Why do drone pilots log their flight time?
1. The FAA Recommends that Drone Pilots Log Maintenance and Inspections
Although the FAA does not require drone pilots to log flight data, they strongly recommend it – primarily for the purpose of tracking the flight time accumulated by each drone, along with maintenance and inspection records. Paragraph 7.3.5 of FAA Advisory Circular 107-2 states: “ . . . Recordkeeping of documented maintenance and inspection events reinforces owner/operator responsibilities for airworthiness through systematic condition for safe flight determinations . . .”
2. Enhanced Overall Safety of Drone Operations
Further, § 7.3.5 of FAA Advisory Circular 107-2 states that “. . . Maintenance and inspection recordkeeping provides retrievable empirical evidence of vital safety assessment data defining the condition of safety-critical systems and components supporting the decision to launch”.
3. Legal Compliance
When applying for a Part 107 waiver, you may be asked to show documentation of flight training and experience to demonstrate risk mitigation. Additionally, in the unfortunate event of an accident, you may be asked to provide aircraft maintenance logs to show that the aircraft was properly maintained.
4. Competitive Advantage
In order to differentiate yourself from the ever-increasing field of Drone Service Providers, it is important to leverage experience and capabilities that give you a competitive advantage. One way of standing out from the crowd is to document and highlight your flight hours. This can be easily done by maintaining a log entry for each flight – whether for practice flights or actual missions – in a hard copy or electronic flight log.
5. Reduced insurance Premiums
Insurance underwriters often consider a pilot’s flight experience and safety record when pricing liability policies for drone pilots. Those with well-documented processes and recordkeeping systems in place – and the flight data to back it up – may find themselves rewarded with reduced insurance premiums.
Yes – keeping flight logs does add to the list of things that a drone pilot must do. However, proper recordkeeping of flight logs and aircraft maintenance can provide many benefits for commercial drone operators, including regulatory/legal compliance, cost avoidance and competitive advantage.
From The Editor:
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