Flight Operations Manual Question


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Hello all,

I'm just starting up with my Part 107 and am working on getting some experience and eventually contracting myself out locally. Looking at the requirements for ramp check compliance, some of it seems straightforward and some I'm finding a little confusing. One of the parts that is giving me trouble is the flight operations manual. As a single person operation (I am the only PIC), I'm finding myself pretty intimidated by the flight operations manual examples I've seen so far. A lot of them seem to discuss personnel aspects, safety training, and the like, but without training anyone besides myself through outside resources, what would that look like for me? Is there a template that relates to a one man show? Other self-employed pilots, how long did it take you to put together your flight operations manual, and does it look similar to that of a bigger company? I really want to make sure I'm doing everything by the book, but it feels like I'm putting together a legal document in my own words and it seems a bit over my head.

 

Thanks for any tips,

Chad

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There’s no standard for a flight operations manual. It’s intended to be a safety manual that details the procedures taken for safe flight, not a “how to” fly a drone manual.  Keep it simple and brief.  

I’m not sure why people think it’s necessary to include so much.  

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Hey Chad. @Av8Chuck is correct - there is no standard nor requirement to have a manual. You are correct - there is little out there to give you guidance (HINT @Isabella | UAV Coach and @Alan Perlman, maybe a future blog post or guide with a starter template?)

Getting started I wouldn't spin your wheels on it. Put a good checklist in place that covers safety and procedures for equipment and operations. If and when you start working with bigger clients or government agencies, you may need something more robust. I put mine together because I needed a Safety Management System to get a waiver, and an operations manual was an easy way to do it. Bonus is it sets us apart as a professional aerial media company as I go for larger clients and contracts. I ONLY did it because I had to. 

I suggest you skip the paperwork and spend your time marketing and practicing your skills.

Edited by Joey Ambrose
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Thanks for chiming in @Av8Chuck and @Joey Ambrose — I think the confusion might be coming from a blog post we wrote a while ago:

https://www.dronepilotgroundschool.com/ramp-checks/

It might feel a bit intimidating for a solo operator, but the reality is that as long as you're organized and have some basic checklists in place, you can always create stuff that's more robust if clients demand it longer term.

Joey, great idea for a starter template, will add to our list :)

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