Human Resources

Health and Safety

DRONES / REMOTELY PILOTED AERIAL SYSTEMS (RPAS) / SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT (SUA)

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), commonly referred to as drones, are regulated by the CAA and the University strictly adheres to CAA laws and regulations. The University has gained permission to conduct commercial operations with the aircraft.

Flying of RPAS on University business in the UK can only be undertaken by the named, qualified pilots who are listed in the University’s approved Operations Manual (OM).

The OM requires the University to:

  1. Confirm that the person operating the drone accepts that they would be legally responsible for the safe conduct of each flight, that they understand the rules and that failure to comply could lead to criminal prosecution. The University may assume vicarious liability.
  2. Confirm that the person operating an RPAS has the correct qualifications and currency to operate the RPAS.
  3. Confirm that before each flight, they check that the unmanned aircraft is not damaged and that all components are working in accordance with the Supplier’s User Manual.
  4. Confirm that the unmanned aircraft would be within the operator's sight at all times.
  5. Note that the operator is responsible for avoiding collisions with other people or objects - including aircrafts. The unmanned aircraft should NOT be flown in any way that could endanger people or property.
  6. Note that it is illegal to fly an unmanned aircraft near airports and airfields. Therefore if the intention was to use the UAV under these circumstances, without express permission from Air Traffic Control, then it would not be permitted.
  7. NOT fly an unmanned aircraft within 50m of a person, vehicle, building or structure, unless under direct control of the operator, or within or over 150m of groups of people at any height. 

 Procedure for Flights in the UK

An approved pilot will perform a site assessment and a risk assessment as per OM. The risk assessment is to be signed by the Head of School/Department and deposited with the Accountable Manager for RPAS operations. Flight operations can then proceed according to the OM.

Training and testing operations should follow the same procedure outlined in the OM and only performed under the supervision of an approved pilot.

The University has specific public liability insurance in respect of unmanned aerial vehicles. This cover has strict restrictions and requires compliance with all legislation and licensing regulations. RPAS equipment itself is not covered under the UoP Insurance.

Procedure for Flights Abroad

Persons planning flying abroad must comply with local laws and regulations. If the laws are less strict than UK laws the OM should be followed as best practice. Details of planned operations abroad and a risk assessment need to be sent to the insurance officer in advance to obtain travel insurance.

Exceptions

Members of staff or students may fly RPAS on University business, for training purposes under the guidance of an approved pilot, following the requirements of the OM.

Permission for students to use footage or data obtained using small unmanned aircraft (SUA) or remotely piloted aerial system (RPAS) as part of their studies, e.g. research, dissertations and projects can be found here. Please note that a declaration form must accompany the risk assessment.

Advice and guidance can be sought from:

1. The University’s trained RPAS Pilots. 

Martin Schaefer – Geography (martin.schaefer@port.ac.uk)
Toby Meredith – CCI (toby.meredith@port.ac.uk )
Oliver Ing – CCI Big Screen (oliver.ing@port.ac.uk)
Malcolm Whitworth – SEES (malcolm.whitworth@port.ac.uk)
Samuel Leung – Civil Engineering (samuel.leung@port.ac.uk)
Linley Hastewell – Geography (linley.hastewell@port.ac.uk)

2. The University RPAS Responsible Manager

Adrian Parry, Director of Corporate Governance – adrian.parry@port.ac.uk

3. The University RPAS Accountable Manager

Lynda Martin, Deputy Health & Safety Manager - hsservicedesk@port.ac.uk

4. The University’s Insurance Officer

Anita Randell, Insurance Officer - insurancesupport@port.ac.uk