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UK Regulations - amending PfCO (night flying/reducing 50 metre rule

X5snapper

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My PfCO is coming up for renewal and I am considering applying for permission for night flying and possibly asking for a reduction in the 50 metre safety rule.

I understand that both have to be covered in my Operations Manual with a clear and detailed 'Safety Case'
covering the changes.

Night flying would certainly help during the autumn/winter months, as the sun rises later and sets sooner thereby reducing the possible working hours - weather permitting.

I would also like permission to reduce the 50 metre rule to 40 or even 30 metres, to allow me to take on more building survey work in built up areas. I am fully aware of safety procedures involved and would only anticipate flying in these conditions on a handful of occasions. That said, the more work or recommendations, the better

Can anyone advise on the procedure or even examples of content needed for an Operations Manual, that has been accepted by the UK CAA for the above? I fully appreciate that nothing beats experience.
 
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Mowbs

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Hi, I have recently successfully added night ops to my PfCO (at first renewal) and found this blog post to be very useful Flying Drones at Night | ROAVR if you add something like this to your ops manual you won't go far wrong.

As for the stand off distance reduction I can't help there, but would be very interested to hear others thoughts/experience. Does anyone else have an approved 'Safety Case' for stand off distance reduction operating a quadcopter such as Inspire/M200/Phantom, or are you operating hexacopter/octocopter, or even recovery parachute systems? Curious what the CAA are looking for.
 

Graham Degg

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Hi, I went through this last year. The first part is easy. You need to think through the additional things you would do to carry out a safe night flight. Things to consider might be:
Day time site visit to risk assess.
Consider daytime test flight, particularly if pre-programmed
What lighting might you need for aircraft/landing point
Additional risk relating to incursions.
Etc. Etc. If you have a quiet flying field it's worth going and doing a night flight as a hobbyist and write notes you can use.
You can apply for night flying as a technical change by ticking the box on the SRG 1320 form and laying up (£173 I think but don't quote me).

As for reducing distances....whole new ballgame. CAP722 is your go to document. You will need to produce an Operating Safety Case which is 3 volumes (including your heavily beefed up Ops Manual. Cost to apply is £1210 until April when it rises to £1700 odd! I can provide a consultancy service on how to approach this.

It may be worth joining Drone Safe Register if you are serious about this. They have something going on which may help and will certainly keep costs down depending on your experience.
 
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Graham Degg

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Hi, I have recently successfully added night ops to my PfCO (at first renewal) and found this blog post to be very useful Flying Drones at Night | ROAVR if you add something like this to your ops manual you won't go far wrong.

As for the stand off distance reduction I can't help there, but would be very interested to hear others thoughts/experience. Does anyone else have an approved 'Safety Case' for stand off distance reduction operating a quadcopter such as Inspire/M200/Phantom, or are you operating hexacopter/octocopter, or even recovery parachute systems? Curious what the CAA are looking for.

I've got 30/20m on Inspire 1. CAA don't seem to like the Phantom platform at all. No parachute involved but a stout safety case has to be written. Get in to parachutes and there is another layer of complexity you're entering on a RTF model as you've just modified it. How do you know the parachute works? What height does opit work at? Have you tested it? The list goes on.
 
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X5snapper

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Folks,

Many thanks for your comments and advice above. I think night operations will be the 1st stage and I will consider and application for reduced safety distance another time.
 

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