Drone Emergency Procedures ProcessEmergency procedures should be detailed as part of any commercial operator’s Operations Manual. Any potential scenarios that may occur should be detailed with what steps will be followed to ensure the safest outcome possible. These scenarios can then be grouped into sections to make it easier for you to keep track of. The following stages should be included with actions the pilot and crew will take: Potential Incident Title & Symptom(s) – For the title, name the scenario that may be encountered and detail what may be included in the specific scenario. Pilot Response – Include immediate action required by the pilot to reduce risk to a point that’s ALARP. Structure points with the highest to the lowest priority. Crew Response – Detail the immediate action of the crew to reduce the risk to the lowest point possible. As above, structure points from highest to lowest importance. Post Incident Action – Detail the requirements following the incident, again with a high to low priority. This will usually include the statement “Follow the incident reporting tool.” Emergency procedures should be specific to your individual aircraft. Keep reading to see examples of the format you can choose for your emergency procedures and the levels of information that should be included. DJI Matrice 210 in Flight
Example Emergency ProceduresThe following gives two examples layout that could be included as part of a commercial drone pilot's Operations Manual. Three example situations have been included. Please note, all Operations Manual must be an original piece of work.
Example 1 - Loss of Aircraft ControlFlyaways are uncommon events that may occur due to interference with the aircraft. This example is based on a structured table with the highest priorities at the top.
|Loss of aircraft control - Aircraft not responding to pilot’s control or the aircraft is operating independently from the pilot’s control.
|Follow Up Action
Example 2 - Pilot IncapacitationPilot incapacitation should be avoided at all cost by using systems such as the 'IMSAFE' model, however, incidents can occur.
Example 3 - Public Enter Flying AreaPrior to every flight, the pilot and crew should ensure the area is clear. Using signs and having spotter will help avoid public entering the flight location. Each stage of this flowchart model should be structured highest to lowest priority.
Suggested TopicsIn addition to the three topics above, the following emergency scenarios may be applicable to your drone flight.
- Contact with aircraft
- Aircraft fire whilst in flight
- Controller Fire whilst in flight
- Aircraft structural failure
- Aircraft loss of power – battery, motor etc.
- Loss of GPS
- Loss of frequency
- Loss of aircraft lights at night
Incident ReportingFor both hobbyist and commercial drone pilots, you must report the occurrence of an incident or potential incident to the appropriate organisation. Incident reporting is vital to help prevent repeated incidents in the future and improve drone and general aviation safety. In addition to the various emergency services, there are three different bodies that incidents should be reported to. Deciding which agency to inform depends on the situation around the incident.
Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR)The most common form of incident reporting for drone pilots in the UK is via the EASA ECCAIRS Portal - aviationreporting.eu. Details of MOR can be found in the CAP 382 and European Regulation 376/2014. All incidents should be reported which could be considered to endanger or have potential to endanger any aircraft, including your drone, any person or property. This includes all of the above examples we have discussed and other factors such as bird strikes etc. For a full list of what should be included, please visit the CAA’s website. New DJI Mavic Air in Flight
AIR Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)AAIB are a division under the UK government’s Department for Transport. They investigate aircraft accidents and serious incidents defined in the EU regulation 996/2010. For drone pilots, any serious injury, fatality or flyaway. needs to be reported via the AAIB contact telephone number.
UK Airprox Board (UKAB)The UKAB are a board of aviation specialist from with civil and military aviation and air traffic control knowledge. Events should be reported to the UKAB where the pilot considers the aircraft to be too close to an aircraft to an extent where either aircraft’s safety could be compromised. This can be a wide range of distances and is not limited to a near miss. DJI Inspire 2 in Flight
SummaryHaving the correct emergency procedures in place is vital for both commercial drone operators and hobbyist. It can be the difference between a crashed drone and even the safety of the pilot, crew or the general public. Following an incident or potential incident, reporting to the correct body can help improve safety for others in the future and may even prevent larger problems in the future. It may also be a requirement under EU and UK regulation, so should be done whenever it’s required. For more information on UK drone regulation, head to our previous Insider post here.
To discuss emergency drone procedures and incident reporting, or any DJI or Freefly product, please give one of our team a call on 0191 296 1024 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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