BVLOS New Zealand (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) – Part 102
To enable drone operations outside of the Part 101 regulations in New Zealand, including operating Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), drone operators are required to hold an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate (UAOC) granted by the NZ CAA under Part 102.
The Part 102 application process can take several months and involves identifying a ‘Prime Person’, conducting a safety case, preparing an exposition (operations manual), and managing the application with the CAA. There may also be a requirement for flight or equipment assessments to be conducted, and additional training and qualifications to be obtained.
Understanding the Part 102 application process for BVLOS operations, or other complex operations, will ensure the quality and completeness of your application and prevent further delays in obtaining your UAOC.
The Part 102 Application Process – BVLOS New Zealand
The first part of the 102 process is to prepare all the relevant information required for the drafting of your Part 102 exposition, compiling the application form, and identifying someone as the ‘Prime Person’. For BVLOS operations, a safety case will be a key part of gaining Part 102 approval.
Concept of Operations
The easiest way to prepare all the relevant information required for the submission and drafting of your Part 102 exposition and application forms is to develop a ConOps (Concept of Operations) that clearly outlines what you’re attempting to do, where you want to do it, what you’re attempting to do it with and how you plan on doing it safely.
The ‘Prime Person’ holds responsibility for the exceptions issued by the CAA under Part 102. This person will need to gather identity and other documents including criminal conviction and traffic history reports to complete the fit and proper person application form. Additionally, they will be required to undertake an interview with the CAA to determine whether they have the knowledge and experience for the role. Undertaking a Part 102 training course through an approved training provider can assist, and should be organised during this phase to occur as close to the interview date as possible.
While there are different methods that can be used to present the safety case to the CAA, the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) method is an internationally recognised process that qualitatively identifies the air and ground risk for your activity and assigns a Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL) rating which determines the organisational, equipment and safety structures that must be in place to ensure the operation will be conducted safely. As the degree of air and ground risk increases, the SAIL rating and related organisational, equipment and safety requirements also increase.
A full explanation of the SORA process can be seen here – Jackie Dujmovic | Nicola MacPhail presenting on SORA Process for BVLOS Drone Operations
The CAA has also provided an assessment evaluation tool to assist you in determining your proposed operations’ Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL).
Part 102 Exposition
In addition to the application forms, safety case, and fit and proper person questionnaire, the most important part of the application process is the submission of your Part 102 exposition. The Part 102 exposition is effectively your ‘how-to guide’. It defines the Part 101 rules you won’t be complying with and contains the procedures and policies, qualifications and training, unmanned aircraft, and safety management systems that you or your organisation will follow when conducting the specific drone operation.
It can be quite difficult to develop the appropriate policies and procedures to include in your exposition particularly if you don’t have experience with technical writing. This is why drone companies/operators will hire an exposition writer through a drone consultancy firm to write the exposition on their behalf. Good exposition writers will work with you to ensure that the exposition is written specifically to your organisational needs and requirements and, most importantly, that you understand it.
During this phase, the ‘Prime Person’ undertakes a fit and proper person assessment by the CAA. Additionally, the exposition and safety case is reviewed which typically involves two-way written and/or verbal feedback with the CAA to rectify any deficiencies or grey areas to ensure that safe operational procedures are developed. For more complex or novel drone applications a dedicated workshop may be required between the CAA and the applicant to work through the safety case and Exposition.
Once your application is approved there will still be requirements that your organisation needs to conduct prior to commencing operations with your newly issued UAOC. This includes conducting any internal or external training to gain the necessary qualifications that are documented in your exposition. It’s also possible the unmanned aircraft will need to be inspected by a CAA-approved organisation to ensure that it is reliable and equipment failure is not likely to occur, particularly if your unmanned aircraft has been modified.
Let’s go flying BVLOS in New Zealand
Once all this is done it’s time to get out there and safely fly your operation, putting all of your procedures into practice.
We are here to help
Hover UAV is an RPAS Consultancy and Operations firm experienced in conducting SORA Safety cases and developing documented policies and procedures for BVLOS and complex drone operations on behalf of domestic and international clients. Most recently, Hover UAV assisted Pypervision in obtaining Part 102 certification for the conduct of BVLOS operations to enable fog dispersal operations.
Hover UAV has Part 102 packages for BVLOS and complex operations or if you don’t quite know what you need., we also conduct Discovery Workshops to assist you in developing your ConOps, and to determine your organisational and equipment requirements based on your intended operation.
If requiring information on BVLOS New Zealand please do not hesitate to contact the team today at 0800 992 753 for your free initial consultation.
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