4.3. Mission planning

Drone flights need to be planned and the planning process should be structured and well defined. Depending on the complexity of the operation and the results of the drone operation risk assessment a requirement for pre-approval of missions might be necessary.

Drone laws typically do not require a company to have written rules on flight operations and it is the pilot in command who has the responsibility to comply with the law. Nevertheless, it can be necessary for a company to be more explicit and structured than the law requires. This depends on the risk assessment results as well as the company’s record of drone incidents.

A mission can involve more than one pilot, but each mission must have one and only one pilot in command who has final authority over that mission.

Risks

  1. Accidents due to a lack of planning or lack of clarity as to who has final authority over a flight.
  2. Legal exposure of the company due to carelessness or lack of oversight.

Audit Steps

  1. Review the process in place to plan, prepare and approve missions.
  2. Validate that for each mission a pilot in command is designated.
  3. Review precautions and plans on how to deal with engine failures during missions.
  4. Review precautions and plans to deal with the loss of communication links during missions.
  5. Review the rules in place to prevent forced landings due to empty batteries or lack of fuel.
  6. Review the rules in place to deal with weather related risks.
  7. Review the rules in place to prevent the violation of airspace restrictions.
  8. Review the rules in place to ensure compliance with maximum weight limits per drone type.
  9. Review the rules in place to prevent the violation of altitude restrictions.
  10. Review the rules in place to prevent the violation of speed limits.
  11. Review the rules in place to prevent the violation of fly-over rules for people, vehicles, buildings, etc.
  12. Review the rules in place to ensure compliance with day-light rules.
  13. Review the rules in place to ensure compliance with visual line of sight rules.
  14. Review the rules in place to ensure compliance with minimum weather visibility rules.
  15. Observe drone flight activities and validate rule compliance.
  16. Test rules compliance by reviewing flight logs.

 

drone audit program index