Andy Smith, 2017
The term Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) is used by some Civil Aviation Authorities instead of Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) or ‘drone’ because the word ‘vehicle’ implies transportation of some kind and not all SUA have the capacity to transport a payload. And while the term "drone" describes the noise they make rather well, the word has negative associations almost everywhere, so is best avoided when trying to get permission to use them.
SUA have been used successfully in support of HMA field activities for more than five years but NMAA have no IMAS guidance about their use and in some countries their use is simply banned. This is a shame because their utility is already proven and could easily be extended as the commercially available machines improve.
That said, there are real safety, security and privacy concerns about their uncontrolled use, so some kind of Standard is needed.
To serve as a guide for both NMAA and users, I was recently asked to draft a generic SOP for the use of SUA in HMA that would cover all aircraft up to 7kg take-off weight. Click here to read it as a PDF. If you have any comments, additions or corrections, please send them for possible inclusion in future releases. If you want a copy in Word, just ask.
(My apologies to GICHD, which has apparently been unable to meet this need...)