Altitude Angel launches industry first “just culture” reporting system


Altitude Angel has is set to launch the world’s first ‘just culture’ reporting system for drone pilots and operators.

Emulating the approach already successfully established in manned aviation, where Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) and Voluntary Occurrence Reports (VOR) are submitted following an incident, Altitude Angel says it is looking to establish a similar reporting system for drone pilots and operators to report an event.

The company detailed how at present, there is no industry-wide function for drone pilots and operators to report or register any unplanned event they or their drone are involved in, going to to say that the result of this could mean similar instances being repeated again and again, which could be easily prevented if learnings are made at an early stage and widely shared.

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Philip Binks, Altitude Angel’s head of Air Traffic Management, said: “The wider drone industry is behind manned aviation when it comes to reporting unplanned events and unusual episodes, but it doesn’t have to be so.  Safety will be key to ensuring the industry’s expansion, so we should take the lessons learned in manned aviation and adopt ‘just culture’ reporting across UTM.”

Currently, drone operators are directed towards the CAA’s system for reporting occurrences, the same system and set of questions which manned aircraft pilots use to report incidents. 

Binks added: “The CAA’s reporting system has been designed for occurrences involving manned aircraft, which can require a great deal of technical and operational data, to be completed by experienced aviators. When compared to two passenger aircraft nearly colliding, a drone operator may feel their ‘little’ incident, accident or episode is not worth reporting in the same way, so they simply don’t bother.  But there are lessons to be learned in every instance which is why our system has drone users at its heart.”

Altitude Angel described how its reporting system will be an anonymous web portal where drone operators will be asked to fill in a small number of questions if they experience something unexpected. 

Findings will then be collated before the company makes it available to the wider industry in order for each business segment to apply the appropriate learnings and improve safety.

Should the episode be serious enough to warrant a VOR submission, the drone pilot or operator will be redirected to the CAA website where it states ‘the purpose of occurrence reporting is to improve aviation safety by ensuring relevant safety information relating to civil aviation is reported, collected, stored, protected, exchanged, disseminated and analysed. It is not to attribute blame or liability.’

The scheme, which goes live today, has the backing of CAA.

Tim Johnson, the regulator’s policy director, said: “The CAA absolutely supports this work by Altitude Angel and anything which increases the safety of drone operations in the UK. It is vital the drone community benefits from the ability to share and learn from safety data as the rest of the aviation industry does.”

Tags : Altitude Angelmanned aviationsafety
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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