OSC Consultancy Launched By Heliguy

OSC Consultancy Launched By Heliguy

An Operating Safety Case (OSC) consultancy is available at Heliguy, to help commercial drone pilots obtain special permissions from the UK CAA.

10 minute read

  • Heliguy launches Operating Safety Case consultancy;
  • New team member previously worked for the CAA, evaluating and approving OSCs;
  • His experience will help you build a compliant and tailored OSC - with the aim of saving you time and money throughout the application process;
  • OSCs allow commercial operators to fly outside Standard Permissions, expanding mission capabilities;
  • The number of OSC applications are on the rise.

Heliguy has launched an Operating Safety Case (OSC) consultancy service to help those utilising drones obtain special permissions to fly outside normal restrictions and push the boundaries of their missions.

Our new team member, Josh, was a UAS Technical Surveyor at the UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications.

This experience provides him with a thorough understanding of the process, helping applicants build a comprehensive and compliant document - saving time in obtaining CAA approval.

It should also stop the need to go through potentially costly reviews and rewrites with the CAA - saving you money in the process.

Bringing Josh on board strengthens Heliguy’s multi-faceted approach to building drone programmes, which comprises consultancy, hardware supply and support, training, in-house repairs, and R&D.

It also adds another dimension to our drone training provision - which includes industry-specific closed courses and Operations Manual renewals - to provide enterprises with a standardised end-to-end workflow.

Josh said: “The demand for OSCs has exploded and it is growing year after year, so the time was right to add OSC Consultancy to Heliguy’s comprehensive range of services.

“Our intention is to help our applicants build tailored and effective OSCs which will expand the scope of their operations and push the boundaries of what they can do with their drones.”

To book a consultation, click here.

What Is An OSC?

An OSC (Operational Safety Case) is a complex, three-volume operations manual that is submitted to the CAA and enables pilots to operate outside of the confines of a Standard Permission (PfCO).

When the new drone laws start in the UK on December 31, 2020, an OSC will enable drone operations to be conducted outside of the parameters of UKPDRA01 for the Specific Category.

An OSC is required for numerous operational procedures, such as:

  • Operating less than 50m from uninvolved people/properties;
  • Flying less than 150m from ‘organised open-air assemblies of more than 1000 persons
  • Operating more than 400ft above the surface
  • EVLOS (Extended Visual Line of Sight) missions
  • BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) operations

The intent of an OSC is to ensure that the required operational safety requirements have been met and best practice is adopted by all UAS
operators before a UAS is authorised to operate in the UK.

The aim of the OSC is to present sufficient evidence that all relevant hazards and resultant safety risks have been identified within an operation and that these safety risks have been reduced.

In recent years, the number of OSC applications submitted to the CAA has increased, from 120 in 2018 to 173 in 2020.

How Does It Benefit Me?

An OSC enables pilots to push the boundaries of their drone operations, which can open up new avenues of business and provide a competitive edge.

To put it simply, having an OSC enables pilots to fly in more places and more situations.

Josh said: “An OSC will enable you or your organisation to operate in some of the most unique locations available and in ways that those operating under a standard permission can only dream of.

“There may also be occasions where you may have previously been restricted by the standard limitations and were forced to employ expensive contractors to facilitate the requirement.

“With enterprise drone use on the increase, it may be more cost effective to develop your own internal drone programme and maintain organisational governance.

“Obtaining an OSC can be a crucial and prudent part of this process. Let’s get these drones into the back of work vans and into the sky.”

Do I Need To Be A Trained Drone Pilot?

An OSC is available for independent operators, all the way through to large enterprise organisations.

However, before an OSC application can be made, the individual or organisation must already be issued with either a CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) or Operational Authorisation.

Therefore, the applicant must have a valid qualification (either PfCO, GVC or manned aviation qualification).

Alternatively, the applicant must be in possession of an equivalent training qualification and Operational Authorisation from a National Aviation Authority (NAA), other than the UK CAA, and must be recognised as the same standard by the CAA.

This means that Heliguy can still work with operators who do not have a standard permission and an RAE certifictae, but have an equivalent qualification/experience.

However, clients who are not in possession of the above will be limited in their ability to apply for certain types of OSC, as remote pilot experience is a significant factor in the assessment of the eligibility to be granted an OSC.

To obtain a GVC, you can sit the course with Heliguy through the online learning portal, Blackbox.

Why Should I Use Heliguy’s OSC Consultation Service?

There are a number of advantages to using Heliguy’s OSC service.

Firstly, your OSC specialist was previously employed as a UAS Technical Surveyor at the CAA; responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications.

Josh is also an operational remote pilot, experienced in operating under some of the most complex exemptions available and managing national operations strategies.

He said: “My background has enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the ever-developing OSC requirements, the best practices, and the regulators' thought processes around risk.

“This will help us work with the applicant to develop OSCs more effectively - taking a pragmatic approach - to provide a more realistic chance of a successful application, instead of having to go through several multiple reviews - saving time and money in the long run.”

