Tag: bvlos

Drone In a Box Programs

Drone In a Box Programs

Building a Successful Drone-in-a-Box Programs

Drone In a Box Programs – Introduction

In a recent fireside chat, Jackie Dumovic, CEO of Hover UAV, sat down with Ed Boxel, Managing Director of Sensorem. They discussed the building blocks of a successful drone-in-a-box trial program. This session drew a global audience eager to learn about the essential steps in planning and executing drone projects.

The Importance of Concept of Operations (ConOps)

A crucial takeaway from the discussion was the importance of the Concept of Operations (ConOps). ConOps is the foundation of any drone project. It defines the project’s scope, objectives, and operational procedures. Without a well-thought-out ConOps, drone projects can face significant challenges. Jackie and Ed emphasised that careful planning ensures smooth execution and successful outcomes.

Drone In a Box Programs – Selecting the Right Equipment and Software

Another key point was the selection of equipment and software. The right tools are essential for the success of a drone-in-a-box program. Ed Boxel highlighted the need for high-quality, reliable equipment, especially when dealing with harsh and remote environments. The software must be robust and compatible with the chosen hardware to ensure seamless operations.

Hover UAV’s Regulatory Support

Regulatory approvals are a significant hurdle in many drone projects. Hover UAV provides comprehensive support to navigate these complexities. They assist clients in obtaining the necessary approvals, ensuring that all operations comply with local regulations. This support is invaluable, particularly for companies new to drone technology.

 

Overcoming Challenges in Remote Sites

Remote sites pose unique challenges for data collection. The discussion highlighted how drone technology could address these challenges effectively. Drones can access areas that are difficult or dangerous for humans, providing valuable data without risking personnel safety. This capability is especially crucial for industries operating in remote and hazardous locations.

Conclusion

The fireside chat between Jackie Dumovich and Ed Boxel provided valuable insights into the building blocks of a successful drone-in-a-box trial program. The importance of a well-defined ConOps, careful selection of equipment and software, and regulatory support were key themes. Real-world applications, like the mining industry case study, showcased the practical benefits of this technology. With the right planning and support, drone projects can overcome significant challenges and deliver outstanding results.

For more information on how you can get your drone-in-a-box project off the ground, Hover UAV is your go-to expert. With many years of experience operating these advanced systems, they excel in navigating the complex regulatory requirements associated with them. Their proven track record speaks for itself. Whether you need guidance on compliance, operational approvals, or technical support, Hover UAV is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for comprehensive assistance in ensuring your drone project’s success.

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations

Considerations for Drone In A Box Operations

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations – A “drone in the box” is an innovative drone solution designed for autonomous operations. This system includes a drone that automatically departs from and returns to a secure box, which serves as its charging station and shelter. Ideal for repetitive and scheduled tasks, these drones are perfect for surveillance, inspection, and monitoring tasks across various industries including agriculture, security, and infrastructure. The box protects the drone from environmental elements, ensuring it is ready for flight at any time. With advanced automation features, the system requires minimal human intervention, making it a cost-effective and efficient solution for continuous aerial monitoring. Key benefits include increased operational efficiency, reduced downtime, and enhanced safety for challenging or inaccessible areas.

Drone in the Box

There are multiple Drone in the Boxes on the market with the most recent one being the DJI Dock 2.

The DJI Dock 2 is poised to make a significant impact in the drone industry with its cutting-edge features and broader operational scope. It introduces the M3D and M3TD drones, designed for enhanced coverage and efficiency, setting a new standard in drone technology. The dock boasts an impressive operational radius of 6.2 miles and supports the advanced DJI Flight Hub 2 platform while enabling third-party integration. Key features of the M3D drone include a high-quality 20MP camera with a mechanical shutter, whereas the M3TD drone offers a versatile imaging solution combining a 48MP wide camera, a 12MP telecamera, and a thermal camera. With a maximum flight time of 50 minutes, these drones ensure prolonged operations. As the launch nears, the anticipation for the DJI Dock 2’s introduction to the market grows, highlighting its potential to revolutionise the way drones are used in various applications.

