As a way to address safety concerns arising from the widespread use of small unmanned aircraft, the Aviators Code Initiative and the University Aviation Association have released a code for drone pilots aimed at advancing safety, airmanship, and professionalism.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilots Code (UASPC) provides a set of principles and practices to help a pilot interpret and apply standards and regulations, and confront real world challenges and avoid mishaps, according to officials.
The code is designed to help UAS pilots develop and implement standard operating procedures, effective risk management, and safety management systems.
It also encourages UAS pilots to consider themselves aviators and participants in the broader aviation community.
According to officials, the growth of unmanned aircraft operations has been so rapid that safety technologies and regulations are not yet fully developed.
Nevertheless, UAS pilots bear the same obligation to operate safely as manned pilots for whom training and safety programs are well defined and rigorously implemented, officials noted.
The code provides a set of recommended best practices that both new and experienced UAS pilots can integrate into their operations.
The guidance is organized in seven sections:
- General Responsibilities of UAS Pilots
- Manned Aircraft and People on the Surface
- Training and Proficiency
- Security and Privacy
- Environmental Issues
- Use of Technology
- Advancement of UAS Aviation
The code is available in three versions: The annotated version (with endnotes and supporting materials), the condensed version (for pilot implementation), and the abbreviated version. It is available free of charge at Secureav.com/UAS.
Officials notes that the code is a living document and will be updated periodically to reflect changes in standards and practice.
“The UAS Pilots Code is a handbook the bridges the gap between manned aviation and aspiring drone pilots,” said Brandon Montellato, University Relations Manager at DJI. “It is a must read for drone pilots seeking to learn and operate safely in the national airspace.”
The UASPC builds upon the Aviators Code Initiative’s 16-year foundation of creating a family of aviators’ codes of conduct for general aviation pilots, flight instructors, aviation maintenance technicians, glider pilots, helicopter pilots, light sport pilots, seaplane pilots, and student pilots, as well as guidance for manned aircraft pilots operating near drones.
Developed through a volunteer effort, each is available for free, along with supporting materials, at Secureav.com.