Introduction

As the cost of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUA commonly called drones) has decreased their use in commercial operations has become more widespread and they have also become the subject of or tools in research. Their safe operation is heavily dependent upon competent and skilled operators following safe systems of work.

The University has set a standard that sets out what assurances might reasonably be sought and expected from commercial operators of drones. Where amateur or volunteer pilots offer to provide a service that would otherwise be a commercial operation, the University will hold them to the same standard as they would a commercial operator.

This standard also sets out what might reasonably be expected from "in house" operators of drones using them as research tools or as the subject of research as well as what might reasonably be expected from recreational operators of drones.

Commercial Operators

Before allowing a commercial operator to perform a drone flight over University property, then the manager contracting the operator must ensure that:

  • Permission has been obtained from the manager who controls the area over which the flight will take place;
  • The commercial operator has an up to date Operational Safety Case;
  • The commercial operator has up to date insurance;
  • The commercial operator has up to date CAA Standard Permission for Aerial Work;
  • The commercial operator has an up to date Small Unmanned Aircraft pilots qualification;
  • The commercial operator has a flight plan for each flight to be performed;
  • A take off and landing area has been agreed with the commercial operator; and
  • The planned flight has been logged with Security.

In practice the commercial operators Operational Safety Case will usually contain details of the operator's insurance, CAA Standard Permission for Aerial Work and the operator's Small Unmanned Aircraft pilots qualification.

Further information and specific details can be found in the Health and Safety Standard for Drone Operations.

"In House" Operators

Before allowing an "in house" operator to perform a drone flight over University property, then the manager supervising the operator must ensure that:

  • Permission has been obtained from the manager who controls the area over which the flight will take place;
  • A risk assessment for the flight has been completed;
  • The operators are sufficiently skilled and competent to complete the flight safely;
  • A flight plan has been completed for the flight;
  • A take off and landing area has been agreed with the operator; and
  • The planned flight has been logged with Security.

Some "in house" flights may require a CAA Permission. Permission is needed for all Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft (drone) flights commercial or otherwise within 150m of a congested area / organised open air crowd or more than 1000 persons, and/or within 50m of people or properties/objects that are not under the pilot’s control. Obtaining a CAA permission is onerous, requiring training, testing and assessment and such flights are best left to commercial operators.

Further information and specific details can be found in the Health and Safety Standard for Drone Operations.

Recreational Operators

Before performing any recreational flights over University property, the operator must obtain permission to perform their flight(s). The operator will need the permission of the Department that controls the area in which the flight is to take place. (In practice, this is most likely to be Sports Development as they control the only spaces that are suitable for recreational flying). The University will consider applications to conduct recreational flights on University property on a case by case basis.

Before allowing a recreational operator to perform a drone flight over University property, then the manager supervising the area over which the flight will be made must ensure that:

  • The recreational operator has up to date insurance;
  • The recreational operator has completed a flight plan for each flight;
  • A take off and landing area has been agreed with the operator; and
  • The planned flight has been logged with Security.

Further information and specific details can be found in the Health and Safety Standard for Drone Operations.