While other OSC consultation services will build an OSC for you, the Heliguy system is heavily reliant on the involvement of the client.

According to Josh, this has many advantages. He said: “Actively involving the applicant is crucial, as it ensures they have a comprehensive understanding of their bespoke OSC, which is tailored to their operations.

“This helps to increase flight safety, as each applicant is fully aware of the criteria and the associated risks of their OSC.

“It can also save unnecessary delays and significant fees from the CAA later in the process.”

Applicants using Heliguy's OSC consultation service will also have their OSC reviewed before submitting it to the CAA - to increase the chances the first-time approval.

Heliguy can also provide a dedicated closed course tailored to your specific OSC, to give you confidence on your mission and ensure you are flying safely and effectively.

Another advantage of using Heliguy’s consultation service is accessing our one-stop-shop of services, which spans hardware supply and support, training, and in-hours repairs/R&D.

This enables drone operators to standardise operations and on-board new pilots with the same level of training; especially ideal for scaling UAS programmes.

Josh said: “Standardisation is crucial when it comes to building a successful drone programme, and adding the OSC consultancy is another string to Heliguy’s bow.

“Candidates can conduct their drone training with Heliguy, safe in the knowledge that they will be supported when they operate in the real world; whether that is getting the hardware, accessing repairs, or obtaining an OSC.

“This provides longevity and enables operators to dynamically expand, scale and adjust their fleets and operations - all under the Heliguy umbrella for a standardised approach and level of service.”

How Will It Work?

The OSC consultancy has a multi-step approach - with support throughout the process - to help you build an in-depth, bespoke, and compliant document.

It all starts with a free initial consultation whereby we will discuss your aspirations and expectations - ensuring they are realistic and achievable.

Josh said: “Honesty and integrity are at the core of everything we do, so if your aspirations can be facilitated using alternative methods, we’ll inform you of such so you can make an appropriate decision.

“We want to be realistic, open, and honest. After assessing your operational needs, we will advise if you need an OSC, or not.”

Following the initial consultation, you will receive a free no-obligation quotation, together with a statement of work.

Throughout the consultation service, we’ll help you to develop an Operations Manual into a three-volume Operating Safety Case - concluding with a review prior to submission to the CAA.

We’ll develop your policies and procedures to reflect best practice and tailor these to your organisation, equipment, personnel and operations.

Josh said: “We will build an OSC which is as flexible as possible and as bespoke as it needs to be.”

Once your application is submitted to the CAA, we’ll be on-hand to offer any guidance or support, through to approval.

Each applicant will also be assigned a project manager who will keep you updated on the progress of your project. You will also have regular access to speak directly with your OSC specialist when required.

How Much Does It Cost?

It is important to understand that no two OSC applications are the same and so the quotation is an estimate of the work required to compile a suitable application to the CAA.

It should also be understood that the quotation is non-inclusive of CAA fees, although these will be outlined in the statement of work.

Currently, the CAA charges £1,799 (inclusive of 7 hours) for submission and then £257 an hour thereafter.

This can get costly, especially if your OSC needs to be rewritten and reworked.

Heliguy's OSC consultancy aims to avoid this by building a compliant OSC which obtains approval first-time round - saving you money.

However, if you do get knocked back, we will offer support to ensure you get over the line.

How Long Does It Take?

There is not a definitive time-scale, but applicants will be kept up to date throughout the process.

Josh said: “Each OSC is different, so it is hard to put a timeframe on it.

“However, for me, it isn’t about time; it is more about helping you build an OSC through an effective 360 approach.

“It isn’t just about providing a document; it is building the right document tailored to your needs and making sure you understand it, and then deliver it.”

Once an OSC is submitted to the CAA, it can take around 6-8 weeks to be processed, although this can be extended depending on the workload.

Can I Do It Myself?

The short answer is yes, Applicants can apply to the CAA for an exemption without the use of a consultation service.

An OSC template can be found in CAP 722A.

However, in the long run, going it alone can be more time consuming and cost significantly more.

Josh said: “If you’re considering compiling your own OSC then why not benefit from our review service instead?

"We will appraise your work and provide pragmatic feedback, based on our combined years of industry experience.”

What About The New Regulations?

When the new drone rules start in the UK on December 31, 2020, it is fair to say that more commercial operations can be conducted in the Open Category - enabling closer separation distances without the need for a standard permission.

However, Josh believes that this will not reduce the need for OSCs.

And as enterprise drones become larger and more sophisticated - such as the M300 RTK (pictured) - there will still be a demand for OSCs, with pilots looking to push the capabilities of this technology.

Additionally, the Pre-Defined Risk Assessments (PDRA) or Standard Scenarios (STS) which enable Extend Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) - which are being introduced under the new laws - may not be available for some time to come.

Consequently, an OSC can prevent these delays, and provide a head-start for when they do become effective.

To book your OSC consultation with Heliguy, click here.


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