Nov. 25. 2020

More tools are now available for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators to develop and implement a safety management system (SMS), courtesy of NBAA’s Emerging Technologies Committee.

The committee recently added three new resources providing guidance on safety policy, safety risk management and safety promotion. These resources, which complement an SMS overview published earlier this month, help operators develop a safety policy, identify risks specific to their organization and promote safety through communication, education and training.

UAS SMS Resources

One key message from the committee is that the same overarching concepts of SMS that apply to traditional business aircraft operations also apply to drone operations.

“There are more similarities than differences,” said Chris Proudlove, senior vice president and underwriting executive of product development and UAS at Global Aerospace, Inc. and key contributor to the SMS series. “Small UAS operations are incredibly accessible due to the wide availability of aircraft and low regulatory barriers, which leads to higher risk. We encourage UAS operators to seek a higher standard – to go above and beyond. We want UAS operators to think like pilots.”

As more companies use UAS for security, inspections, small parcel delivery and other tasks, committee members also hope organizations with both a traditional flight department and UAS operations seek opportunities to collaborate.

“Any organization with a flight department and drone operations should encourage collaboration between the two groups, even if they aren’t in the same department,” said Dave Krause of Influential Drones, and a key contributor to the SMS series. “Those experienced in traditional aviation should consider mentoring someone who is not. Mentoring is rewarding and advantageous to all those working and operating in the National Airspace System.”

Learn more about NBAA’s UAS safety resources.