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Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2018
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NW England
All of us who run a drone for business, we all come across paperwork in on e form or another. Not talking tax returns here, but the record keeping needed to keep your ticket and keep the drone flying.
Despite using a lot of automation through Kittyhawk I find that I am spending more time on record keeping than actually flying. Mostly taken up with checklists of one form or another before , during and after the flight. Checking weather, NOTAMs, maps, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I think checklists at essential, and I designed them all. Just really asking the question, “Am I alone?”.
I am proud of my record keeping, and given time, I will develop it more. What do others do?


Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2018
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Your right! I have a preflight checklist document I use. It includes weather related items harvested from Flight Services and UAV Forecast and includes Winds, Vis, Ceiling, Temp. It also includes information about the job/request. It is only for my records.


Staff member
DSAR Member
Jan 8, 2018
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Western North Carolina
We have checklists for our checklists LOL! Not really but sometimes it seems like it.

We are fortunate that with the implementation of Part 107 monthly FAA reporting went out the window. Section 333 Exemptions required monthly reporting even on No Fly months.

In addition to pre and post flight check lists we have "Night Before", SAR, Monthly Inspection, Maintenance, and probably some other forms/lists.

Darren Gahan

Active Member
Jan 18, 2018
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Interesting topic. I hate paperwork and sometimes do the paperwork after the flight. That said, there is a similarity between a "check list" and an "operational procedure". There have been commercial aviation crashes because of check lists. An interruption during the checklist caused an item to be missed (setting the flaps and slats) and the plane crashed seconds after taking off. I was interrupted one time when I was attaching the props to my Phantom 4, and when I started the motors a prop flew off. Now my operational procedure is to attach the props, then do a second double check to make sure they are all properly attached. If interrupted, I repeat the checking of all 4 props. I have taken the time to document my operational procedure and I review it from time to time to see if I need to adjust anything. I don't record my launch time, my flight duration and my landing time. This data is recorded in the app or UAV and uploaded to an online service I use (Airdata UAV) either automatically when use Litchi, or as a second step if I use the DJI app.

I do have a maintenance log, and there isn't much in it. I always inspect my UAV before a flight. Every six months I do a really good look, and note it in the log... that I looked. I did have a video and data transmission problem, turned out to be a defective gimbal control board. I noted the symptoms, what steps I took, and also noted that it did not affect the UAV control ability, just the data coming from the UAV was affected. I noted where it was repaired and I have a copy of my correspondence with repair facility along with the receipt.

Transport Canada wants me to do a site survey, draw photos, measure distances, make notes before every flight. When I operate in the same area I'm less inclined to do this before every flight. I do check google maps to verify a property location before every flight and I know what is around the area. Taking the time to note every detail is in my opinion a stupid waste of time. What is safer and more reliable is to have a general understanding of the area in which I'm flying, but to do a look at what is actually around when I arrive at the site. Hydro poles and wires, cell towers and other low level obsticals are the danger to my operation. Developments can happen and shopping plazas, schools can be built and may not be in the google survey. Local road closures, or local cranes in the area can affect either my flight, or my access to a location in the event I need to recover my UAV if it crashes. Paperwork will not help. If this situation is not on a "checklist" OMG, what would I ever do?!

I think one of the most overlooked areas of UAV operation is what all pilots are required to do: Emergency drills. What happens if I'm flying my UAV, and I slip and fall, get knocked out and my remote controller goes in the water. What will happen to the UAV? I know because I have tested out almost every thinkable situation of controller or signal loss and low battery situation in a controlled situation. Now I have another test situation created by my recent UAV repair. They updated my firmware and now I have to test out what happens when I have permission to fly close to an airpark, and a I launch from a distance just outside DJI's "safe zone" and I enter the "danger zone" of too close to the airpark. What I have researched and been told is if I don't get my UAV out of that area immediately, it will land without my ability to stop it, or to fly it to a safe location. I was also told that I would need to launch from inside the "danger zone" then I would be OK. However what would happen if I flew out of the danger zone, then back inside? Paperwork won't cut it on this one, but when I test out all the thinkable possible situations and I can verify what will happen, I will add it to my documentation.

My 2 cents worth on paperwork.

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