EXCLUSIVE: CAA outlines pilot responsibility as key ingredient toward safe drone aviation integration


The CAA has highlighted how a responsible community of pilots in the UK is paramount in getting drone flight fully integrated into UK airspace.

The organisation, which regulates airspace in the UK, says it is “absolutely committed” to making sure the UK is at the forefront of the drone industry and innovation generally, but thinks safety is important in achieving that.

Speaking exclusively to Commercial Drone Professional, Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of the Communications Department at the CAA, said: “We absolutely come to drones with the aim of making the sector a success and ensuring that the UK achieves all the benefits that drones can deliver.  To do that we need everyone flying a drone to do so safely and responsibly.”

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He continued: “As an organisation the CAA is absolutely committed to making sure the UK is at the forefront of the drone industry and innovation generally. We now have a dedicated drone unit that includes our policy and oversight in one place, helping us to provide a joined-up response. We have also secured funding to set up a CAA-wide innovation team to assist those at the forefront of the industry.”

Nicholson, who recently appeared at the Commercial Drone Show in London and the UK Drone Show in Birmingham to talk to industry professionals about what work the CAA is doing, thinks it is important for commercial drone operators to have a precise business plan in order to be successful.

He explained: “The best advice we’ve seen given to prospective commercial users is to know exactly what you want your drone business to be. Aviation has always been at the forefront of technology and therefore as a regulator we are used to constantly developing our ways of working and oversight of the sector.”

He continued: “The more unique challenges that the drone industry pose are quite often related to the relative infancy of the sector. We see a lot of organisations and individuals that haven’t previously engaged with aviation so it can involve more work from all parties to get projects up and running.”

Listen to what Nicholson had to say when attending the UK Drone Show last weekend, here:

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Alex Douglas

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