Updated: Apr 27, 2020
In April 2020, amongst the constant wave of bad news we all faced, Vantage received some amazing news from the Civil Aviation Authority; we got our OSC approved!
Amongst the congratulations we received, it became apparent that not many people actually knew what an OSC was (Operating Safety Case). After months and months of work and waiting for approval, it's a shame our success was, although well realised, not fully understood; So I'll try my best to help you see why something you've never heard of is so important in the world of drones!
To understand an OSC, first we need to understand the rules of a standard permission PfCO holder. We've already touched on what a PfCO is and why it matters (check it out here first if you haven't already). So here's why an OSC matters even more!
As a PfCO holder, the CAA permits you to take off and fly in congested areas, like towns, villages and cities...but, there are still limitations to what is allowed.
First, a drone pilot needs to make sure that on take off, everything within 30m is under their control. Now imagine trying to make sure you have control of every building and member of public in a 30m radius in a town or city? Not easy is it!
Secondly, once in the air they need to make sure they have an imaginary 50m radius bubble around their drone and make sure everything in that bubble is under their control. For the most part, they can just fly the drone up to a good height above the ground and that's pretty much it... 50m bubble achieved!
That's not always possible when you're trying to film something and being too high up means you cannot get your subject in frame properly, or what if you need to get close enough to inspect a roof which is surrounded by other buildings? Good luck getting permission from everyone and everything in 50m!
That's where the OSC comes in. With a well written piece of documentation outlining the procedures we intend to use, the systems we use/maintain, our current experience and what risks/mitigation will be involved in our operations (clue... a lot!), the CAA can grant us additional permissions to fly closer to people and buildings not under our control. (ie without having to get consent from every man and his dog!) Not only that, we are allowed to fly higher than 400ft and fly over 500m away, as well as being allowed closer to crowds of people.
For an OSC to be appreciated you have to understand the amount of rules and planning us legal drone pilots already have to adhere to with a PfCO. With the addition of an OSC, it puts us along side a tiny group of professional drone pilots where the CAA is willing to let us go above and beyond (literally) what other drone pilots are allowed.
It means planning a job relies less on chasing building owners for permission. It means when making videos, we can get shots very few people can without a lot of extra organisation. It means when making 3D models, we can get that extra detail.
It means when you work with Vantage, you'll be working with a company that took the time to write 169 pages of documentation to show the CAA how safe they are.
For details on the permissions we have in our OSC, take a look here
If you're another drone company who want to utilise our additional permissions, please get in touch. We offer a white-label service to ensure your brand is still recognised, but your ability to complete work is not compromised.