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Emergency procedures

This page describes the emergency situations that may arise and how they should be dealt with. The procedures set out actions for both the remote pilot and the crew. These measures will be recapped during the crew briefing before a flight and all crew members will have access to full instructions during an operation.

Pilot incapacitation

Pilot action

Activate RTH (Return to Home) or BL (Back Landing) if possible.

Crew action

  • Pick up controller.
  • Confirm launch area clear.
  • Monitor video display (if still functioning).
  • Initiate Return to Home procedure OR land the UAS if trained to do so.
  • Administer First Aid to pilot as appropriate
  • Call Emergency Services if required

Notes

Administer first aid to pilot.

When Return to Home is initiated: If below 20m the UAS will climb to 20m (if already above 20m the UAS will stay at the same height)

The UAS will return directly to the launch position, hover for 15 seconds then gradually descend until it lands, and the motors will automatically disarm.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Airspace incursion

Pilot action

  • Climb or descend as appropriate.
  • Alert crew to issue.
  • When location of other air user has been identified move directly away, land if safe to do so.

Crew action

  • Prioritise the identification of the location of the other air user.
  • Keep pilot informed.
  • Ensure landing location is clear.

Notes

Record any relevant information relating to the airspace incursion for UK AirProx Board.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Ground incursion

Pilot action

  • Climb and move UAS as appropriate and achieve suitable separation.
  • Alert crew to issue.
  • When location of people has been identified move away, land if safe to do so.

Crew action

  • Prioritise identification of the location of the person.
  • Keep pilot informed.
  • Confirm launch/landing area clear
Loss of control data link

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to issue.
  • Attempt to regain control of the UAS by changing flight mode from its current mode to an alternate and back.

Crew action

  • Ensure landing location is clear.
  • Monitor video display (if still functioning).
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.

Notes

UAS will enter a ‘failsafe’ mode in this situation after 3 seconds.

When failsafe is initiated: If below 20m the UAS will climb to 20m (if already above 20m the UAS will stay at the same height)

The UAS will return directly to the launch position, hover for 15 seconds then gradually descend until it lands, and the motors will automatically disarm.

If UAS re-acquires link at any time the pilot can change the flight mode to regain control of the RPA by cycling the flight mode switch.

Pilot must land the RPA as soon as it is safe to do so to investigate the issues.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Rogue UAS

UAS flying without response from remote pilot and uncontrollable

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to issue.
  • Attempt to regain control of the UAS by changing flight mode switch.
  • Attempt to initiate Return to Home using switch.
  • Turn off Pilot Controller to attempt to force a failsafe. If this does not work turn controller back on again and try to regain control.
  • If control regained, bring UAS home and land.
  • If control not regained, prepare for crash landing.
  • Call “CLEAR”
  • Proceed to crash site if possible
  • Inform local ATC if required
  • Inform emergency services if required

Crew action

  • Identify a landmark on the horizon to assist with identifying direction of flight, from launch area or mark location.
  • Monitor video display (if still functioning). Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.
  • Take a bearing of the direction of flight.
  • Inform local ATC if required
  • Inform emergency services if required

Notes

Dependent on outcome possibly inform the relevant agencies and personnel.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Loss of power (UAS)

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to impending crash.
  • Attempt to regain control by changing flight mode switch.
  • If control regained, bring UAS home and land.
  • If control not regained, prepare for crash landing.
  • Call “CLEAR”
  • Proceed to crash site if possible
  • Inform local ATC if required
  • Inform emergency services if required

Crew action

  • Identify a landmark on the horizon to assist with location of UAS.
  • Monitor video display (if still functioning).
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.
  • Proceed to crash site if possible
  • Inform local ATC if required
  • Inform emergency services if required

Notes

Carry out post-crash management procedure.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Loss of power (ground control equipment)

Symptoms

  • Tablet screen extinguished.
  • Green connection light and / or white power lights on RC extinguish.
  • UAS shows fast flashing amber lights.

Pilot action:

  • Alert crew to the loss of control.
  • Ensure landing site is cleared.
  • Watch behavior of machine to ensure failsafe is operating correctly. If not initiate Rogue UAS procedure.

Crew action

  • Monitor video display (if still functioning).
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.

Notes

If UAS experiences control data loss for more than 3 sec it will enter the failsafe mode.

