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UAVS has identified four core themes that are critical to the future success of this industry. These four themes are the focus of UAVS' development and operational strategy.
In the emerging UAS industry, developers face major challenges in meeting regulatory standards, especially with regards to airspace access and control. UAVS is ideally positioned to be the UAS industry's key point of contact with government and regulators. The association has worked hard to gain recognition as a key player in coordinating proposals for major regulatory reform and has developed strong relationships with key decision-makers in UK government and in the civil regulatory bodies.
UAVS recognises that regulation is not an isolated issues and that progress can only be achieved hand-in-hand with other issues, such as certification. Its integral role within regulatory development in the UK has allowed UAVS to also take an active role in pursuing the development of certification requirements for new UAVs, especially in terms of pushing the envelope for certification of UAVs operating outside of restricted airspace.
UAVS has become a conduit for agreeing certification requirements with government and the CAA. The certification requirements are being informed by UAVS work within the CAA's DAP UAV Steering Group and also allows UAVS to be one of the first to disseminate new requirements as they are developed by government. This allows UAVS members to keep up to date with airworthiness certification and insurance issues, ensuring that development of systems is not compromised by these potential pitfalls.
UAVS has also recognised the need to understand and develop UAS operator training procedures that will work in unison with regulatory and certification issues. UAVS anticipated the trend within regulatory circles towards the need for a qualification process for UAS operators deploying systems outside restricted airspace and has seized the opportunity to be an active partner in the discussion through its membership and its contact with Government.
The Association has endorsed the need for appropriate training for safe operation of UAVs and is pursuing initiatives to establish accredited UAS training centres. It is also working with Government to set out clear guidelines as to the level of qualification for UAV commanders and pilots.
Training is one of the most important ways that safety of operations is maintained and that business and operational effectiveness is developed. Established trainers are putting emphasis on the development of a standardised way for the initiation and development of tomorrow's UAS crews, while retaining a keen sense of practical implementation.
UAVS understands that while military operations continue to dominate current UAS applications the future will see increasing use of UAVs in parapublic and civil roles. It is important for the growth of the industry that paths to the civil market are opened as early as possible and UAVS takes very seriously the challenges of operating UAVs in the civil environment.
As a result, the Association is taking a progressive and pro-active role in promoting the civil use of UAVs in key civil markets, such as agriculture and maritime search and rescue. UAVS is working to ensure that potential civil users are kept aware of key developments in both regulation and technology while exploring how best to secure regular operation of UAVs in civil airspace.
As with civilian and commercial aircraft operations, the manufacturers of the platforms and payloads are not likely to be the eventual operators of the UAS. Operators will have to comply with all the normal regulatory requirements associated with controlled airspace but will have to demonstrate a level of competence and safe operation that may be in excess of that required on manned aircraft.
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