ENSF Application
The weblink http://www.nats.aero/nsf can be used to obtain more information on NSF/ENSF flight approval, including submitting an application.

5. Add to your Pre-Notification section in Volume 1 e.g.

Aerodrome/ATC contact phone numbers may be found by using the below weblink and following the 4 Steps below This information will want to be to hand on the day of operation.

ATC Contact Numbers

  • Select IAIP from the menu
  • Select Aerodrome index – Specific from the menu
  • Select Aerodrome name from list
  • Open Aerodrome Textual data

Pilot in Command (PiC)

6. In addition to the Accountable Manager, the Pilot must be named in Volume 1 under Nominated Personnel.

The nominated personnel are scalable as appropriate, e.g. Accountable Manager, Operations Manager, Technical Manager, Chief Pilot, Other Pilots. These are not official posts in the sense of an organisation applying for an Air Operating Certificate (e.g. an Airline) and multiple functions may be filled by the same person. Each function must however be covered in brief and any internal audit/quality function must be fulfilled by a separate person, e.g. camera operator.

We suggest including a table detailing the full name and role of each nominated personnel. Note that the Accountable Manager and Pilot can be the same person and must be detailed as individual nominated personnel in the table.

Document Formatting

Operations Manuals must be supplied to us in PDF format, not Word for marking and for submission to the CAA.

This is so that your document is secure, legible and easy to navigate, to ensure the review process is able to be conducted efficiently.

Unfortunately, any Ops Manuals received in word format will be sent back before review commences – thank you in advance.

Further Information

If you require any additional information on how to write your Operations Manual, you can refer to the Civil Aviation Authority website or 01293 768374. Existing UDT customers can contact our friendly team on 0330 111 8800 (option 2) or email info@upliftdronetraining.com.

*All requirements outlined in this article are current at the time of publishing. It is the Operators responsibility to ensure they are aware of all updates from the CAA and to maintain their Operations Manual within the current regulatory framework. To receive the most up-to-date information, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority.

To learn more about gaining your drone pilot’s CAA Permission for Commercial Operations, now’s the time to speak with our expert training team. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!

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