It’s easy for companies to get excited about the possibilities of drones. New data, safer working conditions, more efficiencies — these are attractive for most businesses. Establishing standards for a drone program? Less exciting. Admittedly, creating safety and compliance guidelines isn’t anyone’s favorite task, but it’s an essential step for setting up a successful drone program.
As Skyward has written about before, the most efficient drone programs are usually the safest. For both efficiency and safety, Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are essential. They guide the way operations are planned in the office and conducted in the field. They promote safety, compliance, and consistency across a whole program.
Let’s take a quick look at standard operating procedures — and how Skyward makes implementing them easier with our Take Flight package.
What should a drone program’s standard operating procedures include?
I already gave a few reasons why standard operating procedures matter. They’re especially important to larger enterprises who might have fleets of drones distributed nationally or even internationally, or may be performing higher-risk operations.
Without standards for your program, you risk breaking regulations, which could lead to legal trouble and ultimately shut down your program. On the other hand, by following operating standards, crews can produce very consistent results and even improve net safety in many cases.
So what should go into your standard operating procedures? At a minimum, they should include policies and resources for:
- Drone Management
- Crew Operations
- Training Handbook
- Maintenance Procedures
- Emergency Procedures
You’ll want to have detailed, comprehensive policies in each of these areas. This is your source of truth for your drone operations. It should cover the majority of questions your crews could ask in the office or the field.
The Skyward solution: Take Flight
Recently, Skyward overhauled our Take Flight package — a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures and policies to help you establish or level up your drone program.
Skyward has been offering Take Flight for years. Major companies such as Moss & Associates and Great River Energy have found success partnering with Skyward to incorporate drone standard operating procedures into their everyday operations.
We regularly update Take Flight to make sure it reflects the latest regulatory changes and best practices in a rapidly-changing industry. Additionally, every Take Flight customer receives consulting with Skyward’s drone experts to tailor the package to your company’s particular needs and use cases. We’ll even help you implement your policies and support you through a mission under your new standards.
So what sets Take Flight apart as an ideal solution for your standard operating procedures?
Most companies who sell standard operating procedures provide them in the form of huge, generic packages. These templates may be hundreds of pages long, and they may not vary from industry to industry. They tend to be updated slowly, so they often fail to account for ever-changing FAA regulations. Ultimately, they often don’t meet the customer’s needs and use cases.
On the other hand, Skyward’s Take Flight package taps into our Professional Services team’s years of industry experience in civil, military, and drone aviation. Take Flight offers standard operating procedures that have been tested and proven in the field, operational checklists for full compliance, and a wealth of other resources.
But we don’t just hand you the documents to figure out for yourself — we also provide a simple, guided approach to developing and implementing the procedures by closely partnering with your team. We cater Take Flight specifically to your use cases and intended organizational structure.
Implementing Take Flight at a major enterprise
Skyward partnered with Moss & Associates, a major construction company, to help them launch their drone program. The first step was delivering the Take Flight package and working with the health and safety team to customize it for their needs. Scott Gerard, VP of Environmental, Health & Safety at Moss, let us know that it was a great experience for his team.
“It was about as ‘Moss-ified’ of a package as we could have hoped for,” Scott said. “My gut feeling is that if it had been anybody else, I would’ve gotten a boilerplated package three or four hundred pages long, and 50% of it wouldn’t have applied to what we were doing. But it appears to me that Skyward’s team combed through it pretty carefully based on our needs and what our missions were going to look like.”
Interested in Take Flight? Visit skyward.io/take-flight for more information.