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations – Use Cases for Drone in a Box Technology

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations – Drone in a box technology has a wide array of use cases across different industries, leveraging its automation and self-sufficiency for various applications. Here are some prominent ones:

  • Infrastructure Inspection and Maintenance: Automates the monitoring of critical infrastructure, such as bridges, pipelines, and power lines, identifying issues early and reducing the need for manual inspections.
  • Agriculture: Facilitates precision agriculture practices by monitoring crop health, irrigation needs, and pest infestations, enabling farmers to make informed decisions and improve yield.
  • Security and Surveillance: Provides continuous aerial monitoring of perimeters and properties for security purposes, enhancing safety and response to incidents.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Assists in the observation and analysis of environmental conditions, including wildlife tracking, forest management, and pollution detection, contributing to conservation efforts.
  • Emergency Response and Disaster Relief: Offers rapid deployment in emergency situations to assess damage, locate survivors, and guide response teams, significantly improving disaster relief efforts.
  • Construction and Real Estate: Supports construction site monitoring, progress tracking, and asset management, as well as offering aerial views for real estate marketing.
  • Mining: Enables safer and more efficient monitoring of mining operations, including stockpile management, equipment tracking, and compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Research and Development: Supports scientific research in hard-to-reach areas, including glacial monitoring, oceanographic studies, and archaeological surveys.

Drone in a box technology, with its automated deployment and recovery capabilities, is revolutionizing these and other fields by providing efficient, cost-effective, and safer alternatives to traditional methods.

Regulatory Considerations for Flights in Australia

Whether your end goal is full autonomy with drones completing missions and transmitting data without human intervention or having one Remote Pilot fly multiple drones across Australia, there are stepping stones to achieve these goals.

To achieve the full potential of Drone in a Box operations outside standard operating procedures will be required. In Australia, your organisation will require a Remote Operator Certificate (ReOC). More information on obtaining a ReOC can be found on the CASA Website. Once a ReOC is obtained, the organisation can apply for additional permissions to assist with their Drone in Box integration.

Some Approvals/Permissions that are suitable include:

Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) Class 2 Remote Operations:

EVLOS Class 2 is an approval/instrument that allows a Remote Pilot to fly beyond their visual line of sight using a visual observer to report back to the remote pilot any people/air traffic in the flight area. The RPAS/Drone can be a maximum of 1500 meters from the Visual Observer, and multiple visual observers can be utilized for flights beyond 1500 meters. Approvals issued by CASA for EVLOS are Australia-wide. When applying for the approval, if you would like to fly from a different location from the drone and the visual observer (often referred to as remote operations or teleoperations), you will need to state that in your application and ensure that the systems and procedures are robust and take into account your communication methods to the visual observer and how the Remote Pilot will command and control the drone/RPAS from remote locations.

EVLOS Class 2 approvals take approximately 6 weeks to 10 weeks through CASA to obtain and will require a flight test with a CASA inspector for them to evaluate the procedures that have been placed. EVLOS Class 2 remote operations are often utilized for demonstrations/trials, training, or as a fill-in while a BVLOS application is being processed.

Beyond Visual Line of Sight:

A BVLOS area approval/instrument is when the flight is beyond what the Remote Pilot can see, and they are using additional systems and procedures instead of a visual observer to assist in managing the risk to other air users and people on the ground. A submission for a BVLOS area approval usually takes between 3 and 6 months depending on the complexity. An application submission will vary depending on complexity; however, at a minimum, it would include:

  • Detailed Concept of Operations
  • SORA Safety Case
  • BVLOS Procedures
  • Detailed KML/Operational Area map
  • Stakeholder Engagement Information

One to Many:

Often, the end goal is to scale these Drone in a Box operations and start to see additional cost savings. One way to do this is to utilise one Remote Pilot to manage multiple Drones/RPAS simultaneously (often referred to as One-to-many or Swarming). This can be applied with the initial BVLOS application or can be added after the operator has gained further experience with BVLOS. When adding One to Many, careful consideration needs to be taken for the software utilized and how the remote pilot interacts with that software. Additional procedures will need to be added to ensure that in an emergency, all RPAS can be managed.

Considerations for Drone in a Box Operations

Operations Over or Near People:

Operations over or near people often necessitate careful consideration and additional approvals or exemptions. It’s crucial to establish a clear concept of operations, encompassing factors such as the nature of the task, altitude, location, and equipment to be utilized, including any supplementary safety gear like PSR parachutes. The defined concept of operations dictates the documentation necessary for submission to CASA. For straightforward operations, detailed procedures suffice, while more complex ones mandate a comprehensive SORA risk assessment.

Hover UAV understands the complexities of conducting flights and gaining regulatory approvals for drones in the boxes and developed packages to assist you on your journey including

  • Discovery Workshops to Define Concept of Operations
  • Trial and testing packages
  • Approval submission  packages including EVLOS, BVLOS, One to many, and flights over people
  • SORA training
  • BVLOS OCTA exam training / BVLOS practical flight training
  • Train the Trainer Packages for Chief Remote Pilots

Contact the team today for an initial free consultation and allow us to assist you on your drone journey.

RPAS Operations Over or Near People

Operations Over or Near People with Drones

RPAS Regulatory Considerations for Operations Over or Near People

As the use of drones across industries continues to change the way operators approach their work, the need to use RPAs for a variety of purposes Over and Near people has become apparent. In this blog we’ll delve into the regulatory landscape and summarise the recent developments towards enabling Operations Over and Near People (OONP).

Regulations about Operations Over and Near People

RPAS Flights Over or Near People are regulated under Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations CASR 101.245 (operations near people) and CASR 101.280 (populous areas).

CASR 101.245 mandates a minimum distance of 30 meters between an RPA and any individual not directly involved in its operation. This distance is often thought of as a “dome” when it is actually a 30m radius cylinder that continues above the person indefinitely meaning you cannot operate over people even if you are more than 30m above them.  While this regulation sets a baseline standard, it does provide flexibility to RPA operators by allowing ReOC holders to operate less than 30m but greater than 15m from people with consent under CASR 101.245 (3) or the ability to apply for an approval under regulation 101.029 to bypass these restrictions.

CASR 101.280 mandates that a non-certified RPA is not operated over a populous area. A populous area is defined as an area that has sufficiency density of population for some aspect of the operation, or some event that might happen during the operation (in particular, a fault in, or failure of, the aircraft) to pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of somebody who is in the area but is not connected with the operation.

Under 101.280 (4), CASA may grant an approval to operate an RPA over a populous area provided certain conditions can be met. If these conditions cannot be met, an exemption to the regulation may be required.

Recent Developments from CASA

CASA has recently released a Temporary Management Instruction (TMI) Document that describes three pathways RPA operators can follow when seeking approvals for operations over or near people based on the scope and intent of the operation.

This document details the conditions under which CASA will assess an operator’s ability to conduct operations over or near people for each pathway. It also establishes the three pathways to approval and the scope of operations possible under each pathway. These pathways are:

  • Pathway 1 – Operations Near People with Active Participant Consent in a Controlled Environment with an MTOW of less than 25kg
  • Pathway 2 – Unlikely to cause serious harm upon impact – maximum 15 joules (or 34 joules is sheltered, have informed consent)
  • Pathway 3 – Specific Operational Risk Assessment (SORA) Based assessment -RPAS Operations Over or Near People without Consent and greater than 15 joules

CASA has also provided a means for operators to seek approval where their operations may not fall into any of the three pathways through meeting an acceptable level of safety and gaining approval by the Executive Manager (National Operations and Standards) and the Executive Manager (Regulatory Oversight Division).

New definitions are also provided in the TMI including Controlled Environment and Active Participants.

A controlled environment refers to the designated operational area which solely involves active participants. This strategic approach minimises ground risks akin to segregated airspace, with the operator assuming full responsibility for ensuring the absence of non-active participants.

Active participants are people who are participating directly in the activity to which the RPA is operated but is not directly associated with the operation of the RPA. This may include people who are performers or emergency services personnel.

Operations Over or Near People

Pathway 1 – Operations with consent in controlled environments

Pathway 1 relies on gaining written consent from any active participants and operating in a controlled environment. It provides the greatest flexibility in operations by not placing strict limits on distance from Active Participants or any limit on the KE of the RPA should it impact a person. To achieve this flexibility, Pathway requires the operator to gain and document consent and provides strict conditions for that consent and the operation to be considered valid.

The conditions for the operation are:

  • the operation is conducted in a controlled environment;
  • the operation is conducted by the holder of a ReOC;
  • the RPA weighs no more than 25 kg; and
  • active participants provide written consent for operations within 30 metres.

Since this pathway relies on gaining written consent, there are strict guidelines around how that consent is obtained that can be viewed in full within the TMI.

Pathway 1 is suitable for a variety of operations where the operator can gain written consent and/or needs to utilise heavier RPA or operate very closely to active participants. Examples include; Mining or Industrial sites, performances that involve RPA or film sets.

Pathway 2 – Operations with informed or no consent

Pathway 2 allows operators to conduct operations over or near people on the basis that an impact is unlikely to cause serious harm.

To conduct operations under Pathway 2 the operator must:

  • demonstrate the maximum Kinetic Energy transferred is less than 15 joules and protect people from lacerations; or
  • demonstrate the maximum Kinetic Energy transferred is less than 34 joules, protect people from lacerations and gain informed consent.

Note: Pathway 2 also allows emergency services organisations to operate with a maximum energy impact of up to 34 joules without obtaining informed consent.

