RPA’s are effectively used in many operations every day to reduce risk to personnel. This is achieved by eliminating the need to put a person in a dangerous situation i.e. working at heights, hazardous areas etc.
RPA’s do however introduce their own set of risks to any operation. By completing detailed risk assessments these risks can be compared to those of a non RPA operations to determine the best solution.
Taking into account the controls implemented by both Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and AIE, it is more common that RPA operations are the lower risk choice. Some of these controls are:
- All operators are required to be trained and competent
- Regulations set by CASA to ensure safe operations
- Company certified by CASA on in house safety & operational management systems
- Company certified by CASA for operations via practical examination
- Individual pilots certified by CASA (Remote pilot certificate or Controllers certificate)
- Detailed risk assessments completed
- Detailed checklists (operational, pre-flight, post flight)
- RPA maintenance regimes
- RPA mechanical and software safety systems (return to launch switches (RTL), safety nets [GPS set], loss of contact RTL features, parachutes etc.)
- Exclusion zones and barricaded launch/landing locations
- Use of spotters