Feb 2, 2018Drone group creates Trusted Operator Program
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has announced a group to help develop the Trusted Operator Program (TOP) for remote pilots and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) training organizations that serve the agriculture community. The newly appointed Agricultural Aerial Remote Sensing Council (AgARS Council) will serve as a steering committee and as brand ambassadors.
The TOP, which AUVSI launched in November, is a UAS community initiative to facilitate best practices, codes of conduct and professionalism for operators of services provided by UAS, also known as drones.
“There is no other organization that can drive and support the UAS industry with such a critical initiative than AUVSI and it is important to bring on key industry stakeholders, such as the AgARS Council,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI’s president and CEO. “As more commercial UAS pilots are trained and certified, they will join the aviation community’s long-standing culture and commitment to safe and reliable performance.”
The initial planning for the TOP started early last year during meetings of AUVSI’s Remote Pilots Council (RPC) that were held across the country. Council members and other remote pilots licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration discussed the need for higher levels of professionalism through consistent training, said AUVSI, which would allow UAS operators flying for business purposes to further distinguish themselves in the market.
In addition, the group said there is a lack of understanding of the legal implications involved in contracting UAS services that do not have certified and demonstrated safety and compliance protocols. This, AUVSI said, affects insurance costs, perceived market value for services, customer trust and regulatory oversight.
“There is an urgent need to unify the remote pilot community and remote pilot training providers to facilitate a recognized guide for training protocols, best practices and conduct. This will support reliability, safety, professionalism and trust in the UAS industry,” Wynne said. “The training protocols that are envisioned for the TOP will lead to many benefits, such as a commitment to safety, lower insurance premiums and helping advance regulations that permit expanded operations, including flying at night, over people, and beyond line of sight.”