A new drone market research report by Research and Markets makes the largest and boldest prediction yet for the drone industry, which the report predicts will exceed $50 billion in the next 7 years. This report estimates Compound Annual Growth Rate of 14.15% from 2018 to 2025. “… increasing use of UAVs in commercial and military applications is one of the most significant factors projected to drive the growth of the UAV market,”North America is expected to lead the market this year, largely due to increased defence expenditures of the US and Canada and the presence of major UAV manufacturers in North America. The European and Latin American regions are expected to be the new revenue-generating markets for unmanned aerial vehicles,” says the report.
On 6 February 2018 EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, posted its Opinion 01/18 in its website,https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/opinions/opinion-012018. At first glance it looks innocuous enough, especially as EASA is charged by the EU with bringing commonality or harmonisation to drone law across the EU.
Based on NPA2017-05, EASA wants EU states to implement the ‘Open’ and ‘Specific’ categories under the pretext that the Opinion will:
- “implement an operation-centric, proportionate, risk- and performance-based regulatory framework for all UAS operations conducted in the ‘open’ and ‘specific’ categories;
- ensure a high and uniform level of safety for UAS operations;
- foster the development of the UAS market; and
- contribute to addressing citizens’ concerns regarding security, privacy, data protection, and environmental protection.”
This Opinion will go forward to the EU Parliament and is expected to be enshrined in EU law later this year.
For the UK CAA, it will be a very interesting time. Its response to NPA2017-05, seehttp://www.caa.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CAA/Content/Standard_Content/Our_work/Consultations/Responses_to_external_consultations/Files/20170914EASACRTNPA2017-05PartA.pdf, was politically correct but as it challenged almost every EASA precept it could be concluded that the CAA is not at all in favour of the proposals.
The Register, see https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/26/easa_drone_regs_opinion/, thinks the CAA and the UK Parliament will have to tow the line and incorporate all the Opinion in the proposed 2018 UK Drone Law. This is like counting your chickens before they hatch. Let’s see when Opinion 01/18 gets into EU Law, where the UK is with respect to Brexit and what other EU countries decide to do. As much as EASA tries to dictate across Europe it hasn’t been very successful so far in the drone world. When dealing with the NAA’s, it’s worth remembering the First Article of the Rules of the Air:
“Every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory.”
The CAA may well revert to a Churchillian gesture with respect to EASA.
John Moreland, Head of Training, DronePartners
A drone pilot has been detained by police after flying a drove over Newport v Spurs FA football match on the 27thJanuary.
The drone was flown over the grounds, in Newport during the first half of the match. The police then tweeted, “Anyone caught piloting a drone over Rodney Parade during the match…you could be prosecuted, we have already detained one pilot. Please respect the occasion”
Lee Bullock, Flight Assessor, DronePartners
A British drone collision study used as evidence for the government’s flagship drone pilot registration law found UAVs pose less of a risk to airliners than government officials and trade unions have claimed.
The full report wasn’t published but it has been seen by the Register, there are some interesting observations – https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/04/qinetic_drone_collision_study_airliner_windows/
Skylogic Research, LLC has published a Drone Market Sector Report for 2017 based on data collected from 2,600 respondents in 60 countries worldwide. Some interesting statistics including:
- Nearly 80% of operators only complete between one and five operations per month, and
- 85% of these operators make less than $50,000 (£45,000) gross per annum
As with all new business ventures in emerging markets there are some that make it and a lot that unfortunately don’t. This research is nothing new to DronePartners. It confirms a pattern seen over the last 5 years. However DronePartners’ experience and knowledge of the market and its dynamics might help you make it.
John Moreland, Head of Assessment, DronePartners
Under the above ORS4 the Emergency Services, holding a valid PfCO, have been granted a special exemption that can only implemented short term reactive situations aimed at preventing the immediate risk to human life, or during a major incident. Under the provisions of this exemption, the distance the drone can be operated from the drone pilot can be extended beyond 500 metres when certain protocols have been followed and are authorised.
The CAA requirements are that:
- The distance from the remote pilot station does not exceed the maximum control range of the aircraft, as stated in the operating manual of the emergency service under whose authority the person in charge is operating the aircraft;
- The drone is not flown beyond a distance of 1000 metres from the remote pilot station without the explicit approval of the On-Scene Incident Commander;
- The drone is not flown beyond a distance of 2000 metres from the remote pilot without the explicit approval of the Tactical Commander assigned to the incident.
