One of our instructors took this picture of the ACARS screen (Texting between ATC and aircraft) as he was preparing to approach London Heathrow this afternoon Friday 14th July 2017. You can imagine the thought processes that then took place for all of the pilots, and air traffic controllers, who were performing their duties at that time. Bringing in a level of uncertainty that requires a great deal more contingency planning. Perhaps one day being distracted by a drone report could make the pilots miss something unrelated that causes a mishap.
Was it Illegal?
We will probably never know if the drone was being flown recklessly or outside of the rules. The assumption by the press, and the majority of manned aviation pilots, will be that it was a stupid person taking videos of airliners in flight for YouTube. They will think for certain that their job has been made unnecessarily harder; perhaps introducing danger to their passengers.
Let's fast forward a few months. Let us re-word the ACARS message, "PILOTS MAY SEE AN AUTHORISED DRONE. SURFACE TO 200 FT 500M N OF CENTRELINE RUNWAY 27L 4NM." Now the whole picture is different. The pilots can be confident that ATC has the full picture and they are sharing it with the aircraft under their control. The pilots will brief to lookout for it, and will perhaps think about turning to the south, once on approach, if something goes wrong,. The essential point is that everyone is relaxed and trusting. Our students know how to integrate with ATC and are trained how to operate in controlled airspace. We even conduct some training inside the Heathrow area.
How can this work?
If manned aviation understands that drone pilots are being trained to the highest standards, and then have that training tested to the same exacting standards that they operate under, they will consider drone flying as part of their world. That training will have to have been delivered by an organisation with the right training background to have credibility.
Flyby Technology has the right credentials and a unique set of skills. Our instructors see the problem from both sides and are equipped with the expertise and experience to bridge that gap for our customers. We believe anyone who has passed our training is well prepared for any of the challenges the future brings. We also help you with those really difficult questions and interpretations, long after you have graduated. The regulatory landscape changes frequently and our customers can rely on us to give them the tools they need, to continue to operate safely and efficiently. We have a tremendous capability here at Flyby Technology with a training system that redefines the meaning of quality in the drone industry. You will be trained to understand the intangible pilot skills that manned aviation take for granted and expect you to have.