“there’s no substitute for knowledge”
As Safety Management Specialist I’m the second line of defense to ensure that our operations are both legal and safe (the front line being the instructors and managers). In other words, my role contains two main aspects: the first one is to ensure that our operations comply with our company policies, processes and procedures, as well as with the laws and regulations applicable in the countries where we conduct our business. The second aspect deals with running the management systems that EuroUSC put in place to ensure that we reduce the risks to a level as low as practicable.
The great thing with the flying business is that you’ll get your dose of fun, challenges and excitement every day. It’s an exciting but tough sector that also has a fun component to it. Military drones may have done pretty much everything already but in the civilian world there are still a lot of blank pages left to be written. What we’re seeing now is only the beginning. Pretty much an entirely new industry is taking shape as it grows, these are definitely exciting times.
It’s all about the amazing people you meet on the job and hang out with. The machines can do amazing stuff, the missions may sometimes be very unique, but it’s the human element that makes it all worthwhile. Lots of little anecdotes and private jokes come to mind, it’s tough to choose one that captures the whole experience in a few sentences. I’ll just add that we’re serious people doing serious work without taking ourselves too seriously.
There’s an amazing amount of experience in those classrooms and the instructors are really passionate about what they do, so wannabe pilots shouldn’t miss that for anything in the world! Regardless of the personal skills or the experience or the equipment, flying will always be a tricky and risky activity where bad outcomes will happen. In the overwhelming majority of the incidents and accidents, the pilot (or the crew) didn’t really know what he was doing (or what they were doing) before things went completely wrong. One of my favourite quotes is “there’s no substitute for knowledge”. So my personal advice is not only to attend a workshop (because that will cover the absolute minimum that a responsible remote pilot has to know), but also to constantly build and expand on the foundations learned from the professionals.
Well, people generally have no clear idea since when remote aircraft came to be. This actually dates back to WWI, with quite impressive efforts in France and the US as part of top secret research projects. It may not look like it, but remote flying is a hundred years old! Between the two World Wars, remote aircraft were also used as flying targets to test and train gunners. There are embarrassing accounts of British Navy gunners who never managed to hit the drone flying at some distance for their boat after hours of trials and countless ammunition being shot at the remotely piloted biplane (it wasn’t a tiny model aircraft!).