Each force or service will have to incorporate precise procedures and protocols in their Operations Manual for these circumstances. As it stands today, most forces and services are working in isolation trying to develop local processes so there is no standard wording available or pronouncement on acceptability from the CAA.
The challenge for all emergency service operators is to provide sufficient training and knowledge to all their competent pilots so that they can take the appropriate action and decision in these special circumstances. Most drones operated today will have a command and control range in the order of 3,000 metres in radio line sight. Seeing the video image and seeing what the drone is actually doing will be a problem, and if the terrain is not flat there is a strong likelihood that the drone will not make it back even with an automatic ‘Return to Home’.
Losing the drone isn’t that much of an issue if it contributes to saving human life but with emergency services financial resources stretched as they are there won’t be too many On Scene Incident Commanders or Tactical Commanders who will readily authorise an extended flight profile when the drone may not be seen again! This does suggest that the emergency services do need to invest in more capable longer distance drones and situational awareness systems rather than the standard commercial products currently used.
On Thursday 23 November 2017, the offices of Carter Lemon Cameron, the Barbican-based law firm, was the setting for the public launch of a new book on drone law. Titled ‘A Practical Guide to Drone Law’ and published by Law Brief Publishing, it was put together by Rufus Ballaster, a commercial property lawyer, Andrew Firman, a corporate and commercial lawyer, and Eleanor Clot, a trainee solicitor. Of course those well versed with the history of the UK drone industry will recognise the last surname.
The authors have targeted the book at both lawyers as well as drone operators and their advisers. It opens with a review of current regulations and then delves into other legal matters. For those who are familiar with the legal aspects of commercial drone operations much of the early material is straight out of a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) Theoretical Knowledge course provided by most NQEs. It’s from Chapter 5 onwards that the discourse becomes a little more interesting delving into the areas of property ownership, trespass, negligence, nuisance, contract and other damage claims. These are grey areas at the best of times and Chapters 5 and 6, all 18 pages of it, unfortunately only skim the surface.
In summary, this is a reference book that new drone industry entrants could be wise to familiarise themselves with especially as there are many legal issues the CAA does not regulate and leaves to others. It’s probably not essential reading but borrowing a copy is recommended. For those of us in the drone industry having to address the legal issues on the ground daily, this book only gives us a glimpse of some of the more intangible legal ramifications. It might be interesting in any future court case whether the presiding judge actually refers to this book. He or she might as a starter for 10.
The furore that has echoed around the drone industry since the CAA published its Consultation Document on its proposed Statutory Charges for 2018/19, effective 1 April 2018, would suggest that the CAA has raised the barrier to entry so high many existing drone businesses will be taken out and new ones will be discouraged from applying for a PfCO.
Yes, the charges for an initial PfCO are going up from £173 to £247 (a huge percentage), and the renewal is increasing from £130 to £185, but these once-a-year fees are miniscule compared to the going day rates charged by the better drone operators. In return the CAA should improve its services in terms of responsiveness and turnaround times. This has to be worth it.
Those that can see the opportunity will pay: it’s those who are struggling to make a decent living that may not renew.
And the operators aren’t the hardest hit. NQEs and those wanting a non-standard permission are going to have to pay a much higher price. For them guaranteeing a return on investment, with the fees coming straight off the bottom line, is going to be harder especially for NQEs as the number is multiplying at a rapid pace.
The CAA has recently indicated in private that the number of NQEs has expanded outside all expectations and, even though they receive a substantial fee from each but they need to maintain real credibility, impartiality and capability to process new drone industry entrants or they will face loosing their status.
The CAA has long provided a service on a shoestring. With the new fee structure this industry should look forward to a more responsive, pro-active and involved CAA. This industry needs to work with its regulator rather than expect everything to be handed to them for next to nothing.
Police are set to be given powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of a new package of legislation. This will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones and to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence.
New measures will also make it mandatory for drone owners to register and drone operators will be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.
Banning all drones from flying above 400 feet or near airports could also form part of the new regulations.
For more on this story visit Gov UK site