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Flight protocols

Crew briefing

The remote pilot is responsible for ensuring that the crew are fully briefed so that they can carry out their roles competently and safely. The crew briefing will follow the structure set out in the crew briefing template. This document is tailored for the site and the nature of the flight during the flight planning process.

If there are uninvolved persons present, one option is to recruit them to the team by giving them a role. This brings them under the control of the remote pilot. In that case, they should be included in the crew briefing.

Situational awareness

The remote pilot and the crew will maintain a high level of situational awareness at all times. This primarily means monitoring the ground area and airspace for potential hazards.

The remote pilot is further responsible for the safe operation of the UAS and will use the scan technique to

  • monitor ground/airspace
  • monitor battery levels
  • monitor changes in weather
  • check blind spot

If the safety of the operation appears to be compromised at any time, the remote pilot will land the RPA and make it safe. If possible, this will be done by following the normal procedure and landing at the primary TOLZ. If the primary TOLZ is not available, the secondary TOLZ will be used, and if the situation requires it, emergency procedures will be invoked.

The primary responsibilities of the crew are to

  • monitor ground/airspace
  • provide situational updates to the remote pilot
  • control situations that might distract the remote pilot such as incursions by uninvolved persons
  • be familiar with emergency procedures

Take-off protocol

Immediately before take-off, the remote pilot will

  • ensure that the crew is in position
  • ensure that any uninvolved persons are at safe distance
  • ensure that the ground area and airspace are clear
  • ask the crew to retreat 5m to the rear of the RPA

At the point of take-off, the remote pilot will call Clear. A designated crew member will reply with Clear. This exchange provides a double check on the safety of the operational area, and also tells the remote pilot that the crew are fully engaged with the operation.

The remote pilot then calls Aircraft taking off

Following take-off, the remote pilot will perform basic flight checks at 5m ASL including

  • Pitch
  • Yaw
  • Roll
  • LED operation
  • Payload operation

Landing protocol

Immediately before initiating the landing, the remote pilot will

  • ensure minimum safe distance for uninvolved people
  • ensure that the landing zone is free from foreign objects
  • ask the crew to retreat 5m from the landing point

As with the take-off, the remote pilot calls Clear before landing, to which a designated crew member replies with Clear. This exchange provides the same benefits as during take-off.

The remote pilot then lands the RPA and disarms it using the facilities provided by the specific model of RPA being used. After disarming, the remote pilot will approach the RPA and power down the batteries, after which they call Aircraft safe.