The recent news article in the Examiner Live (https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/official-report-calls-ban-drones-20641274) about a drone that failed in mid-flight and plunged 70ft to hit the ground, when a ‘member of the public was 10 meters from where the aircraft landed’, calls for greater restrictions in drone use.
So just how safe are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s)?
A recent article on the sUAS website (https://www.suasnews.com/2020/11/dji-you-already-knew-drones-are-safe-heres-more-proof-by-the-numbers/) boldly claims that ‘drones are the safest form of aviation ever known’. The article ‘does the maths’ and using figures from the US in 2019, the shoes that “in more than 10 million flight hours, not a single person died from a drone flight. Unlike other forms of aviation, the accidental fatality rate for drones is zero.”
On 31st December last year new regulations came into force governing the use of drones in the UK and throughout Europe.
The new regulations are substantially different from the previous one, the main change being that there is no longer any distinction between commercial and recreational flying.
Our drone pilots at Networx3 UAV have been qualified to the highest industry requirements for commercial drone operation. The qualification was PfCO which stands for Permission for Commercial Operations. This qualification has now been changed to GVC which stands for General VLOS (Visual Line Of Sight) Certificate.
According to an article in the publication New Civil Engineer, (click here to view), changes to the use of Drones regulations on December 31st 2020 could mean that amateur and unqualified drone operators could enter the expanding drone inspection and surveying market, quoting ‘bargain-basement rates’ for their work.
The reason for this is that in the new regulations there is no longer any distinction whatsoever between commercial and recreational flying. The new law states that any pilot using a drone weighing over 250grammes needs to complete the CAA’s official drone theory test in order to receive a digital flyer ID. This does streamline legislation, but drones are now classed as low, medium or high risk largely dependent on their size and capabilities, and with most drones being in the low-risk category, it opens up the commercial market to much smaller, potentially amateur operatives.