A drone or unmanned aircraft is an aircraft without a pilot on board. The units are often remotely controlled, whereby the operator can be located nearby, but also thousands of kilometres away. There are also more autonomous units, which operate according to a programmed command.
Such a unit is known by various names: UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), Autonomous Aerial Robotics (AAR), UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS), microcopter, mini UAV or small UAV, rotor UAV or RUAV. These fall in the category of drones, and as such are subject to specific legislation.
In parlance, these are often referred to as drones but for a clear understanding we use RPAS.
To ensure responsible use of RPAS, the UT applies the following draft guideline. It contains tools to safely fly an RPAS.
When the intention to use an RPAS exists, Richard Sanders of the HR health & safety department should be contacted first.
The use of drones, or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), is slowly but surely increasing. More and more applications are being dreamt up for which drones can be used. At the UT, we are for instance carrying out research on or with drones, but drones are also being used for other applications.
Existing regulations distinguish between commercial/business use and the realm of hobbies. Commercial/business (=UT) use is subject to stringent rules and a permit regime.
For so-called mini-drones (drones weighing no more than 4 kg), separate rules were introduced in July 2016. The working method below is based on this.
The standard working method at the UT is that a Risk Assessment (RA) is carried out on all activities. In this case, the use of a drone. This reveals the risks and the necessary measures to ensure a safe working environment within the context of applicable legislation and regulation. The HSE coordinator of the faculty or department must be involved in this.
If legislation or regulations lead to practical problems, a working method will be drawn up in consultation with the safety officer at HR-HSE that is at the very least equivalent and is coordinated with authorised parties if necessary.
The starting point is and remains: preventing incidents and hazardous situations.
For the use of drones of no heavier than 4 kg, the requirements below apply:
- All activities take place in daylight
- It is forbidden to fly in a No-Fly zone
- Fly at least 50 m (horizontally) away from crowds, buildings, waterways/roads, railways and industry
- Do not fly higher than 50 m above the ground/water
- Do not fly more than 100 m away from the pilot, and ensure the drone is always in clear sight
- The drone must be registered (LV registry) via HR-HSE
- An ROC light (RPAS-light Operator Certificate) permit is required via HR-HSE
- The pilot must have passed a KEI exam from the Dutch KNVvL Examination Institute;
- Exemption from Speciaal-Bewijs van Luchtwaardigheid (S-BvL or Special Proof of Airworthiness) via HR-HSE;
- Third-party liability drone insurance (is organised centrally at UT)