At the end of September, the Avtrain team travelled to London to exhibit at the DroneX Tradeshow this year. We were also excited to see many visitors interested in drone technologies and services this year. We have met customers interested in drone photography and videography; agricultural drone applications are also growing. Also, we were happy to share our previous project experience with large operators looking at Operational Authorisations and LUC holder applications within the EASA’s Specific Category. We are grateful to European city municipalities, county councils and other governmental agencies looking into how drones can help ensure safety and security and elevate the quality of our everyday lives. Avtrain will be happy to assist in this journey.
In addition to being exhibitors, the Avtrain team had such a great Q&A at DroneX, London, with Julie Garland, Founder & CEO of Avtrain, on the current hot topic: Is SORA the future? Drone regulatory environment in Europe versus the UK. Sarunas Navickas, the Operations and Marketing manager at Avtrain, led the session. With standing room only, it was very well attended. Thank you all who came to listen to great insights. Here is a memo from the Q&A session.
For tradeshow visitors new to the drone industry, we asked Julie to introduce Avtrain and her background. We spoke about our mission to encourage prolific drone operations yet keep the skies safe through the highest standards of training, certification and regulatory compliance, the 3Ds – if it is Dull, Dirty or Dangerous, then a drone should be doing it and the position of Avtrain as your outsourced regulatory department for drones, operations, EASA regulations and beyond. Julie mentioned her involvement in the UAAI, JEDA, JARUS and SESAR. We also touched on the news of opening an investment round and how future software development will enable drone pilots and operators to standardise documentation and risk assessments from PDRAs through to SORA and Operation’s Manuals.
We are grateful and honoured to be able to mention our past and current clients across a broad spectrum, from individual drone operators in photography, videography and surveying to large private and governmental entities. Drone delivery companies such as Manna Drone Deliveries, Skyflow, and Spright. Search and rescue agencies such as the Irish Coast Guard. Sports associations - Irish Rugby Football Union, Football Association Ireland. Other government agencies - Inland Fisheries Ireland. Most recent work with city councils delivering drone strategy for the city (i.e. Dublin City Council and Smart Dublin). We also shared particularities helping complex organisations such as ASL Airlines obtain relevant permits and the highest certificate level and become LUC holder. In addition, we remembered how involvement from various parties, such as county councils, airport management, air traffic control, private companies, and aviation regulators, brought a successful project with FMCI, Skyports and Fedex to life.
We continued with the global regulatory environment and legislator review. We explained what ICAO, EASA, JARUS, its four working groups, and the Industry Stakeholders Body, NAAs and other local organisations are. Julie then comprehensively reviewed the differences between the UK and EASA regulatory environments and how they have emerged. Julie discussed the future changes in four areas to the UK regulations that have been out for consultation: Remote Pilot Competence, Recognised Assessment Entities, UAS Technical Standards/Class Markings and SORA.
Listeners were able to understand better the EASA regulatory environment, UAS categories, and U-Space. Julie expanded on the EASA’s Specific Category, operational authorisations and requirements for drones and their operators. She guided the audience through the ten steps of the SORA process and how this flow will change with the SORA 2.5 publication and further amendments. We heard from Julie a possible timeframe for the SORA 2.5 coming into force Q1 next year and the publication of the UK version of SORA at the end of next year or Q1 2025.
We asked Julie whether the UK version of SORA would be accepted in the EASA jurisdictions and vice versa. The short answer was - no - however, she emphasised the possibility of bilateral agreements between the EASA and the UK on such topics, if there is a political will to engage.
The discussion could have gone further as the audience was completely immersed in the conversation and the depth of Julie’s knowledge and insights on future regulatory developments transcending into global jurisdictions. Following the audience applause, we continued individual discussions at our exhibition stand. We invite you to stay connected with us via our page and Julie via her LinkedIn profile.
Avtrain LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/avtrain
Julie Garland's LinkedIn profile page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-garland-87925b25/
Sarunas Navickas’s LinkedIn profile page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarunasnavickas/
October 5, 2023