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11th Feb

Andrews Inspired Blog, it’s all about drones

Posted in Blog, General Interest, Iprosurv NewsTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

INTRODUCTION

Andrews Inspired Blog, it's about all drones

Time now for the second blog of the series. “Andrews Inspired Blog, it’s all about drones” Thanks for the feedback some of you have sent me, much appreciated.

IPROSURV NEWS

Storm Arwen and drones

This month Iprosurv were commissioned to produce vital data for the aftermath of storm Arwen flying in excess of 200 hectares of windblown damaged forestry, read the full case study here.

Operations manual review service

Iprosurv has launched it’s Operations Manual review service, the service will not only focus on reviewing your operations manual, but also a one to one online meeting explaining the changes that have taken place and ensuring that the operator understands the changes and why.

This is part of the Iprosurv consultancy service.

There is more info later in the blog.

NEW DRONES

No new drones on the market that have sparked my interest. You could say that the Mavic 3 is turning into a new drone with every software update that comes out. Rather than release all the features on launch, some owners have been frustrated with the drip feed of new features, the first time this has been done.

A lot of talk on various social media groups of the Inspire 2 being unavailable or limited in stock on certain websites. Increasing rumours suggest an Inspire 3 may be on the cards. Awaiting to hear any further news.

POSITIVE DRONE STORIES

The Emergency services continue to use their social media accounts to highlight the good work and results they are getting from the use of their drones. We continue to see the positive effect that drones are having on policing in finding missing persons, apprehending suspects at large as well as supporting various police departments and other emergency services such as fire and ambulance.

West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police are partnering with Urban-Air port in Coventry as part of the launch of the world’s first operational Urban-Air port for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) which takes place on 25th April 2022 to provide a public demonstration of unmanned aerial vehicles. This is a great development in the use of drones and how they are innovating the emergency services sector link

National Police Air Service

Moving on from that the National Police Air Service (NPAS) have announced that they are leading on a Home Office approved project to better understand the capabilities of beyond visual line of site flights for the emergency services. At the moment forces can only operate within visual line of sight (except under an OSC or Emergency Services Exemption). Other forces involved in this project are the Met Police, Norfolk constabulary, West Midlands Police and Thames Valley police. They are initially looking at a BVLOS range of up to 20 miles away. Could this mean a drone operating in the Certified Category? link

Sausage Rescue Drone

Rescuing dogs by drone has hit the headlines again!  Did you see the report of the Denmead Drone search and rescue team rescuing Millie the Jack-Russell whippet cross by dangling a sausage from a drone to lure her away from the mudflats. link

If you have any positive drone stories then please let me know as I would like to have this as a regular feature for each blog. Email

NEGATIVE DRONE STORIES

Drone stops football game

Probably the most highly featured negative drone story was the drone flight that halted the Brentford v Wolves football match for about 20 minutes on 22nd January 2022. I was actually watching it live on TV at the time it happened.

Andrews Inspired Blog, it's all about drones

From the footage of the drone captured by the TV cameras at the game it appears to have been a DJI Mini 2. The game was stopped for around 20 minutes while the drone flew over the pitch. The ref had no option but to take the players off the pitch as it would be difficult to know what the threat if any, was from the drone itself. With the Mini 2 weighing in at 249g it is unlikely to have carried a payload to threaten the spectators and players.

All premier league stadiums should have a DJI geofence around them known as Authorization Zones, coloured blue on the DJI Fly safe map. These zones can be unlocked by the user as they will be prompted with a warning and the flight limited in height. Authorised users using a DJI verified account can unlock the zone. However, when I was doing some research at the time, it appeared that the newly built Brentford Football stadium did not have the blue Authorisation zone around it allowing the Mini 2 pilot to take off with no restrictions.

DJI fly safe

As you can see from the snap shot of the DJI Fly Safe map the Authorization zone was added the following day on 23/01/2022, so someone must have realised an error had been made. One explanation could be that Brentford football club were promoted to the Premier league at the end of the season last year. Prior to promotion whilst they were in the Championship league they are not afforded a DJI Geozone around their stadium, so it would appear an error had been made which was quickly rectified the following day. Interestingly Brentford football stadium lies slap bang in the centre between the eastern end of the Heathrow RPZ and the western end of the London Heliport FRZ.

The authorisation zones do not prevent drones flying within them and it would be easy enough to set up a dodgy DJI user account if you wanted to.

Gatwick

Another interesting point raised on several social media platforms was that how come the small Mini 2 drone was picked up by numerous TV cameras, but the Gatwick drone reportedly to be a lot bigger was not picked up by anyone with a camera, or was it just too far away!

