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What can I do with a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC)

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Imagine being able to authorise your own drone operations without always needing to seek prior approval from a competent authority. That’s one of the exciting privileges that come with holding a Light UAS Certificate (LUC).

The Power of LUC

An LUC holder has the ability to self-authorise operations based on a Standard Scenario (STS). Furthermore, the certificate grants the power to authorise one or multiple types of operations that may include:

  • Those based on a Pre-defined Risk Assessment (PDRA) that would otherwise require an authorisation
  • Those based on modifications of an STS, which don’t involve changes in the Concept of Operations (ConOps), the category of drones used, or the competencies of the remote pilots
  • Those that don’t correspond to a PDRA, but fall within a type of activity already performed by the UAS operator.

Tailoring Operations to Safety Levels

For UAS operations conducted at Specific Assurance and Integrity Levels (SAIL) V and VI, the authority mandates the LUC holder to use a drone with a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Type Certificate (TC). For operations conducted at SAIL III and IV, the authority will specify if the LUC holder must use a drone with an EASA TC.

Gradual Approach to Granting Privileges

The competent authority can take a gradual approach when granting privileges to LUC applicants. If the UAS operator has a strong safety performance and safety record over a defined period (e.g., the previous 6 months), the authority can widen the operator’s privileges.

This approach doesn’t prevent the authority from granting broader privileges to a first-time LUC applicant. If the applicant has a well-structured organisation, competent personnel, an effective safety management system, and a proven compliance disposition, they can still be granted greater privileges.

LUC Requirements

The LUC Manual

An integral part of holding an LUC is the requirement to provide the competent authority with a manual. This manual, signed by the accountable manager, describes the organisation’s structure, the relevant procedures, and the activities carried out. It confirms that the organisation will comply with the Regulation and with the approved LUC manual at all times.

If a partner organisation or subcontractor carries out any activity, the UAS operator must include in the LUC manual procedures on managing the relationship with these entities. Any changes to the manual to keep it updated must be provided to the competent authority.  

The Safety Management System (SMS)

LUC applicants must establish, implement, and maintain a safety management system. This system should be proportional to the organisation’s size and the nature and complexity of its activities. It should take into account the inherent hazards and associated risks in these activities.

The UAS operator must also fulfil several duties, such as nominating an accountable manager, defining clear lines of responsibility, establishing a safety policy, and appointing key safety personnel.

Diving into the world of LUC can be an exciting journey, as it opens up a realm of possibilities in the drone operations sector while ensuring safety and compliance.