Certain Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Components Thereof, DN 3335

The Commission has received a complaint and a submission pursuant to § 210.8(b) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure filed on behalf of Autel Robotics USA LLC on August 30, 2018. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain unmanned aerial vehicles and components thereof.

The complaint names as respondents: SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. of China; DJI Europe B. V. of the Netherlands; DJI Technology Inc. of Burbank, CA; iFlight Technology Co., Ltd. of Hong Kong; DJI Baiwang Technology Co. Ltd of China; DJI Research LLC of Palo Alto, CA; DJI service LLC of Cerritos, CA; and DJI Creative Studio LLC of Burbank, CA. The complainant requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order and impose a bond during the 60-day review period pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1337(j).

Proposed respondents, other interested parties, and members of the public are invited to

file comments, not to exceed five (5) pages in length, inclusive of attachments, on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or § 210.8(b) filing. Comments should address whether issuance of the relief specifically requested by the complainant in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that:

(i) explain how the articles potentially subject to the requested remedial orders are

used in the United States;

(ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating

to the requested remedial orders;

(iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or

third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if

they were to be excluded;

(iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant’s licensees, and/or third party

suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to

the requested exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a

commercially reasonable time; and

(v) explain how the requested remedial orders would impact United States

consumers.

Written submissions on the public interest must be filed no later than by close of

business, eight calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

There will be further opportunities for comment on the public interest after the issuance of any final initial determination in this investigation. Any written submissions on other issues should be filed no later than by close of business nine calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Complainant may file a reply to any written submission no later than the date on which complainant’s reply would be due under § 210.8(c)(2) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.8(c)(2)).

https://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/337/dn_3335_notice_08302018sgl.pdf

Repeal the Repeal 336 Madness!

Quote from AeroVironment Founder Dr Paul MacCready:

“Anybody who’s not interested in model airplanes must have a screw loose someplace,” he said in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1992.

The “336 needs to be repealed for the commercial drone industry to move forward.” Propagandists may feign interest in model airplanes, but I think they may have more than just a screw loose someplace. The “stuff” (charity ends right here) being pushed out and regurgitated by the drone cult client media is counter-productive to an actual viable domestic aerospace industry. The venerable quadcopter itself and all of the innovation of the do-it-yourself drone movement came out of the hobby. The whole development period between 2007 and 2016 done in the last decade of innovation was possible because the hobby was unregulated.

The claptrap rationale “it won’t stifle innovation” or “the hobby has changed so much” is just fatuous garbage and is indicative of a crop of app-clowns who’ve never held a credible drone job. Maybe the new and ever-evolving definition of “drone expert” means you don’t know how the Google thing works besides cashing the check? The industry should use this dubious propaganda to gauge the severity of the psychosis amongst the drone experts, bonus visionaries, and propaganda peddlers.

Many aviation pioneers including but not limited to Sir George Cayley, Howard Hughes, The Horten Brothers, Samuel Langley (who inspire the Wright Bros), Dr Paul MacCready, Alphonse Penaud, and John Stringfellow, to name a few, built and flew model aircraft.

How did we get to a place where folks can advocate for more regulation on the RC hobbyist? Well, there are several reasons, but primarily it is the culture of capitulation that has come home to roost. The protracted battle has worn down the resistance. Not that it was a good fight, but a fight for power, market share, and mandated members. I know it is never popular to blame the victim, but the fault rests firmly on the shoulders of those that have allowed their members to be disenfranchised while trying to monetize the charter. Got to grow (scale) the business!

Sure, I will concede that there are “issues” with the original language, but there is a political reason for it. You must understand that in those days it was “write your own language” (within reason), and that was the best that advocates, experts, and visionaries (pre-bonus) could come up with. A certain association thought they were going to get the regulatory blessing as the “CBO.” Readers should be able to deduce what got in the way of good regulation besides just the best of intentions.

