The CAA has written to us to explain its position and to reassure us that there is no need for concern whilst it reviews its policy on insurance requirements for commercial drone operations.
Below is a fragment from a letter we received a few days ago:
Insurance Reauirements for SUA/SUSA Operators:
Following a review of our procedures we are writing to remind you that all applications for UAV Permissions, regardless of weight/class category, must have insurance cover that meets the requirements of EC785/2004 before a Permission is granted.
This requirement should be emphasised by NQEs in their instructional material and assessment, under CAP 722 Appendix E29- Small Unmanned Aircraft- Remote Pilot Theoretical Knowledge/
General Airmanship Syllabus, Subject, Air Law/ Responsibilities.
The responsibility lies with the applicant to ensure that cover provided by insurers meets the requirements of EC785/2004. The CAA will not advise which Insurers provide this service."
The courseware and training system at Flyby Technology is already written to the above requirement and is fully compliant with CAP 722. Furthermore we never accept an application from a new pilot who does not provide us with an insurance document that complies with EC 785/2004. We believe the problem has been generated by renewals, where applicants have sought to gain their permission for the following year on the understanding that the regulator takes 28 working days to perform its review. In order to reduce costs the pilots have been undertaking to purchase insurance once the permission is approved, but with no break in insurance continuity. This has meant the regulator has been asked to issue a permission on a promise of future compliance.
We can see both sides of the argument. The regulator wants to have an airtight oversight of a hard to regulate sector of aviation. New pilots wish to operate professionally but inside a competitive cost structure. The regulator already takes the statements in our Operations Manuals as future promises but we understand insurance is a challenging area for them.
We can assure our new pilots that the regulator is doing a magnificent job maintaining a safe regulatory framework; without which none of us would be able to operate safely. We ask all of our readers and new pilots to be patient and give the regulator the pause it needs to get the decisions right on your behalf.
As an aside, the picture displayed is not that of a drone strike. It is a picture taken by our Managing Director of his aircraft after he had suffered a birdstrike with a Turkey Vulture over Cuba in 2012. It is used for illustrative purposes only but it shows the sort of damage that can be expected by hitting an object weighing 2.5 kg. Not that insurance will help you of course in these circumstances. The picture is there to help new pilots understand and appreciate why the CAA is so careful when regulating drone operations in the commercial arena.
If you are looking to be trained to the highest standards by a trusted flight training school, look no further!