Drone Detection

Over the next couple of days there was a lot of activity on social media of Drone detection equipment companies offering their wares to help football stadiums detect these drones. It is down to each football stadium to provide that equipment as opposed to the local Police

Again, If you have any negative drone stories then please let me know as I would like to have this as a regular feature for each blog Email

CAA UPDATES AND SAFETY NOTICES

Of the 44 current CAA Safety Notice Publications (see link) there is still only one applicable to Unmanned Aircraft Systems. SN-2020/010 Unmanned Aircraft – Responses to abnormal operations and in-flight failures. Make sure you are familiar with this safety notice and carry out your emergency procedures regularly. Update them if they need updating.

If you didn’t catch it CAP 1789A was updated to version 5 dated 14th December 2021, make sure you have read it and updated your referenced documents table.

CAA SKYWISE PUBLICATIONS

There have been no Skywise notifications that relate to drones since my last blog post (except the CHIRP drones feedback discussed below)

If you haven’t heard of it or subscribed, the CAA’s Skywise is a fantastic tool to allow you to keep yourself up to date with the latest CAA publications. You can set alerts to receive emails on updates for drones such as legislation updates, airspace updates or safety notices. Please subscribe at the following link

AIRPROX ALERTS

 The Airprox website if you haven’t’ already seen it, is well worth a visit. There is a lot of analysis and reports and the Airprox reports of 2021 are an interesting read with a map showing locations of reports. No reports have been published as yet.

AAIB REPORTS

Since my last blog, the AAIB have published the following two reports involving a drone.

 AAIB Investigation into Evolve Dynamics Sky Mantis drone crash which occurred in Skegness, Lincoln on 14th January 2021. The final report was published on 13th January 2022 and can be found here

In summary the crash was caused by stress corrosion cracking a screw which attached the propeller blade of the UA to the motor hub adaptor which subsequently failed during a training flight causing the drone to crash to the ground. Evolve dynamics are understood to have introduced several design changes to prevent a repeat.

AAIB investigation into a DJI Inspire 2 crash caused by an unexplained loss of control whereby it crashed into the top of a tower structure in Brighton on 20th July 2021. The final report was published on 13th January and can be found here in summary an unexplained loss of C2 link caused the I2 to descend out of line of site of the remote pilot and land on top of the tower causing extensive damage but no injuries.

Again if you have not read the AAIB reports then they are a must read. They are not there to apportion blame but to have the incident investigated and highlight any safety issues that could prevent a similar incident in the future.

Don’t forget, if you are involved in an Aircraft accident or serious incident you must report this to the AAIB 24/7 on their 24 hour reporting line 01252 512299.

Further guidance about what to report can be found here

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA)

This is an interesting report released by the FAA which I think is worthy of a mention. It involves a crash between a helicopter and a Mavic 2 Zoom in California on 6th February 2020, with the final report recently released.

Both the helicopter and Mavic 2 were filming at the same event, an off road race involving cars. The Mavic 2 was operating under the Part 107 so we assume had a good amount of training. Both pilots knew of each other’s presence at the event but there was no communication of separation plans between them. At some stage the two collided whilst filming the same car. What is interesting is the damage they suffered. The helicopter suffered small scratches on the right hand side of the windscreen, whereas the rear right motor arm was separated from the Mavic.

The FAA concluded that the probable cause and findings was:

‘the failure of the small UAS remote pilot to give way to the helicopter, resulting in an inflight collision’

‘Contributing to the incident was the sUAS remote pilot’s failure to assess and mitigate the risks of operations in close proximity to other aircraft. Also contributing to the incident was the lack of inclusion of the sUAS operations as a part of the aviation activity and risk mitigation’

Several comments on social media have picked up on the minor damage suffered to the helicopter and how we have often heard that any helicopter crash with a drone could bring the helicopter down. There are lots of talking points here and variables such as point of impact, speed of drone, and weight of drone in this incident before one can conclude anything especially with the new 249g class of drone.

You can download the final FAA report here

CHIRP REPORTS

Confidential Human –Factors Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) is an Aviation and Maritime Confidential incident reporting forum whose aim is to contribute to the enhancement of aviation safety in the UK by providing a totally independent confidential (not anonymous) reporting system for all individuals employed in or associated with the aviation industry. https://www.chirp.co.uk/

Their latest Aviation feedback report for drones, edition 3 dated January 2022 can be found here

I would thoroughly recommend reading all the CHIRP reports, but this is a good one to read as it reports on four separate crashes involving a drone. There is some good advice in each of the reports as to what happened and ways to prevent them happening in the future. Be interesting to know if the operator in report 1 amended any of their procedures to prevent a repeat.