Now, I’ve always given the AMA a wide regulatory berth, as I had believed that they had the hobbyist’s best interest in mind and purportedly knew what they were doing. Yes, warning bells were ringing along the way (since 2005), and I will say that I am less than encouraged by the deafening silence now. In this instance, the silence is not golden, as it is feeding into the notion that no one cares about the hobbyist, when the opposite is true. The unaffiliated hobbyist has no voice (not just the commercial end-user), and the FAA has known it since I brought it up in 2008. The estimate given by AMA on the number of unaffiliated RC Hobbyists was around 5000 during the sUAS ARC. I said more like a few hundred thousand, but the FAA went with the AMA numbers. Those are back in the heady days when folks were still openly laughing at the notion of a $1000 Chinese UAV.

The venerable quadcopter itself and the all of the innovation of the do-it-yourself drone movement came out of the RC hobby. The whole development period between 2007 and 2016, the lost decade of innovation, was done underground or under the hobby exemption. Commercial deniability went full blown at DIY Drones with the “I am an amateur” thing, and the flames were fanned by inaction and institutional denial over at the FAA. Any notion that more regulation on the hobbyist won’t stifle future innovation by the app-clowns doesn’t add up unless, of course, you’re talking about Shenzhen China. The UAS industry sprang right off of the catalogue pages of Tower Hobbies, and other company catalogs and many firsts happened out of the modelling community.

Some records to chew on between sips of your soy chai latte – http://www.gsal.org/articles/worldrecords.htm

When I read the AMA Government Relations Blog, I see shades of the world’s largest unmanned advocacy group junior. It is disconcerting because the AUVSI is chugging down the track full steam towards the Trestle Buster Train Wreck Award. Why anyone in the right mind would want to emulate a 20% loss of membership in an industry they forecasted to be worth 82 billion USD is beyond me. I am still on the fence on an AMA story, but I’m sure many of you have already deduced that there is trouble in Muncie.

Give me some more kneejerk regulation –

Very few enforcement actions were taken as a result of registration even though that emergency sell-out was going to fix all of these reoccurring ills. The anecdotal sales evidence would suggest a significant slowdown on everything from the 250-gram mall kiosk toys and up. Point-of-sale registration with a written explanation that the FAA had authority and rule for the NAS including multi-rotors may have nipped a lot of this ignorance-of-the-law chicanery in the bud. But guess what: money talks and BS walks. Can ham-fisted mistakes like these go down under the pretence of safety?

LE wants ID and Tracking before we can fly BVOLS and over people, and that is where we are repeatedly told the big money is. I don’t give a rest’s nest what LE wants if you are waiting for the FAA to produce something viable and pragmatic. You may want to retool your career to something more financially substantial, albeit debasing, like lobbyist (aka swamp creature), advocacy group or cellphone app CEO, or Instagram model now. The notion that re-education is going to kick in magically or this problem is going to work itself out is as laughable as the notion of commonsense regulation. You can’t have a good drone regulatory framework without complimentary enforcement.

Who’ll be going first in the Forrest Gump think-alike contest by clamouring for BVLOS (EVLOS, as you still need a VO even after the $30K training outlay), or over people letting the Best Buy flying monkeys loose on the end-user in the NAS and John Q. Public on the ground? Hey man, I don’t want to hear your negativity about a practical test for Part 107 or airworthiness standards for the toys when we could shaft the hobbyist instead. Yeah, that will work like a charm.

All you need is some #UTM, brother –

Sure, NASA is blowing through millions faster than the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel run, but when is the #UTM going to be up and running for us to make my forecasted mega-billions? The reality of that boondoggle is a bring down! FAA missed the September 2015 mandate, and their progress propaganda whitewarsh is getting mighty thin. I’ll be ready to throw the hobbyist under the bus when the UTM is up and running everywhere and certified. Until then, POS registration and reclassification from “toy” to “aircraft!”

On to Professor Egan’s chance for extra credit –

Here is your chance to be a sUAS News cub reporter—if you can wade through the maze of flim-flamers, grafter, hucksters, snake oil salespeople, swamp creatures, and the occasional sprinkling of honest folks. These are the follow-up questions for others who have the energy and intestinal fortitude to ask.

