We want to offer our clients a fast and effective service when it comes to working in areas where a standard PfCO permission just doesn’t cut it. Often our clients need us to be able to acquire shots in a very shot time-frame. The additional work required to control large areas of public space, especially when road closures and traffic management would be required, can often make this impossible. We have delivered a very concise Operating Safety Case that shows how we can operate much closer to people and structures outside of our control, in a very safe manner. This has afforded us additional permissions that distinguish us from 95% of other UK drone operators.
A standard Permission for Commercial Operation from the CAA allows an operator to fly a drone within certain distances of People, Vehicles, Vessels and Structures not under their control. These distances have been put in place to ensure the safety of those not involved with the operation. These restrictions can make operating in a congested area, such as a major town or city, quite tricky and time consuming, and also quite costly. In order to reduce these distances an operator is required to submit evidence, in the form of an Operating Safety Case, that they can mitigate the risks involved.
We have shown that we are safe to operate in the environments and conditions proposed within our Operating Safety Case. A commitment to the safe operation of Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft is at the core of our business. We undertake risk assessments and where required, instigate mitigating actions as detailed within our Operating Safety Case for all operations we carry out under the premise of any additional permissions issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.
All our Operators receive training that goes beyond the standard required to pass the basic NQE competency assessment. In addition, all pilots have extensive experience operating both “traditional” model aircraft and drones. Before they are given authority to conduct commercial operations under the conditions of our Operating Safety Case, confirmation of operator competency and above average capabilities are verified through a combination of continuity training, assessment and supervision which is outlined within our Operating Safety Case. The procedures that we have in place gives us the confidence that all personnel nominated within our Operating Safety Case are competent to operate safely.
Our equipment is specifically selected for its reliability, stability and suitability for purpose. We are confident that all of the drones detailed in our Operating Safety Case can be operated safely in the environments and conditions in which we use them.
In aviation terms, under ‘Just Culture’ conditions, individuals are not blamed for ‘honest errors’, but are held accountable for wilful violations and gross negligence.
Personnel are less willing to inform an organisation about their own errors and other safety problems or hazards if they are afraid of being punished or prosecuted. Such lack of trust of employees prevents management lines from being properly informed of actual risk. Line Managers are then unable to make the correct decisions in order to improve safety. However, a totally “no-blame” culture is neither feasible nor desirable. Most people desire some level of accountability when a mishap occurs.
In an attempt to solve that problem, J. Reason described a “Just Culture” as an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged, and even rewarded, for providing essential safety-related information but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Hence, a Just Culture supports learning from unsafe acts in order to improve the level of safety awareness through the improved recognition of safety situations and helps to develop conscious articulation and sharing of safety information. Consequently, a “Just Culture” can be regarded as an enabler and even indicator of a good Safety Culture.