- DJI FlyCart is an exciting addition to the drone delivery and heavy-lift market;
- An OSC (Operating Safety Case) would be required to operate the DJI FlyCart in the UK;
- The drone's weight would necessitate the need for an OSC. Other factors such as using its dropping mechanism and operating BVLOS would also form part of the OSC, subject to operational requirements;
- heliguy™ has an in-house OSC consultancy to help prepare submissions to the UK CAA;
- The heliguy™ consultancy has achieved permission to fly heavy-lift drones and fly extended visual line of sight.
The release of the DJI FlyCart has caused quite a stir, offering an exciting glimpse of the future and the huge potential of the drone delivery and heavy-lift market.
Initially launched in China, time will tell whether it will arrive in the UK, but there does appear to be appetite from DJI to take it overseas.
With this in mind - and while it is slightly premature at present - it is worth considering what the legislative implications would be to operate the drone in the UK.
After all, the DJI FlyCart presents multiple use-cases across many industries, including terminal to ship deliveries at ports; delivery of medical supplies; and transporting essential first aid and equipment during emergency operations.
Put simply, an Operating Safety Case (OSC) would be essential to fly DJI FlyCart in the UK. The size of the drone would automatically push the platform into OSC territory. But other factors depending on operational requirements, such as dropping items via its winch system, and flying the aircraft in a BVLOS capacity, would also require detailed submissions as part of an OSC application.
heliguy™ has an in-house OSC consultancy to help prepare submissions, and has previously helped operators achieve permissions for heavy-lift drones and extended line of sight flights.
This blog will explain the ins and outs of OSCs, why an OSC would be required for the FlyCart, and how heliguy™ can support the process.
What Is An OSC?
An OSC is a document which is created by a drone operator to apply to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for approval to fly outside of the confines of a Standard Permission within the Specific Category.
Broadly speaking, this covers missions which exceed a certain height, involve flights close to people or buildings, for operations which go beyond visual line of sight, or for platforms which weigh more than 25kg.
The purpose of an OSC application is to present sufficient evidence to the CAA that all relevant hazards and resultant safety risks have been identified and that these risks are as low as reasonably practicable.
As such, this detailed three-part Operations Manual covers comprehensive details about the type of operation, emergency response plans and safety risks, operational procedures, and the type of aircraft.
heliguy™ offers an in-house OSC consultancy to help prepare submissions to the CAA, but we'll cover this in more detail later in the article.
For more details on UK regulations, including more details on the Specific Category and OSCs, read our UK Drone Laws blog.
OSC And DJI FlyCart
So, why would the DJI FlyCart require an OSC to operate it in the UK?
First off, its weight! The image below shows just how huge the FlyCart is!
Indeed, even without batteries, it tips the scales at a whopping 42.5kg, while adding dual batteries takes it to 65kg. In total, the FlyCart can take to the sky with a maximum take-off weight if 95kg, with cargo included.
These weights all exceed the UK threshold, which stipulates that an OSC is required when deploying an aircraft over 25kg.
So, regardless of how organisations intend to use the FlyCart, an OSC would be required just to get it off the ground.
2: Dropping Of Articles
The DJI FlyCart offers two modes of transportation: Cargo and Winch.
The cargo box supports quick release and automatic weighing, and can accommodate a general-sized EPP container with a maximum volume of 70 litres.
The winch/crane can be used for scenarios where the drone cannot be landed or the goods are unable to be put into cargo. It has a cable drop method and has the ability to release items automatically when they touch the ground.
As such, further documentation would be required within an OSC submission to cover the subject of lowering and dropping items from the winch. This is because dropping of articles is not permitted without an OSC.
By its very nature, the DJI FlyCart is designed for long-range delivery missions, bringing beyond visual line of sight into the equation.
It's not to say that this drone cannot be flown within visual line of sight, and there are a magnitude of use-cases where this would be acceptable. And, in the short-term, UK organisations may well choose to prove the concept of the FlyCart in a VLOS capacity.
But, with the ability to travel up to 16km with a full load, the FlyCart is engineered to push beyond VLOS.
However, to satisfy the CAA, additional criteria would need to be met as part of an OSC application to operate BVLOS.
At this stage, though, standardised BVLOS operations - especially in uncontrolled airspace - in the UK are in a fairly embryonic state, but work is ongoing to accelerate this and the UK CAA recently published an updated roadmap, setting out plans for the future of BVLOS drone flights in UK airspace.
heliguy™ OSC Consultancy
Preparing a watertight OSC submission can be daunting, so heliguy™ has an in-house consultancy to help, as part of our drone training offering.
This streamlines the process, offering expert support, advice and client involvement throughout, and builds a proposal tailored to each client - reducing the chances of requiring costly rewrites. It is spearheaded by Josh, a former UAS Technical Surveyor at the CAA, who was previously responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications.
Josh has helped heliguy™ clients achieve ambitious OSCs, including EVLOS operations to a maximum range of 3,000m. It's worth noting that the term EVLOS has been replaced with the phrase, Beyond Visual Line of Sight with Visual Mitigation.
In one example, the CAA praised the 'clear and logical' OSC submission, saying the low number of queries within such a complex bid was 'remarkable and rare'. Find out more by reading this blog.
Josh, who has also welcomed the news that the DJI FlyCart comes equipped with a parachute, said: "Demand for OSC services is continuing to increase, with a noticeable increase in the complexity of applications recently.
"OSC applications have undergone a significant change in regulatory thought process since November 2022, which reflects the upcoming move to SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment) that is due to be implemented by the CAA.
"heliguy™ OSC has, however, continued to deliver results, working with clients to achieve Operational Authorisations for their complex operations in the UK.
"The DJI FlyCart is an exciting innovation from DJI, which I look forward to working with clients to integrate into their ecosystems. Clearly, a platform of this size will represent unique challenges, however, heliguy™ OSC has already delivered heavy lift OSC's, with platforms weighing up to 101kg successfully authorised by the UK CAA to operate."
It's important to note that OSC applicants will require drone industry experience and a weighty dossier of evidence to show they have built a use case and have proved the concept.
The fact that the FlyCart won't be landing in the UK immediately does present an ideal opportunity to prepare for this.
OSCs and DJI FlyCart In The UK: Summary
Drone delivery is a hot topic: Its potential is undoubtably huge and looking forward, it presents an exciting and innovative step within the industry.
The DJI FlyCart stimulates this and offers fresh impetuous to an emerging concept.
Its introduction to the UK won't be immediate, but the possibilities it offers, both in a VLOS and BVLOS capacity, are tantilising and the benefits are tangible.
An OSC would be required to operate the FlyCart in the UK, and applicants will need a fair bit of experience/evidence of competency under their belt before they can expect to get an OSC over the line.
But, obtaining an OSC would unlock huge opportunity for operators of this aircraft, whenever it does become available for the UK market.
And heliguy™ is here to support these applications and offer advice and support throughout.
To further discuss OSCs and to find out how our OSC consultant can help you, contact us.