  1. What happened to the FAA Drone Registration Task Force “accountability and education” fix all of the experts gave consensus on?
  2. How many enforcement actions are there currently?
  3. Has anyone quantified the risk to the NAS that drones pose?
  4. When does the FAA plan to have UTM up and running?
  5. Any estimates on what UTM is going to cost for nationwide implementation?
  6. What is the progress with the UAS IPP? How come we do not hear good news from all of the sites?
  7. Is the UAS IPP progress on target?

The First Atlantic Crossing By Drone

On August 20th the Aerosonde Laima lifted off from Bell Island, Newfoundland and landed in a meadow in South Uist, Scotland after 26 hours and 45 minutes in the air! This was accomplished without a chase plane or international coordination between CAA’s. This feat may not be as exciting or met with the same fanfare and prize money as was displayed for Charles Lindbergh some seventy-one years before.

Fanfare or not, this represents an engineering achievement that we in the unmanned aviation community can rally around and take pride in. A milestone that proves to the world that after years of development, innovation, trial and error, UAS have finally reached some parallels with manned aviation.

Some of you may be thinking the author may have issues with math, as Lucky Lindy made his historic flight in 1927: 1927 plus 71 equals 1998, and it is 2018, a full twenty years off on the mark! No, I’ve got the dates correct. And it was August 20th, 1998, a full twenty years ahead of General Atomics effort.

I know that many of you are used to reading about the marvel of the first candy bar or bag of chips delivered down the end of the driveway by companies with more money than God. But this was the culmination of two friends, Tad McGeer and Andy von Flotow, having dinner and conversations about engineering. You can read Tad McGeer’s accounting of this exciting achievement from February 1999 here.

https://aerovel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Laima_the-first-Atlantic-crossing-by-unmanned-aircraft1.pdf

More information on what Dr McGeer is up to these days –

https://aerovel.com

A Proposal for Counter UAS Regulation

Andrew Shelley

This article summarises key points from a paper recently published in the New Zealand policy journal Policy Quarterly. The paper sets out the rationale for “Counter UAS” (C-UAS), addresses the legal issues that arise in New Zealand, and proposes a licensing regime to enable the implementation of C-UAS.

It is increasingly clear that drones give rise to potentially significant risks that may not be managed well by our existing regulatory framework. A malicious actor could easily fly a drone into the path of an airliner, deliver contraband to prisons, or drop an improvised explosive device over a sports stadium, without ever being at risk of detection by authorities. A significant risk also exists that an individual who is negligent or reckless could also cause harm by flying into the path of an aircraft, or crashing at a public event.

Licensing is proposed by some as a means of controlling drone operations. However, licensing, even when coupled with surveillance and enforcement, does not prevent unlicensed individuals from engaging in the activity, or licensed individuals from undertaking the activity in an unsafe manner. Notwithstanding laws against speeding, drink driving, and use of cellphones while driving, licensed drivers continue to do all three, and do so while driving registered vehicles. Licensing will not stop the malicious or negligent use of drones.

C-UAS systems that defend against unmanned aerial systems are emerging internationally as a way to address the latent threat. The most troublesome legal difficulty with adopting C-UAS in New Zealand is the prohibitions against destroying an “aircraft in service” or causing “damage to an aircraft in service which renders the aircraft incapable of flight” contained in the Aviation Crimes Act 1972. While these prohibitions are based on the Montreal Convention, New Zealand failed to include the qualification that these actions are only prohibited if performed “unlawfully”.

Other legal difficulties include the anti-hacking provisions of the Crimes Act 1961, which would make it difficult to utilise or sell systems that manipulate the drone’s control system, such as “protocol manipulation”, to control the drone or force it to land in a specific location.

The legal issues described above suggest that specific legislative authority may be required for C-UAS, as has occurred in the United States. As with other potentially hazardous activities, the ability to operate could be restricted to those that have been licensed to do so. Unlike flying a drone, the operation of a C-UAS system is relatively conspicuous and a licensing regime is likely to be effective.

