It wasn’t us!

Aerometrex wishes it to be widely known that it was in no way responsible for, or connected with, an incident involving a runaway UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or Remotely Piloted Vehicle, RPA) in the northern Adelaide area in July 2012. The incident was fully reported in CASA’s safety newsletter and Flight Safety Australia under the title Intruder in the circuit .

Despite superficial similarities with Aerometrex’s operations, it wasn’t us. The incident was due to an unlicensed, uncertified operator conducting UAV operations without the knowledge of the appropriate authorities in restricted airspace and losing effective control of their UAV.

By contrast, Aerometrex is now a fully certified and licensed UAV Operator, Operator Certificate 1-UZCA9.  We have always strictly observed the CASA regulations with regard to our UAV operations. We have always operated either within airspace generally approved for UAV operations by certified UAV operators, or with specific area approval from CASA for training and test flights. We have never lost control of a UAV system or been uncertain as to its location. We have never operated within 3 nautical miles of an airfield without specific approval from CASA. Our UAV systems would never allow the UAV to fly to an altitude more than 10x its planned flying height. We have a highly experienced UAV Chief Controller with many hundreds of hours UAV experience.

This is a very serious and sobering incident, and it should send a very strong message to all companies, agencies and Government departments considering using UAV services. Don’t use an uncertified, unqualified operator using an untested, half-developed UAV system. The consequences of a mid-air collision involving a UAV and a light aircraft could have been catastrophic and placed not only the operator in serious breach of the law but also exposed them and their client to the full liability of the incident.

Always check that you are dealing with a CASA-certified UAV operator. Ask for their operator certificate number and a copy of the certificate. Check that the operator is both experienced and fully aware of the CASA regulations regarding conduct of UAV (RPA) operations.