Demonstrating the Kinetic Energy threshold can be achieved by calculating the energy on impact. It is likely, due the low threshold, RPAs will need to have a low MTOW (typically under 300g). Higher MTOW RPAs may be useable:

  • when the maximum speed of the system is limited in such a way the RP cannot accidentally override it
  • when fitted with an ASTM F3322-18 compliant parachute (certified through the AEB)
  • when sheltering would reduce the impact to the Kinetic Energy threshold.

More detail about meeting the Kinetic Energy threshold and the protection of people from lacerations can be viewed in full within the TMI.

Pathway 2 is ideal for scenarios like filming a specific event (e.g. Sports or concerts), inspecting assets in public spaces and disaster response.

Operations Over or Near People

Pathway 3 – SORA (Specific Operational Risk Assessment)

While Pathways 1 and 2 provide flexibility for the majority of operators, there are many emerging operators with more complex needs and use cases where operations over or near people may be only one part of their overall goal for an approval. The SORA based assessment allows these operators to put forward more complex cases where they may utilise larger RPAs or request larger operating areas and involve other complex activities like BVLOS operations. The conditions for Pathway 3 are:

  • the final SAIL of the SORA must not be greater than 4;
  • where a SORA assessment requires an OSO to be met under high or medium robustness (specifically OSOs, 2-6, 10, 12, 13, 18-20 and 24), this element of the SORA must be validated by the AEB (Airworthiness Engineering Branch).

When conducting a SORA safety case, an operator may use M1 and M2 mitigations in determining their final SAIL level. CASA have defined methods to demonstrate acceptable means of compliance for M1 and M2 which can be viewed in full within the TMI.

Operations Over or Near People
OONP SORA

Additional Considerations for Flying Drones Over or Near People

Populous area

The use of any pathway does not negate the requirement for a populous area exemption if the area of operation may be considered populous.

Noise approval

Following the end of the grace period in July 2022, all RPA operators should have acquired a Nosie Approval. When conducting operations over or near people, operators should consider if their existing approval is appropriate and re-assess to determine if additional measures are required. operators can obtain this approval via drones.gov.au.

Privacy

Privacy should also be considered and you should have awareness and an understanding of laws in your area and if your proposed flights have the potential to breach state and territory laws relating to privacy, trespass, harassment, intimidation, nuisance, and endangering safety. Links to particular laws can be found on the drones.gov.au.

 

Developing your CONOPS and operational procedures.

As drone operators navigate the complexities of regulations and considerations surrounding operations over or near people, it becomes imperative to take proactive steps toward ensuring safety, compliance, and operational efficiency. Defining your Concept of Operations (CONOPS) stands as a pivotal next step in this journey. By carefully outlining your operational procedures, risk mitigation strategies, and safety protocols, you can tailor your approach to align with regulatory requirements and operational needs. To assist in this process, Hover has developed regulatory packages for the 3 pathways and is offering 30-minute free consultations aimed at helping you define your CONOPS effectively. Seizing this opportunity can provide invaluable insights and guidance, empowering you to navigate the regulatory landscape confidently and clearly. Contact the team today.

 

Chief Remote Pilot Professional Webinar

Chief Remote Pilot Webinar

Chief Remote Pilot Webinar

Member’s access is required to view this recorded webinar. If not a member simply register your details on the link below or login if already a member and you will be taken to the webinar. Membership is free.

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Chief Remote Pilot Webinar Overview

Discover the latest updates and insights crucial for Chief Remote Pilots (CRP) in our comprehensive CRP Professional Development sessions. Led by industry experts from Hover UAV,

  • Jackie Dujmovic
  • Phillip Grieve
  • Dylan Bishop
  • Jarrod Danahay

These sessions are tailored to navigate the ever-changing landscape of rules and regulations. Dive deep into essential topics such as:

  • MOS101 updates
  • Airspace updates
  • Regulatory update overview
  • Emerging pathways for applications such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), EVLOS Remote Operations and Close Proximity/ Near People Operations.

Stay ahead of the curve with our analysis of recent government consultations and upcoming developments like Flight Information Management System ( FIMS ) and Uncrewed Traffic Management ( UTM).

Sharing the Airspace

Sharing the Airspace: A Collaborative Effort

Sharing The Airspace – In an insightful webinar, “Sharing the Airspace,” hosted by Safe Skies Australia and RMIT, industry experts shared pivotal insights on the essence of collaboration and professionalism in aviation safety. Spearheaded by Greg Hood, Deputy Chair of Air Services Australia and key representatives from both commercial and uncrewed aviation sectors, the event shed light on the multifaceted strategies for elevating safety standards in aviation.