The standard licensing model employed in aviation is also an appropriate model for licensing C-UAS. A rule for obtaining a licence for the operation of C-UAS systems could be promulgated, with potential operators of C-UAS systems being required to submit operating procedures for approval in order to obtain a licence. The licensing process adopted by the CAA issues operator licences for a maximum period of 5 years, ensuring that the licensed entity is subject to regular regulatory scrutiny. As C-UAS technology matures the need for licences may be obviated, or alternatively the increasing capabilities of C-UAS systems may reinforce the need for such systems.

A full copy of the published paper is available to download from SSRN.

PilotAware Mode-S/3D

Soon you will be able to see even more aircraft with the latest PilotAware innovation.

With an estimated 5000+ UK GA aircraft equipped with Mode-S transponders, it’s a pity that the technology hasn’t been available to plot local Mode-S targets on a tablet or navigational aid. Here’s the good news, it soon will be!

PilotAware is pleased to announce that for the past 6 months it has been conducting a proof of concept trial for the next real step change in situational awareness. Mode-S/3D.

Working in close collaboration with 360Radar, which has 800+ receivers in the UK, for the first time it is now possible to up-link multilateration (MLAT) data to enhance the position of Mode-S equipped aircraft detected by PilotAware. Mode-S/3D allows the accurate height, received from the Mode-S transmission, to be augmented with the X, Y co-ordinates available from the MLAT feed at the instant of the timestamp within the accuracy margins of MLAT.

Instantaneous location information is passed to and displayed by the navigation aid as normal. As the data ages the size of the ambiguity, due to the transition of the target from the time of reception, is regularly displayed. This can be on the PilotAware RADAR screen or Flight-Bags that implement GDL90 and include NACp for denoting a degraded target. Recalculated MLAT data resets the process after a few seconds.

Visit the PilotAware Stand at the LAA Rally Sywell Airfield 31st Aug – 2nd September to have a demonstration and learn more about this amazing development. PilotAware is located in the Homebuilders Marquee.

The older the data the larger the ambiguity circle which resets to zero after a few seconds as new data becomes available. For the first time, this allows the user to be aware of the Mode-S target location as well as the usual vertical separation.

  • Flight trials will be increased starting Sep 2018 and last for a minimum of 3-6 months
  • 5-7 OGN-R sites will be included in the trial.
  • The PilotAware Engineering Team will undertake, validation, verification, range, capacity and precision tests on the network
  • Following this, a beta release will be provided for expert users to provide feedback.
  • There will then be a network wide roll-out.
  • This will allow PilotAware users to detect PilotAware, FLARM, ADSB-out and Mode-S/3D aircraft as targets with a bearing on an in-cockpit screen. Totally

    PilotAware committed to seeing the maximum aircraft available at the lowest possible cost.
    PilotAware, FLARM, ADS-B and now Mode-S/3D with Mode-C as a bearingless target.

    https://pilotaware.com

Australian Forestry Company Uses Drones To Save Koalas

australian company uses drones to save koalas

Although not listed as endangered by any governing body, the modern koala population is in dire straits. Urbanization, deforestation, and unregulated habitat destruction have all put these animals at great risk of dying out entirely. It’s time for loggers in Australia to start acting more responsibly – and one company is meeting the challenge with the latest drone technology.

Hazelwood Forestry, a company based in Victoria, Australia, harvests eucalyptus and pine trees from the Hancock Victoria Plantations in the Strzelecki Ranges of the Latrobe Valley. Koalas famously love eucalyptus leaves, and are therefore in extreme danger during tree-felling operations. Companies like Hazelwood will often begin each work day with a “koala spotting” check, but this has traditionally been a difficult and lengthy manual process that doesn’t always produce accurate results. Even young eucalyptus trees can have incredibly dense foliage that makes it hard to spot any small animals hiding in the branches.

