Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training
We are able to provide specialised professional training for researchers and students planning to use UAS in their work.
While physically flying a fully functioning modern drone is normally quite straightforward, making sound decisions, managing the overall process so that it is safe and legal, sucessfully operating both aircraft and sensors to their full performance, and safely handling failures within the system all require training and experience.
We are able to support researchers and students with professional training from experienced instructors to ensure that they are fully prepared before embarking on expensive and time limited fieldwork.
What training and qualification do I need?
Within the UK & EU area:
The regulatory requirements for UAS training and qualification were standardised across the UK and EU prior to the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of 2020.
These latest regulations are intended to be quite enabling as smaller and safer drone technologies enter the marketplace, but this does come at the cost of increased complexity, as the rules introduce a much wider range of aircraft classes and operational categories. The training and qualification that you need will now depend to a much greater degree on the class of aircraft you intend to fly and where you want to fly it.
We will not attempt to outline all of the possible permuations here, but we will be happy to help you find your way through the regulations and determine what you need to do to achieve compliance. Please contact us if you need assistance with this.
For those operations which do require additional training and qualification, typically an online or in-person theory course and test will be required, and in some cases an in-person flight assessment will also be required. At this time the facility is not qualified to provide the approved parts of this training and checking, but we can help you to prepare for flight assessments and provide practical training and experience to ensure that you hit the ground running.
Outside the UK & EU area:
Beyond the UK and EU area, UAS rules are established on a national level and vary considerably in their complexity. We strongly recommend checking the national requirements well in advance of any planned work in order to allow time to achieve the necessary compliance. We have considerable experience in helping to plan overseas drone work and are happy to assist you in this process.
While achieving the minimum regulatory requirements discussed above will keep you legal, and provide some useful knowledge, it will generally not be sufficient in isolation to prepare you for high quality scientific data acquisition from the start of your field campaign.
We highly recommend that you allow time to train, gain experience and evaluate your systems and data before commencing a pressurised, time constrained and possibly expensive campaign. We would be happy to assist with this process and have established training processes to cover the more practical aspects of scientific UAS operations, including but not limited to the following subject areas:
- Pre-deployment and on-site planning and safety assessment
- Weather assessment and operational envelopes
- General handling skills for research operations
- Survey design and implementation
- Battery management skills
- Understanding aircraft systems and failsafes
- Handling emergencies
- Science system preparation and operation
- Data management and quality control
- Use of checklists and procedures to minimise risk and maximise quality
- Preparation for regulatory flight assessment (e.g. GVC)
We'd be very happy to discuss your training requirements and come up with a bespoke training plan to fit your needs. Let us know if we can help.
University of Edinburgh staff and students operating facility aircraft on loan will be expected to operate within the facility's quality and safety management systems. This is primarily to assure the safety of your operation, the longevity of our equipment, and the quality of your data, but also to ensure the continuity of records for our compliance requirements.
To this end we will always aim to provide a degree of internal training and checking, irrespective of prior experience, and in addition to any requirement for practical training as outlined above. Our internal training for use of facility aircraft will include subjects such as:
- Site setup and safety assessment
- Technical recording requirements
- Use of facility operating procedures and checklists
- Internal safety reporting procedures
Before taking our equipment away on loan we will ask you to demonstrate a complete site set-up, safety assessment and flight operation to the standards outlined in our procedures.