|Small UAV. Photo: ARPAS UK.
[Avionics Today 01-23-2015] NATS has signed a safety partnership agreement with ARPAS U.K., the trade association that represents the operators and stakeholders within the community of small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The agreement will see NATS and ARPAS U.K. working together to promote the safe use of small UAS to maximize potential applications, while simultaneously protecting other airspace users.
The commercial use of RPAS is tightly regulated with specific qualifications and permissions required to operate However, the popularity surrounding small UAS for personal use is soaring and it is very easy to buy and use one without any training or knowledge of the airspace rules. While incidents involving drones in controlled airspace remain rare, NATS and ARPAS U.K. believe it is important to help UAS operators understand their responsibilities as pilots. Those that don’t could potentially face criminal prosecution.
“There is no doubt that this is an exciting and growing industry. Drones are now both incredibly popular consumer gadgets as well as potential business tools,” said James Harvey, NATS small RPAS safety lead. "By working together with ARPAS U.K. we want to encourage the growth of the industry, but to also ensure that’s done in a safe and integrated way.”