That’s why, after six and a half years of manual spotting, Hazelwood decided to purchase a drone equipped with thermal imaging software and take their practice to the next technological level. They have not named the specific make or model of drone used, but described it as a “spidery-looking” ‘copter that weighs 22 pounds, can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, and was specifically chosen because of its ability to withstand strong winds. Eloise Cluning, the company’s co-owner and operator, said that “It’s difficult to move around, and is probably the biggest off-the-shelf registered drone you can buy.” This is clearly one of the heavy lifting drones that we wrote about here, most likely the Versadrones Heavy Lift Octocopter.

australian company drone to save koalas

Once equipped with the thermal imaging sensors, this drone can scan the thick tree foliage for heat signatures. Once something living has been spotted, a Hazelwood employee has to check to see if it’s a koala, a wombat, or a bird that can be shooed away. The thermal imaging is not yet good enough to distinguish individual animals based on heat alone. Rain or fog can make the animals even harder to spot. However, the technology has still allowed Hazelwood to act quicker and more accurately to protect koalas from death or injury.

If a koala is spotted, Hazelwood has a permit from Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which gives them the right to humanely capture and translocate these animals to somewhere that’s out of harm’s way.

So far, the project has worked brilliantly, reducing the amount of time it takes to spot koalas by a significant amount. But there has been one major obstacle that has come up time and time again. It’s not the koalas themselves, who are fairly passive. It’s actually the eagles that are native to the area, as Cluning explains:

“Generally in the dark, the eagles leave us alone, but they definitely work in packs. Once, there were five eagles, I got chased as I brought the drone in to land…One actually threw the drone into a tree. Eagles were circling as we retrieved the drone.”

It seems that the heavy duty drone is too large for a single eagle to attempt to take on – they shy away from the large noise and fearsome shape of the aircraft. But if there are several eagles together, they perceive the drone as a threat and will attack it. Obviously, these birds of prey have never read our rules for flying etiquette!

It’s clear that this technology still faces a few challenges – “kinks to be worked out,” you might say. But we at Dronethusiast are proud of Cluning and her company for refusing to take the easy way out and trying to make sure that conservation isn’t just the right thing to do, but the easy thing to do, for them and for any foresters who use their techniques and improve upon them. We all have a responsibility to take care of our beautiful world, and with the affordable, practical, and radical drone technology that is now available, doing so has become easier than ever.

Note: This article was edited on 4 September 2018. Previous versions of this article inaccurately suggested that the thermal imaging software used was manufactured by Kespry Inc. A representative from Kespry informed us that the company has not shipped out any thermal product yet and was not involved in this project.

Mike is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist who also loves flying drones. He has owned and managed Dronethusiast since 2015 and enjoys writing reviews and analyzing different topics in the fast moving Drone technology space. Along with the editorial team at Dronethusiast Mike spends hundreds of hours each year analyzing and studying different drones and their tech specs to help consumers find the best products for their needs. Contact Mike by using the Dronethusiast.com Contact page or reach out at mike@dronethusiast.com.

India Enters The Drone Age With New Policy

India Enters The Drone Age With New Policy

For two years, the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India has been debating what a legislative framework for drone usage should look like. In fact, operating even a small drone was an offense punishable by imprisonment. But at long last, on August 27th, the ministry’s sub-body on civil aviation (known as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA) has announced an official policy for the commercial and recreational use of unmanned aerial vehicles that will go into effect on December 1st, 2018.

The new policy, which can be read in full here, classifies drones into one of five categories. “Nano” drones weigh 250 grams or less, “Micro” drones weigh up to 2 kilograms, “Small” drones weigh up to 25 kilograms, “Medium” drones weigh between 25 and 150 kilograms, and “Large” drones include anything heavier than 150 kilograms. No registration is required for Nano drones, and no permission is necessary if you want to operate Nano drones below 50 feet or to operate Micro drones below 200 feet.

In all other cases, civil aviation requirements will now apply to commercial drones and you will have to obtain an identification number for your vehicle. To do this, a business or individual must provide the government with valid PAN cards and GST identification (GSTIN) numbers. The maximum weight the drone can carry as a payload and the purpose for which the drone will be used will also be part of the application, as will the exact specifications and make of the aircraft.

radio frequency identification india drones policies

The policy also requires all Indian drones to be fitted with RFID (radio frequency identification) and GSM (global system for mobile) cards so that the drone can be tracked. Drones must also use secondary surveillance radar and automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast transponders – the same equipment that is used by an air traffic control tower to establish the identity, altitude and position of an airplane. This may make Indian drones prohibitively expensive and will certainly increase their weight, which may cause problems for manufacturers in the long run.