Collaboration at Its Core – Sharing The Airspace

The heart of the webinar beat to the rhythm of shared responsibility. From pilots and training organisations to regulatory bodies and the burgeoning UAV sector, the message was clear: maintaining and enhancing safety is a collective endeavour. Greg Hood’s Australian Transport Safety Bureau statistics underscored the imperative of vigilance in airspace sharing and the relentless pursuit of safety excellence.

Professionalism as a Pillar

Professionalism in aviation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a foundational pillar. Lea Vesic of RMIT Aviation Academy emphasized starting with professionalism at the onset of pilot training. This involves a deep commitment to competence, communication, and, most importantly, safety.

The Dawn of Drones – Sharing The Airspace

The webinar ventured into the increasingly significant realm of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS). Jackie Dujmovic highlighted drones’ emerging role, stressing the critical need for stringent safety protocols in both crewed and uncrewed aviation. As the industry edges toward mass adoption of Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations and Urban Air Mobility, innovation in safe integration becomes non-negotiable.

SafeSkies Australia / RMIT Webinar – Sharing the Airspace

Key Takeaways for a Safer Tomorrow – Sharing The Airspace

  • The importance of continuous education and training to foster a safety-conscious mindset.
  • A necessity for improved communication and information sharing to enhance situational awareness and prevent accidents.
  • The potential of technology, like ADS-B, to bolster visibility and tracking, thereby augmenting safety.
  • The creation of a collaborative ecosystem where all stakeholders, including the UAS sector, work in harmony to ensure the safety of our skies via equitable sharing of the airspace.

As we stand on the brink of a new era in aviation, characterised by technological leaps and increased congestion, this webinar serves as a crucial reminder. Our collective commitment to safety, professionalism, and collaboration is the key to ensuring that aviation remains a byword for safety.

  • Jackie Dujmovic, Hover UAV founder and a leading voice in drone operations and safety.
  • SafeSkies Australia is at the forefront of aviation safety advocacy.
  • RMIT, contributing academic and practical insights into aviation training.
  • Greg Hood, Deputy Air Services Chair, offers invaluable data and perspectives.
  • Lea Vesic, from RMIT Aviation Academy, highlights the importance of professional training.
  • Chris McKie of Virgin Australia,
  • Jill Bailey, Head of Flight Operations at Recreational Australia
  • Allan Clements, CEO L3 Harris

This collaborative effort underscored the webinar’s (Sharing The Airspace) message: together, we can ensure the skies remain safe for all.

BARS Audit Preparation

BARS Audit Preparation With Hover UAV

BARS Audit Preparation – In the evolving domain of aviation, the introduction of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) has revolutionised operational capabilities across various industries, from mining to offshore oil and gas. The Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) program represents a collaborative effort by the Flight Safety Foundation alongside the resources and mining sector aimed at harmonising audit practices across participating entities. Achieving certification underlines your organisation’s dedication to safety and enhances the value of the services provided.

Understanding BARS Audits – BARS Audit Preparation

The BARS Audit Program stands out as an essential resource for RPAS operators and the companies that hire them, aiming to comprehensively assess their management systems and operational methods. This evaluation centres on pinpointing and reducing possible hazards, enabling operators to safely manage the challenges of diverse settings. The program goes beyond simple compliance with rules; it cultivates a mindset of safety and readiness. By setting a worldwide benchmark, it ensures that, regardless of the contractor’s location across the globe, the hiring firm can have confidence in the consistent quality assured by a recognised global standard.

The Importance of BARS Audits

  • Comprehensive Reviews: Save time and embrace a safety standard that speaks the language of top contracting companies worldwide.
  • Suitability: Verifies that operators are adequately prepared for the challenges of remote and complex environments.
  • Enhanced Safety: Offers an additional layer of protection for your assets, workforce, and overall operations.
  • Time Efficiency: Achieving BARS compliance ensures applicability across all member contracting companies, removing the necessity for additional or independent risk management efforts.
  • Remote Readiness: Prove your prowess in managing the complexities of remote operations.
  • Best Practices Access: Fly high with globally recognised practices and standards in aviation risk management.
  • Professional Excellence: Possessing a BARS Audit certification underscores an operator’s advanced level of maturity and commitment to operating with the highest degree of safety and proficiency.

How to become BARS for RPAS Audit Accredited

Flight Safety Foundation – BARS for RPAS – BARS Audit Preparation

BARS Audit Preparation – How to become a BARS Registered RPAS Operator: This provides a step-by-step guide on how to join the BARS program and ensure the safety of your employees while operating remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in the mining and resources sector.

