UK CAA invites participants to RPAS specific category stakeholder working group

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Digitising Specific Category Operations (DiSCO) project will play a key role in enabling scalable BeyondVisual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) RPAS operations in the UK, transforming the operational authorisation process for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in the Specific Category, says the regulator. The project comprises four key elements looking at risk assessment, pilot competence, flightworthiness, and a new online application tool.

The CAA invites stakeholders to apply to join the DiSCO Stakeholder working group to facilitate engagement, consultation, and collaboration between the CAA and industry. The Working Group will support the CAA in the delivery of the DiSCO project and will continue until postimplementation review, at which point it is intended that the group will be dissolved. The working group will consist of 4 sub-groups

  • Design, Manufacturing and Production
  • Operational Experience
  • Safety/Operational Risk Management
  • User Testing

The project aims to deliver a new globally standardised approach to RPAS risk assessment (SORA), an expanded and enhanced remote pilot competency framework, and a new flightworthiness scheme that allows operators to demonstrate the robustness of their RPAS through assessment by an external Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE). These elements will be brought together within a new online application tool that provides a streamlined and user-friendly process that supports operators in applying for and receiving operational authorisations.

The initial deployment of the application tool will be designed to handle only PDRA-01 applications. These currently account for over 90% of all operational authorisation (OA) requests within the Specific Category, and therefore delivering this functionality first will provide the maximum benefit to users. Under the new application process, based on the declarative nature of PDRA-01, an authorisation will be granted in less than 24 hours. The new PDRA-01 application tool is planned to go-live in March 2024.

The full version of the tool will allow operators to apply for any type of operation, including complex BVLOS operations. The tool will be built around the SORA methodology and include a range of features to support operators in the use of the SORA risk assessment process. This is planned to go-live in Q1/Q2 2025.

As part of this process, the CAA is committed to ensuring that needs and expectations of stakeholders align with the development and implementation of the DiSCO project, maintaining a high standard of safety while continuing to promote efficiency and innovation in Specific Category operations of RPAS. To do this, the CAA is establishing the DiSCO Stakeholder Working Group to facilitate engagement, consultation, and collaboration between the CAA and industry.

Find out more about the DiSCO here

Apply to join the stakeholder working group here

For more information visit:

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