If you’re a drone user who’s excited to start flying under the new policy, here’s what you need to know. You can only fly a non-Nano drone that has been registered with the government and given a unique identification number. Non-Nano drones also cannot be flown except by a pilot who has acquired an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit.

You can only fly drones at a maximum height of 400 feet and the drone must remain within your line of sight at all times (which is good practice anyway.) The policy also specifies in great detail which areas of the country qualify as green zones (where most registered drones should be able to fly), which areas qualify as yellow or red zones (where you must receive permission to fly), and which areas are “No Drone Zones.” No Drone Zones include the areas around airports, near international borders, and the air around vital strategic locations and military operations. State Secretariat Complexes in state capitals and Vijay Chowk in Delhi are also considered No Drone Zones.

The Indian government says that the new drone policy is part of its initiative to create “new and exciting applications to propel India’s economy forward.” It’s also well known that India wants to create a drone ecosystem that is specifically designed to encourage more manufacturers to start making drones in India, instead of importing them from countries like Israel. The goal to create a “Made In India” drone economy probably explains why the policy requires drones to have so much specific and expensive equipment, and why the policy is going to include new limitations on imports.

Still, overall the policy is very much a good thing for the country. Drones are useful for responding to emergencies and are becoming an increasingly central part of agriculture, which is still a major part of the Indian economy. Drones can be used to safely carry heavy loads, to help scan the Earth for archaeology or construction, and for many other useful purposes. Plus, they’re just a lot of fun, with drone toys and recreational hobby drones fast becoming one of the biggest sectors in the entire industry.

What do you think of the new policy? Is it too restrictive? Should it be kinder on imports? Or is it exactly what India needs to join the new world of drones and quadcopters? Let us know in the comments!

Flock – How to become a professional drone pilot in the UK

Thinking of starting a career in drones? Then look no further! In this post, we walk you through each step to becoming a fully-fledged professional drone pilot.

The potential of the drone industry

It’s a really exciting time to join the industry, with new drone related jobs emerging every day. And the stats back it up, with PwC recently predicting that over 628,000 people will be employed in the ‘drone economy’ by 2030 in the UK.

Before you can join the growing industry as a professional drone pilot (typically referred to as commercial operators), you’ll need to obtain a licence called a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). This is a legal requirement in the UK, and the licence is awarded by a governing body called the CAA.

To help you on your new journey, we have put together this step by step guide which walks you through each step of getting your PfCO. Let’s dive in!

1. Pick your specialty

Before you start, you need to know what you’re going to do with your business. The drone industry is growing fast and there are a tonne of opportunities out there.

Make sure you know what you want to bring to the market. Are you a wedding photographer? Do you want to specialise in surveillance? Are you interested in 3D mapping?

Know how you’re planning to operate and don’t forget to check out your competition! It’s important that you get a good understanding of what is being offered in your area, and how other commercial drone operators price their services.

2. Find the right flight school

The first step to getting your PfCO is booking onto a training course with a flight school. You’ll often see flight schools referred to as National Qualified Entities (NQEs). The length of the course depends on which NQE you choose, but most are around 2–5 days long.

The first part of your course is known as the Ground Training, which normally consists of a few days of theory learning in a classroom setting. This will be followed by a theory test on flight safety and regulations.

Your NQE will also give you guidance on how to create your Operations Manual. This is a document which you need to submit to the CAA as part of your PfCO application. It includes information about how your future business will operate, along with detailed information on how you will ensure you fly your drone(s) in a safe manner.

We want to help you find a course provider that suits you, and we work closely with several NQEs throughout the country. You can find a list with their location, contact information and course descriptions here.

3. Take your flight assessment

Once you have passed your theory test, it’s time for the flight assessment. You will be tested on your ability to plan for, and safely perform, a drone flight. You will also be asked to demonstrate different manoeuvres as requested by your examiner. Don’t forget it’s a requirement to have insurance for your flight assessment.