  • Download the RPAS standard and implementation guidelines from the website.
  • Set up your RPAS operator profile in the secure online portal, Barsoft.
  • Select a BARS member organisation and create your audit checklist.
  • Conduct a self-audit with the checklist to assess your company’s readiness.
  • Enrol with a selected audit company and sign the BARS audit agreement.
  • Close any non-conformities within 30 to 90 days with a corrective action plan.
  • Maintain continuous registration to achieve silver and gold status in the BARS program.

Partnering with Hover UAV for BARS Success

BARS Audit Preparation – For organisations aiming to achieve or maintain BARS certification, Hover UAV offers comprehensive support in audit preparedness. Our expertise lies in navigating the complexities of BARS audit requirements, providing a streamlined path to compliance. We assist organisations by:

  1. Consulting on BARS Audit Checklists: Hover UAV provides in-depth consultations, utilising BARS audit checklists to ensure thorough preparedness. We help identify the essential components that need to be incorporated into your operations manual and procedures to meet audit standards.
  2. Preparing for Audits: We assist in preparing BARS audit checklists tailored to your organisation’s specific needs, ensuring that all areas of potential risk are covered and adequately addressed.
  3. Compliance Software Integration: Hover UAV aids in selecting and implementing compliance software that aligns with BARS standards, facilitating efficient management of compliance documentation and procedures.
  4. Operational Manual and Procedure Enhancement: BARS Audit Preparation. Our team works closely with you to identify necessary additions and modifications to your operations manual and procedures, ensuring they are in line with BARS requirements.
  5. Client Meeting and Audit Representation (If required): Hover UAV stands by your side during client meetings and audits, providing expert representation to navigate through the audit process smoothly.

With Hover UAV as your partner, achieving BARS certification becomes a more accessible and assured goal. Contact Hover UAV for more information on how we can assist your BARS Audit Preparation.

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia – In the vast expanses of Australia’s countryside, where the horizon stretches far beyond the eye can see, drones are becoming an indispensable tool for innovation and efficiency. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), in its unwavering commitment to fostering growth and safety in the skies, has recently highlighted the potential and challenges of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations, particularly in the agricultural sector and remote regions. The findings from their comprehensive survey in March 2024 not only offer a glimpse into the current landscape but also chart a course for the future. The link to the survey can be found here.

A Collective Vision for Drones in Australia

Drones are not just flying cameras or high-tech toys; they are pivotal instruments driving Australia towards a more innovative and efficient future. From boosting delivery services to revolutionising agricultural practices, these remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) promise to usher in a new era of productivity and sustainability. With an estimated 10% of Australian agricultural businesses already harnessing the power of drones—a figure expected to soar by 2040—the skies are brimming with potential.

Some key highlights from the survey were as shown in the below table representing the key operational profiles and activities being most applicable to respondents.

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia

Credit – Civil Aviation Safety Authority

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia – Listening to the Voices of Innovation

Understanding the unique needs and hurdles faced by drone operators in regional Australia was paramount for CASA. The survey’s 443 respondents, representing a diverse array of sectors, provided invaluable insights into the realities of drone operations. Their feedback highlights a pressing need for regulatory frameworks that not only ensure safety but also embrace the technological strides being made in the drone industry.

Unveiling Challenges and Charting Solutions

Among the key challenges highlighted were the complexities and costs associated with obtaining BVLOS approvals, especially for agricultural and remote operations. Respondents called for more streamlined processes, suggesting that innovations such as area permits and simplified approvals could significantly enhance operational efficiency. The feedback underscores a collective desire for a regulatory environment that supports, rather than hinders, the transformative potential of drones.

The Main Barriers to Operation Highlighted by Respondents

A Path Forward: Recommendations for Change – BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia

The survey’s findings have not fallen on deaf ears. Respondents put forth a series of recommendations aimed at reducing barriers to BVLOS operations. These include crafting specific regulations for agriculture, introducing more efficient approval processes, and adopting a risk-based approach that balances operational needs with safety considerations. Such changes could catalyze the broader adoption of drones, making advanced farming techniques and emergency responses more accessible and effective.

BVLOS Survey for Regional Australia – CASA’s Commitment to Progress

CASA extends its gratitude to all survey participants, whose contributions are invaluable in shaping the future of drone operations in Australia. The authority is dedicated to working alongside stakeholders to refine regulations and support the industry’s growth. By fostering an environment where safety and innovation coexist, CASA aims to ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of drone technology, benefiting communities across the nation.

Joining Hands for a Safer, More Efficient Tomorrow

The journey towards a more innovative and efficient Australia, powered by drone technology, is a collective endeavour. As CASA continues to review and adjust regulations in response to the evolving needs of the drone industry, input from operators across the country remains crucial. Together, we can navigate the challenges and opportunities of the skies, ensuring that drones continue to play a pivotal role in shaping our future.

