The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recently published an amendment for United Kingdom Emergency Service teams deploying drones in their operations. As of 31 July 2017, Emergency Service organisations including Police, Fire and Ambulance are exempt from article 94(3) and 95 of the Air Navigation Order 2016.
The exemption only applies to short term reactive situations aimed at preventing the
immediate risk to human life, or during a major incident. When employing this exemption, there are a few regulations the pilot must still adhere to. These include:
- The pilot must fly in accordance with a valid CAA permission to operate the drone issued to a United Kingdom Police, Fire or Ambulance organisation unless the decision to proceed has been granted in reference to the Joint Decision Model (JDM) under the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles.
- The pilot must fly at a height that does not exceed 400 feet above the surface or 100 feet above the highest obstacle in the vicinity of the drone if this is higher, at a distance from the remote pilot station which exceeds the maximum control range of the aircraft, as stated in the operating manual of the organisation.
- The pilot must not fly beyond a distance of 1000 metres from the pilot station without the explicit approval of the On-Scene Incident Commander or beyond 2000 metres without the approval of the Tactical Commander assigned to the incident.
Details on the execution of this exemption, and the individual procedures and training requirements, including the risk management process that will enable a reduction of separation distances, must be incorporated into the organisation’s operations manual.
With this exemption, Emergency Service teams will have more autonomy for using drones in their life saving missions. Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) training and procedures will be crucial for teams employing this exemption specifically with extended distances. Consortiq’s Emergency6 training course is set apart by Consortiq’s accurate understanding of the needs of drones in Emergency Services and the ability to provide not only the training but utilising Consortiq’s management system, CQNet to support the safety management required to plan and operate in these situations. We can help your Emergency Service organisation learn the proper techniques and procedures for operating a drone in life saving missions.
You can view the full notice from the CAA here.