…FG establishes safety team for Drone operations
By Sade Williams
Efforts are ongoing to integrate the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) into the Nigerian Airspace structure, Hadi Sirika, Minister of State Aviation, said on Monday.
Speaking while declaring open the RPAS symposium held in Abuja, he said government was also establishing a Safety Team on RPAS that will include a wide variety of stakeholders in the aviation industry.
According to him, there is ‘the need to incorporate Remotely Piloted Aircraft and their users into our culture of safety and responsibility. But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t stifle the enthusiasm for this growing industry. The best way to accomplish this is to partner with a wide range of stakeholders, government, aviation regulators and manufacturers’.
He added that Nigeria the most complex and busiest airspace in west and central Africa, and it is NCAA’s responsibility to ensure it’s safety for public use.
“While valuable inputs on regulations are being received from stakeholders and building concensus through public sensitization, the Government is making substantial progress in integrating RPAS into Nigerian Airspace structure.
“Consequently, the Government through Civil Aviation Authority is establishing a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Safety Team that will include a wide variety of stakeholders in the aviation industry. This is similar to the highly successful NCAA Safety Surveillance Team. This group will analyze safety data developed, to identify emerging threats that RPAS may pose to aircraft, people, and property. They will also develop mitigation strategies to address these threats and prevent future accidents.
“The creation of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Safety Team reflects the importance of this issue to the Government, and the value of collaboration with stakeholders.
“The Team will help to develop recommendations that will assist the government to create RPAS registration system in the shortest possible time. While the registration will help connect RPAS with its operator in cases where people are not complying with rules and guidelines”, he said.
According to Sikika, the event also presents a valuable opportunity to educate users on how to operate their Remotely Piloted Aircraft safely.
“In addition to educating hobbyists, NCAA’s Regulations Committee is putting a regulatory framework in place to address the commercial use of RPAS as well. By working together we will ensure that we continue to fully participate in the global roadmap in the development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and its integration into the aviation industry worldwide”, he added.