Their latest Air Transport report edition 141 dated January 2022 has a very informative article on Fatigue and refers to it as an ‘insidious issue’. Some useful advice and links in the report to help you understand how to recognise and combat fatigue link

As I have mentioned earlier in this blog, now the days are starting to get longer with more daylight to carry out drone flights, we must consider fatigue. The vast majority of drone operators have a day job so have probably already been working 8-10 hours in various roles. If you now add in a drone flight after work you can see how factors like fatigue can affect your concentration levels and loss of alertness. The lighter evenings are most welcome and a sure sign summer is coming, but make sure you factor in the hours you have already worked when planning an evening or early morning drone flight. A good way to remind you of this is to add something into your operations manual if you have an Operational Authorisation.  

MOR REPORTS

I am still waiting for an update from the CAA regarding the number of MORs that are being submitted. I would guess a large number of MOR eligible reports are not being submitted, especially in the Open Category.

Points 10 to 19 of the Drone and Model Aircraft Code talks about ‘Making every flight safe’ It highlights how to report near misses and dangerous incidents and gives the appropriate Eccairs2 link. So everyone with a Flyer ID should know the process to follow. Prior to the Flyer ID requirement the hobby drone user was never really aware of the MOR reporting system unless they were members of a club.

OPERATIONS MANUAL RENEWAL

When I completed by course with Euro USC back in 2014 to obtain my PFAW (if you know you know!) I was UAV number 534. I was very new to Ops manuals so asked around on the various social media sites for some help and was quoted £1200 to review my completed ops manual!!!

Iprosurv OPERATIONS MANUAL REVIEW SERVICE

As you know when operating in the Specific Category you will need to submit an Operations manual to the CAA to apply for your Operational Authorisation. If you are a newly qualified General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC) holder you will have had your Operations manual assessed and approved by your Recognised Assessment Entity. This could be either a new Operations Manual you have developed yourself or one from a company you will be working for.

This could be either a new Operations Manual you have developed yourself or one from a company you will be working for. Once you have been issued your OA, you will need to keep your operations manual updated to reflect any changes to your organisation or operations and any regulatory changes. You should submit your updated OM to the CAA so they can update their records. This is not part of a variation as they do not assess the new OM but merely update their records should they carry out an audit on you.

You only have to google the phrase Operations Manual Renewal to find a large number of companies who will offer a service to create or update your operations manual for submission to the CAA when renewing your Operational Authorisation (OA). With the CAA now potentially charging a £124 rejection fee if your OA renewal application doesn’t meet their criteria, some operators are turning to these services to ensure they get through the assessment.

Whilst these companies are providing a service it is essential that you understand the changes they are suggesting or making to your operations manuals especially where there have been changes to the regulations or new referenced documents. Some companies are offering a fast turnaround which may imply that it can be submitted quickly without you having to check or read it.

Using consultancy services is very common in all industries. It not only helps people keep abreast of changes, but it can provide new ideas, ways of working, procedures and safer practises. If you are paying for a service make sure you get your money’s worth and get everything explained to you. The content and accuracy of your Operations Manual and associated checklist, procedures and emergency procedures are the responsibility of the Accountable Manager/Operator, they must know its content and ensure all remote pilot who work under that Operations Manual are aware of any new content.

BATTERY CARE

I have recently seen lots of moans on some Facebook groups about battery chargers only charging one battery at a time, especially the Mavic series and Mini 2. I think you would all agree that your drone battery is essential in maintaining flight and it is vitally important to ensure it is looked after and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for charging, maintenance, storage and disposal.

Andrews Inspired Blog, it's all about drones

I have recently seen lots of moans on some Facebook groups about battery chargers only charging one battery at a time, especially the Mavic series and Mini 2. I think you would all agree that your drone battery is essential in maintaining flight and it is vitally important to ensure it is looked after and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for charging, maintenance, storage and disposal.

Storing your battery during the winter months when you are not flying must be done correctly and stored at the correct charge level to prolong their battery life and performance.

The following link, although mainly aimed at the DJI Enterprise user gives some excellent advice on charging and storing for all intelligent batteries. https://enterprise-insights.dji.com/blog/dji-drone-battery-tips

There are numerous third party chargers out there that will charge all your batteries at once but they are not recommended. Some chargers may charger at a greater rate than 1C, which might charge your batteries quicker but will reduce the life of the battery and potentially damage the cells due to high temperatures.

Always use the charger provider by the manufacturer as this will ensure the battery is charged correctly without causing it any damage.

WRAP UP

That’s it from me for this blog. Remember, these are my thoughts, comments and research so don’t be offended if they differ from what you think.

Happy and safe flying

Andrew

Contact

For further information, contact info@iprosurv.com or andrew.hamilton@iprosurv.com

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv provides companies with the in-house capability of drone and data/media delivery services. Our CAMERA system and optimum drone operator platform provides bespoke services be that an on-demand, fully managed service to independent data/media delivery services.

Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology across a range of industries. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure way. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

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