[This is excerpted from an interview conducted by Jeremiah Karopwicz with Aaron Greenwald, President of the Unmanned Safety Institute.]
The tremendous growth in the use of UAS must be met with the understanding – and acceptance – that serious consequences will follow those without proper safety training in this field.
We are finding after the initial shock of “non-aviators” being forced to look into the professional pilot’s world of regulations and procedures governing the airspace around us, they see the magnitude of the safety concerns staring back at them and embrace the safe practices that we teach them.
Our approach to UAS safety is based on what works in commercial aviation: reducing human error, improving technology reliability, and building safe organizations. Our approach is a proven method, time-tested in commercial aviation and adopted for the UAS industry.
The biggest challenge from a safety perspective is exposing a non-pilot to a pilot’s world and then surgically imprinting into their operational thought-process years of “safety culture” training – instantly.
Most companies or agencies are challenged with incorporating UAS into their current operations while simultaneously adapting to changes in regulations as this industry matures. We have seen everything from no Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for UAS integration to well-intended policy mentioning that UAS exist within their agency.
The two things that drive a successful business model in the commercial industry is profit, and everything else that helps create a profit. When safety is left out of that equation, you either become a part of the headline news or quietly go out of business and added to textbooks as an example of what not to do if success is your goal.
Recently there has been a whole series of safety articles, services and recommendations. All focus on the difference between “us” versus “them” and offer various approaches to the problem. I think Aaron hits it on the head when he talks about the challenges of instantly imprinting “safety culture” on new recruits. Perhaps a Venutian Mind Meld is the only solution.
In my mind, safety particularly needs to address the business entity behind the flight operation – the PIC may have the last word as Terry Miller suggested after the crash at the at the ski race in Italy in December 2015, but the business boys and girls behind the contract need to join the club as well. Equating safety to profit as Aaron does here, is one way guaranteed to get their attention.