In this era of technological advancement, the potential of drones to transform industries and communities is boundless. As we look to the horizon, the insights from CASA’s survey not only illuminate the path ahead but also invite us to envision a future where drones are integral to our way of life, driving growth and innovation in every corner of Australia.

Stay Informed and Engaged with Hover UAV

Keeping abreast of the latest developments in BVLOS regulations is essential for entities looking to harness the full potential of drone technology. Hover UAV is dedicated to providing up-to-date information and guidance to stakeholders across various industries. Whether you’re a seasoned drone operator or exploring the possibilities drones offer, we invite you to engage in an obligation-free discussion with our team. Together, we can navigate the regulatory landscape, ensuring your operations are compliant and poised to thrive in the ever-evolving world of drone technology.

To learn more about how BVLOS regulations may impact your operations and to explore tailored solutions that meet your unique needs, don’t hesitate to contact Hover UAV. Let’s work together to harness the transformative power of drones, driving innovation and efficiency across Australia and beyond.

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA): Insights from Hover UAV

At Hover UAV, we understand the critical importance of safety and compliance in drone operations. As the industry continues to grow, so does the need for a structured approach to assess and mitigate risks. This is where Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) becomes essential. Let’s delve into what SORA is and why it’s indispensable for safe and compliant Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) operations.

What Is the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)?

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) is a comprehensive framework designed to evaluate the risks involved in drone operations. It is particularly relevant for operations that require specific permissions from the regulator, such as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.

SORA encompasses a variety of documents and guidelines that aid in identifying the potential risks of an RPA flight and outline the measures to mitigate these risks. It divides risks into two main categories: Ground Risk Class (GRC) and Air Risk Class (ARC), which help assess the likelihood of incidents occurring on the ground and in the air, respectively. To manage these risks effectively, SORA introduces Specific Assurance and Integrity Levels (SAIL), which are adjusted through the application of various mitigating measures and threat barriers.

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)

Essential Elements for a Successful SORA

For a SORA to be successful, several key elements are required:

  • Concept of Operations (ConOps): This is a detailed document that provides the technical, operational, and system information to assess the risks associated with the proposed operation. It describes the flight plan and how it will be executed.
  • Ground Risk Class (GRC) Determination: The GRC evaluates the risk of a drone impacting a person on the ground. This evaluation considers factors such as the drone’s size, speed, flight type (VLOS or BVLOS), the operational scenario, flight area, and the presence of people. Mitigating measures, such as Emergency Response Plans (ERP), emergency parachutes, or active geofencing, can reduce the GRC.
  • Air Risk Class (ARC) Determination: The ARC assesses the probability of the drone encountering a crewed aircraft. It is influenced by whether the flight is in controlled or uncontrolled airspace, its proximity to airports, and whether it flies over urban or rural areas. Strategic and tactical mitigations can lower the ARC.
  • Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL) Determination: SAIL provides a confidence level for the flight operation, integrating ground and air risk analyses. It is expressed in levels ranging from 1 to 6, each specifying objectives and supportive activities.
  • Operational Safety Objectives (OSO): Based on the SAIL levels, OSOs outline requirements for the drone, its operator, and the operating organization. These include standards for the operator’s knowledge and skills, as well as technical assessments of the drone and its equipment.
BVLOS Training

Hover UAV’s Role in Your SORA Journey

Hover UAV is committed to promoting safety and compliance in the drone industry. With our experience conducting diverse drone operations and possessing a proven track record in developing many successful SORA safety cases, we are well-positioned to assist organisations in navigating the SORA process. Whether your operations involve challenging BVLOS flights or activities in populated areas, our team is ready to support you in preparing all necessary SORA documentation effectively and efficiently.

For organisations looking to enhance the safety and compliance of their drone operations, Hover UAV offers tailored support and expertise. Contact our team of SORA specialists for assistance and embark on your journey to safer and more compliant drone operations.

By embracing SORA and its approach to risk assessment and mitigation, organisations can safeguard their operations, protect people and property, and leverage the capabilities of drone technology.