If UAS experiences control data loss for more than 3 seconds it will enter a failsafe mode.

When failsafe is initiated: If below 20m the UAS will climb to 20m (if already above 20m the UAS will stay at the same height)

The UAS will return directly to the launch position, hover for 15 seconds then gradually descend until it lands, and the motors will automatically disarm.

If UAS re-acquires link at any time the pilot can change the flight mode to regain control of the UAS.

Pilot must land the UAS as soon as it is safe to do so to investigate the issues.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Unexpected behaviour in flight

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to the loss of control.
  • Ensure landing site is cleared.
  • Pilot must land the UAS as soon as it is safe to do so to investigate the issues.

Crew action

  • Monitor video display (if still functioning).
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.

Notes

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Lithium polymer battery fault

Symptoms

  • Swelling of battery or overheating, for example from impact damage following aircraft crash, dropping of battery, or charging malfunction

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to the fault.
  • Call “CLEAR”
  • If RPA is in flight and still under control land immediately in a safe area away from public.
  • Inform emergency services as required.
  • Cordon off area 30m radius from battery/UAS.
  • If necessary and safe to do so use extinguisher.

Crew action

  • Keep location of fire clear.
  • Inform emergency services as required.
  • Cordon off area 30m radius from battery/RPA.
  • If necessary and safe to do so use extinguisher.

Notes

LiPo batteries are highly dangerous and can explode

Keep distance until safe to approach

First on scene of UAS: approach battery with extreme caution, wearing PPE (goggles, fire resistant gloves), LiPo bag and with fire extinguisher to hand.

Dispose of battery in accordance to safety guidelines OR safely discharge battery.

Report to appropriate bodies

UAS fire

Pilot action

  • Alert crew to the fire.
  • Call “CLEAR”
  • If UAS is in flight and still under control land immediately in a safe area away from public.
  • Inform emergency services as required.
  • Cordon off area 30m radius from battery/RPA/crash site.
  • If safe to do so use extinguisher.

Crew action

  • Keep location of fire clear.
  • Inform emergency services as required.
  • Cordon off area 30m radius from battery/RPA.
  • If necessary and safe to do so use extinguisher.

Notes

LiPo batteries are highly dangerous and can explode

Keep distance until safe to approach

First on scene of RPA: approach battery with extreme caution, wearing PPE (goggles, fire resistant gloves), LiPo bag and with fire extinguisher to hand.

Dispose of battery in accordance to safety guidelines.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Loss of GNSS signal

NB: Return to Home function will not operate if GNSS signal is lost

Symptoms

  • Loss of GPS mode in-flight
  • Aircraft fails to hold position lock
  • Visual warning on iOSD
  • Aircraft may switch to a non-GPS assisted mode (i.e. ATTI / OPTI)
  • Aircraft status light may change

Pilot action

  • Immediately switch to non-GPS assisted mode.
  • Land at the nearest suitable TOLZ.
  • In the event that pilot is unable to regain control, follow procedure for Rogue UAS

Crew action

  • Clear operational area of all personnel
  • Identify clear TOLZ
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.

Notes

Operation should be aborted until GPS can be established UNLESS it is safe to continue the flight without the use of GPS and the functionality it provides (e.g. GPS RTH)

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Compass error

NB: Return to Home function will not operate in case of a compass error

Symptoms

  • Loss of GPS mode in-flight
  • Aircraft fails to hold heading
  • Visual warning on iOSD
  • Aircraft may switch to a non-GPS assisted mode (i.e. ATTI / OPTI)
  • Aircraft status light may change
  • Aircraft may fail to keep commanded heading

Pilot action

  • Land at the nearest suitable TOLZ.
  • Consider changing to ATTI mode if available
  • If aircraft begins to yaw uncontrollably, consider landing underneath flight path provided safe to do so
  • In the event that pilot is unable to regain control, follow procedure for Rogue UAS

Crew action

  • Clear operational area of all personnel
  • Identify clear TOLZ
  • Provide pilot with appropriate updates on status.

Notes

Operation should be aborted until compass error is rectified.

Refer to pre-flight documents to reassess any electromagnetic interference or distortion risks.

Report to appropriate bodies as identified in section 3.8

Consider servicing aircraft for further investigation