Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and Advanced Air Mobility

Unmanned flying vessels, carrying a payload (like a delivery item) or camera/recording equipment, come under the category of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).

The military was the mastermind behind the invention of the drone, with the first pilotless aircraft tested in the U.K right back in 1917 during WW1 – although they were never used operationally at that time.

Drones can be piloted manually from the ground or by a computer. BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) drones allow the pilot to lose visual contact with the aircraft and rely on instruments to control the flight. Some drones can be pre-programmed to conduct a certain flight path.

Where does it happen?

  • Military: The military have been using drones for many years. They use these aircraft for information gathering and weapons deployment. Drones are a useful tool for the military when it is too dangerous to send in human troops, or when accessing very remote areas.
  • Healthcare: Drone usage for healthcare is an emerging market. Using these aircraft to transport essential medicines and equipment.
  • Delivery: Major retail companies are already trialling drone deliveries in the U.K.
  • Survey and Reconnaissance: Drones are incredibly useful and efficient ways of gathering data on geological features and infrastructure.
  • Climate Change: Drones can help us assess changes to climate and the effects.
  • Passenger Transport: Some companies are already working on technology to allow RPAS to transport human passengers in the future.

How can you get involved?

The world of aviation is working very hard to ensure that drones and piloted aircraft can exist together safely. Drone usage is likely to increase greatly in the coming years.

Good to know…

  • If you want to operate a drone over 250g you’ll need to register as a pilot with the CAA, pass a flight test and get a pilot ID (this can all be done online and is free!)
  • Most companies will require at least 40 hours of drone pilot time before employment.