BVLOS (OCTA) Training & EXAM

BVLOS (OCTA) Training & Exam

Navigating the BVLOS (OCTA) Training & Exam: A Comprehensive Guide for Remote Pilots

The realm of drone operations is rapidly expanding, with Operating Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) marking the next big leap forward. Recent regulatory updates have made it easier for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) holders to secure BVLOS approvals, yet the hurdle of the Instrument Rating Exam (IREX) remains for remote pilots seeking a BVLOS rating. Recognising this, in 2023, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) introduced a specialised pathway for obtaining this coveted rating. Through a CASA-endorsed BVLOS exam, conducted by ASPEQ assessment specialists, pilots can now qualify for operations outside controlled airspace (OCTA) without navigating the complexities of the IREX. This development simplifies the process, opening the doors wider for the RPAS sector to harness a tailor-made exam that aligns with the specific needs of RPAS operations. Hover UAV, a leader in the field of BVLOS operations in Australia, leverages its comprehensive industry insight and expertise to offer training programs that equip individuals and teams with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the CASA BVLOS (OCTA) exam successfully, ensuring safe and proficient BVLOS operations.

Hover UAV’s Training for the CASA BVLOS (OCTA) Exam

Hover UAV stands out with its targeted training designed to empower Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) holders to excel in BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace (OCTA). Their program is meticulously crafted to address the key components essential for excelling in the CASA BVLOS (OCTA) exam, tailored specifically for BVLOS and Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) Class 2 flight operations. Participants will engage in an in-depth exploration of various crucial topics, ensuring a well-rounded preparation for the examination:

  • General BVLOS Knowledge: Understand the foundational concepts and regulations surrounding BVLOS operations.
  • Aeronautical Knowledge: Dive into the principles of flight and how they apply to unmanned aerial systems.
  • Meteorology: Gain insights into weather patterns and phenomena critical for planning and conducting BVLOS flights.
  • Airspace: Learn about different types of airspace and the rules governing BVLOS operations within them.
  • Human Factors: Explore the psychological and physiological aspects that impact remote pilot performance.
  • Navigation Systems: Get to grips with the technologies and methods used for navigation in BVLOS flights.
  • Communications: Understand the communication protocols and requirements for safely managing BVLOS operations.
  • Examination Practice: Engage in practical exercises and mock exams to build confidence and ensure readiness for the actual CASA BVLOS (OCTA) exam.

Hover UAV’s training program is not just about passing an exam; it’s a comprehensive preparation that fosters a deep understanding and proficient skill set for successful and secure BVLOS operations.

BVLOS (OCTA) Training & Exam

Understanding the BVLOS Examination

The BVLOS exam is designed as an alternate route for remote pilots, complementing the Instrument Rating Exam (IREX), with a focus on those aiming to operate beyond visual line of sight in non-controlled airspace. It’s a tailored assessment for those looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible with remote piloting, offering a blend of regulatory knowledge and practical insights essential for safe and efficient BVLOS operations.

Entry Requirements and Examination Details

Who Can Apply?

Examination Fee:

  • The total cost is $174.34, divided as follows:
    • Examiner fee: $104.34
    • CASA regulatory fee: $70

Duration and Format:

  • The exam spans 90 minutes, testing candidates digitally on their BVLOS knowledge.

Preparation Material:

  • No materials are allowed; however, all necessary information is provided digitally during the exam.

Passing Score:

  • A minimum score of 70% is required to pass.

Preparing for Your Exam

Success in the BVLOS examination demands a thorough preparation. Delving into the RPAS BVLOS (OCTA) aeronautical knowledge standards or enrolling in a training course is highly recommended before booking your exam. This foundational step ensures you’re well-versed in the critical aspects of BVLOS operations.

Booking Your Exam

The booking process is streamlined for convenience:

  1. Visit the designated website and navigate to the “Exam schedule.”
  2. Select “RePL examinations” and choose “ReB1” under specialisation.
  3. Choose your preferred time and location based on availability.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ensure you have a current photo ID for verification purposes.

On Exam Day

Candidates will be provided with all necessary tools, such as pens, pencils, and calculators, by the examiner. Remember, understanding the Pilot Examination Office (PEXO) software, used during the exam, is crucial as it encompasses both multi-choice and ‘fill-in-the-box’ questions to assess your BVLOS knowledge thoroughly.

Post-Exam Procedure

Upon completion, you’ll receive immediate feedback in the form of a Result Advice (RA) and, if applicable, a Knowledge Deficiency Report (KDR) for any incorrect answers. This detailed feedback is invaluable for identifying areas for improvement and ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for safe BVLOS operations.

Hover uav

Why the BVLOS Exam Matters

The introduction of the BVLOS (OCTA) exam represents a significant advancement in the realm of remote piloting, allowing for a broader scope of operations and the development of new applications in the field. The data from the initial year highlights a strong interest and success rate among candidates, underlining the exam’s role in fostering a new generation of skilled remote pilots ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities of BVLOS flight.

In conclusion, the BVLOS exam is more than just a certification; it’s a stepping stone towards the future of aviation, offering remote pilots a chance to expand their horizons and contribute to the evolving landscape of aerial operations.

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