The following provides an outline of the operations manual that we utilize as part of the SFOC application and internal processes to cover processes and standard operating procedures and training. This can vary based on your organizations structure but this is what we use and a general guide.
Having proper processes and procedures defined is a large component of the SFOC application, it demonstrates that you have systems and procedures in place to deal with all parts of the operation and have taken time to account for all aspects involved.
The SI document outlines the core required content that is expected as part of an SFOC application, however your document may go above and beyond this to cover your actual full processes in use. The level of detail required is also dependent on the SFOC application type, however we suggest aiming for the highest level as defined under the Compliant application.
We typically combine the operations manual, standard operating procedures, and training manual into a single document but they may be done separately as well.
Cover Page – Give the document a clear title that states what the document is.
Table of Contents – Provide a table of contents for the document to make it easily navigable by the reader.
Introduction – Provide a brief overview of what the manual covers.
Revisions – Tracking the revisions and updates to all documents is a requirement for most SFOCs and a good practice in general. Note the version of the document, the date of the update, and notes as to what changed for a given revision.
Operational & Flight Procedures – Define the processes and procedures that will be used during operations and flights. This will make up the majority of the document and will be specific to how your operate. It should cover elements such as:
- Flight Parameters & Conditions in which operations may be performed, including weather limitations and airspace specific parameters.
- Air Traffic Service Provider Coordination
- Pre-Operation Procedures, including site survey process.
- Pre-Flight Procedures
- In-Flight Procedures, including inadvertent flight into controlled airspace procedures and fly aways.
- Post-Flight Procedures
- Post-Operation Procedures
- Accident/Incident Reporting Procedures
- UAV System Security, including both physical and technical security measures.
Security Plan – Define the plan for security and maintaining safety within the operational area. Include any equipment that will be used to help secure various zones within the flight area.
Emergency Contingency Plan – Define the processes and procedures that will be used in the event of emergency that may happen during an operation. Include details on the emergency equipment that will be on hand and procedures for contacting outside authorities, etc.
System Airworthiness – Define the processes and procedures that will be used to establish and maintain the airworthiness of your UAVs. This would include the processes and procedures used to inspect, repair, and track scheduled and unexpected maintenance.
Manuals & Logs – Define all of the checklists, logs, manuals, and associated documents that will be part of your operating procedures. Ex: Flight Log and what data that will be tracked and when and how this log will be used and maintained.
Roles & Responsibilities – Define all roles and their associated responsibilities as setup within your organization as it related to UAV operations. Ex: Operations Manager, Pilot, Observer, etc.
Training & Experience – Define the training and experience level required for each of the defined roles within your organization as it relates to UAV operations. Also define how training will be given and tracked.
Personnel – Provide bios of the key personnel involved with your organization. Provide any and all details on their background and experience as it relates to the operation of UAVs to help show their experience level. Include any training certificates and licenses they may hold.
Insurance – Provide details on your insurance coverage.
Appendices – Provide templates/samples of all checklists, logbooks, and associated documents used as defined in your standard operating procedures.