Here at Flock, we provide instant insurance for your flight assessment, with prices starting from £5.95. It’s approved by all the NQEs we work with, and we won’t tie you in to any long-term commitments. Find out how to get your cover in just 30 seconds here.

4. Get insured

Once you have passed your flight assessment and completed your Operations Manual, you’re nearly ready to send off your application to the CAA.

Before you do this, you’ll need to take out commercial drone insurance. This is because in the UK, it’s a legal requirement that commercial drone pilots have EC785/2004 compliant insurance when flying. As such, part of your application to the CAA involves submitting a proof of insurance document.

There are a range of drone insurance providers out there, offering a variety of insurance policies with varying degrees of cover and long-term commitments. These range from traditional annual insurance policies, to the ‘pay-as-you-fly’ option that we offer at Flock; with our commercial policies starting from £4.95 a day. It’s worthwhile researching the different options, and finding the insurance that’s right for you.

We’ve worked closely with the CAA to make getting your required proof of insurance document as easy as possible. We call it a Cover Note, and you can find out how to get yours (for free) with just the tap of a button here.

5. Send off your application

Once you have completed your Operations Manual, got your proof-of-insurance document and recommendation from your NQE, you are ready to submit your application. You can do this digitally on the CAA’s customer portal.

The CAA aims to process applications in 10 working days, but this can sometimes take a bit longer depending on volume. As you’re waiting for your licence, make sure you keep practicing. You want to enter the industry as prepared as possible, and as the saying goes- practice makes perfect!

6. Start your new career

When you receive your PfCO, you’re all set to go! You can officially start your career as a commercial drone pilot; advertising your services, earning money, and growing your skills and business.

Have a question?

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us via the instant chat on our website- www.flockcover.com. If you’d prefer to talk over the phone, you can call us on 01234 480260. We hope you’ve found this guide useful, and we wish you the best of luck on your new journey!

Flock is a London-based, VC and Government backed insurtech startup, who have partnered with Allianz to launch Europe’s first pay-as-you-fly drone insurance app, Flock Cover. The app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices.

The CUAS Coalition Expands to the UK with Hex Horus

The CUAS Coalition is proud to announce we are expanding to the UK under the leadership of Ryan McCready of Hex Horus as our newest Director of Europe. Global CUAS protections and regulations must be changed in countries who have laws that prevent their use.

The CUAS Coalition has relationships with the US Department of State to help with coordinate security efforts. We provide expertise in regulatory creation to help those countries in need of legislative support to change their laws. We also offer many unique opportunities to become a partner in our US Government network including military and protection departments and agencies. We welcome Ryan on board and a round of applause for our continued growth.

Ryan McCready is the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Hex Horus Ltd; a specialist agnostic CUAS Defense and Security company based in the United Kingdom. He is part of the UK’s Aerospace Defence & Security drone platform and counter drone (DPAC) Special Interest Group, who support the CUAS sector and shape legislation and standards. Ryan is a British Army veteran, of 16 years, achieving Warrant Officer Class 2, enduring operational deployments all across the globe. Deployments included Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Iraq Afghanistan and Ukraine. He was involved in counter-insurgency operations, police support operations and building partner capacity support, where he saw first-hand the evolution of hybrid warfare tactics and emerging threats, such as the nefarious use of commercial UAS. Ryan spent years as a forward air controller, more commonly referred to as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) during some of the most kinetic times in Afghanistan, providing Close Air Support (CAS) and airspace management for multi-national forces, including the US Marine Corp MEU, UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade and other ISAF contributing nations.

Ryan was awarded the prestigious Accolade of the UK’s Most Outstanding Soldier Award 2011, presented by HRH Prince William and Princess Katherine, for his conduct and efforts on operations in Helmand province Afghanistan; of note, he was wounded in action (WIA).

More recently in 2017, US (4*) General John Nicholson Jr US FOR-A Commander awarded Ryan NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal for his personal contributions towards CUAS on Operation Resolute Support Afghanistan, in developing CUAS strategic framework, operational support and lifesaving tactics. Ryan is now an entrepreneur, active in the Defence and Security industry, making the world a safer place to live. He resides in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children.