In the modern era, Commercial drones have taken the world by storm. They offer precision, quick operations, high-resolution images, low-altitude and high-risk area surveillance, and green-energy flights at significantly economical prices. Thanks to these benefits, commercial drones play their part in real estate, construction, mining, agriculture, town planning, risk mitigation, and logistics.
The global commercial market was valued at 24.39 Billion in 2022. In the future, the market is forecasting a CAGR of more than 46.03% by reaching 504.4 Billion by 2030. The technology is poised to change the future of commercial aviation.
To avail of this opportunity, you must ensure commercial drone flight safety. It is the first step towards building customer trust and attracting more business opportunities. This blog provides a framework for ensuring safety and compliance in commercial drone operations.
Who Governs the Safety of Drone Flights in the UAE?
The UAE general civil aviation authority is responsible for the safety of drone flights. The GCAA divides drone flights into recreational and commercial types. The operator and a drone for both flights should be registered before flying.
A drone operator must pass the UAS GCCA exam for commercial flights. It is mandatory for any organization or person looking to use drone photography for professional work. A drone pilot can apply at the official website of GCAA for it. The test determines a pilot’s flying capability and understanding of the UAE’s unmanned aircraft laws. After getting the certification, you need special approval before starting each operation.
The general safety rules provided by GCCA are:
- Drones should only fly during day time on clear weather days.
- Pilots must comply with the regulations of each emirate.
- Ideally, the flying range shall be within line of sight, at most 400 feet.
- The drone pilot and control center should have a direct radio link.
- Drone shall only be flown at approved flying zones.
- In an emergency or accident, always call GCAA on the hotline: +971 50 655 0466 and E-mail: Customercare@gcaa.gov.ae.
Framework for Ensuring Safety and Compliance in Drone Operations
As an operation, you should follow this simple 5-step formula for safety and compliance in drone operations.
A. Risk assessment and management
It is critical to assess all the potential risks before you fly a drone. In drone flights, the risks are mainly associated with airspace and climate conditions. An operator should realize potential dangers in the flying path.
A drone can crash after encountering:
- Power lines and infrastructure
To fly drones, you need to manage all these obstacles. The flight path should be decided to minimize the danger.
B. Pilot training and certification
Pilots are the brains behind drones. You will have a safe flight if the operating brain is qualified. For that, all drone operators should get the required certifications.
In UAE, there are many training institutes that can help you pass GCAA exams. They guide a pilot in flying a drone, understanding local regulations, maintenance of equipment, flight-path selections, and encountering dangerous situations. So, always get adequate training before starting a commercial flight.
C. Equipment maintenance and inspection
Before a flight, the drone should be in first-class condition. Drone operations should do periodic inspections and fill out the drone checklist. It should be done every two weeks. A typical drone checklist should include structural, battery, and software inspections.
A structural inspection includes:
- Chassis checkup and cleaning
- Check for loose screws
- Check for propellers
- Check for wiring
For Batter inspection, you should
- Check battery covers for bulges or outward damage
- Check the charges ratings
- Charge all the batteries to see their working
For software inspection
- Update drone firmware
- Update control room software
If a drone passes this checklist, it is ready for aerial flights.
D. Flight Monitoring
Whether your drone use is for commercial or recreational purposes, drone monitoring is critical for safe flights. A drone should use RTK- real-time kinematic technology to monitor the drone continuously. The technology utilises highly accurate GPS settings to identify any deviations from the flight path. Using this, you can keep the drone at the selected path under the visual line of sight.
E. Emergency response protocols
In manned aircraft systems, pilots undergo comprehensive training in dealing with emergencies. In UAS systems, this area has largely been untouched. However, to ensure safety, operations need to learn about emergency handling.
In a drone flight, you can have the following emergencies:
|Motor Failure||Move away from the population and alert the authorities.|
|Loss of Control Link||Follow instructions on reconnecting, and return home engaged as soon as possible.|
|GPS System Failure||Establish the connection or follow the return flight to get back.|
|Power Failure||Alert the authorities|
Commercial drones are a precise, cost-effective, and AI-based alternative to typical manned air crafts. Technology is revolutionizing our approach toward marketing, real estate, urban planning, logistics, and other related industries. However, to ensure safe flights, it is necessary to follow local regulations, hire licensed pilots, develop a drone maintenance plan, set the right flight path, and make a drone monitoring plan.
If you are an Emirati looking to incorporate drone technology into your business, contact GIS Drones. We offer a diverse drone fleet and a qualified team to ensure a safe and successful drone operation.