The CAA has today released a CAP document to provide guidance to operators seeking to support the emergency services during the COVID-19 outbreak and who require the ability to take part in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BLVOS) operations.
The CAA recently released ORS4 1361, rapidly retracted and replaced with ORS4 1375. These general exemptions are aimed at relaxing the regulations for the emergency services to allow them to use drones in quite exceptional manners, including flights up tot 600ft (later amended to 500ft) and as close as 10 or 20m (mass dependent) from persons outside the control of the operator. The exemption also allows BVLOS flights.
Clearly these are not to be used out of the COVID-19 context and only by trained operators using a drone in accordance with the relevant operations manual.
However, the exemption is written so as not to preclude a mix of the exemption types which, in the hands of less familiar users, and even trained uniformed officers could fit into this category, would present significant risk to both ground and aerial users.
Any users who are not members of the emergency services but who have an arrangement allowing them to assist may wish to apply for OSC-based exemptions and today’s document will help in this regard.
Emergency service users would also do well to ensure their own documents reflect the requirements of today’s CAP document which can be found here: