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  • Is PDRA-G03 practical course approved by CAA and valid in all EU countries?
    Short answer - gradual Yes. Not all EASA members have implemented or started to implement latest EASA regulation and you may find some country-specific requirements to exist. PDRA-G03 is still a very "fresh" scenario which was published in Sept '22 and might or might not be recognised in your country. But good news is that gradually all countries will comply with EASA regulation. In case you would like to speed up the process, please fill free to contact your local CAA for detailed information and acceptable means of compliance for agricultural spraying drone pilot training.
  • Is STS theory and practice course approved by CAA?
    Short answer - yes. There is no requirement for STS theory course to be accredited by CAA and normally they don't issue such accreditation. On other hand, organisation which offers an STS theory and practice exam has to hold status of CAA recognised assessment entity or similar status. STS theory exams and practical exams are offered by BCN Drone Center, which is accredited to offer STS theory exams and STS-01 / STS-02 practical exams.
  • Is your organisation a recognised assessment entity?
    Yes, SIA Aeronovus ( Crop Pilot School) is a recognised assessment entity accredited by Latvian CAA for remote pilot practical skill assessment under PDRA-G03 scenario. All certificates issued by Crop Pilot School or BCN Drone Center may or may not be accepted by EASA member states. Please contact your local CAA for an up-to-date information on acceptable training standards.
  • What is a PDRA?
    PDRA is a predefined risk assessment for specific category. In order to receive a operational authorisation from CAA you have to prove that your operations are well planned and will be carried out safe in safe manner. Currently there are 5 PDRA's and PDRA-G03 is designed for agricultural spraying drone operations.
  • What is a PDRA-G03 scenario?
    In order to get an operational authorisation ( flight permit) from your local CAA, UAS operators must submit operational risk assessment. PDRA-G03 is predefined risk assessment which meets the requirements of agricultural spraying drones, i.e. flights are performed under 30 meter above ground level beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for drone dimensions up to 3 meters ( for example XAG P100). UAS operator may choose to submit a non-predefined risk assessment, such as SORA (specific operations risk assessment), but is much more complex process. In short, if your operation falls under any PDRA (predefined risk assessment), than it shall be used instead of SORA. If your drone is marginally above 3 meters ( e.g. DJI T30 - 3 meters and 13 cent. ), please verify with your local CAA to accept PDRA-G03 scenario.
  • What is SORA?
    SORA is based on the document developed by JARUS, providing a vision on how to safely create, evaluate and conduct an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operation. The SORA provides a methodology to guide both the UAS operator and the competent authority in determining whether a UAS operation can be conducted in a safe manner. You can find more information about SORA on EASA home page.
  • Where can I find more information about current PDRA's ?
    You can find detailed information on EASA home page
  • Under PDRA-G03 scenario maximum dimensions are 3 meters. What happens if my spraying drone is bigger than 3 meters?
    PDRA is evaluating two main UAS parameters - maximum dimensions and typical kinetic energy. For PDRA-G03 scenario maximum dimensions are 3 meters (measured diagonally) and typical kinetic energy up to 34 kJ. If the drone dimensions are a little bit above 3 meters, but kinetic energy is below 34 kJ, you might get exemption from your local CAA. Normally all spraying drones flying 3-7 meters above the ground are far away from reaching 34kJ value. For example, heavy XAG P100 ( MTOM 93 kg ) and DJI T40 ( MTOM 101 kg ) kinetic energy is well below 10 kJ. You can calculate your drone kinetic energy using formula KE= m*g*h. (m - mass, g - free fall acceleration, h - height above ground, typically not more than 7 meters)
  • What operations fall under UAS specific category?
    A drone can be operated in the ‘specific’ category when it is operated outside of the operational limitations laid out under the ‘open’ drone category. Examples of UAS operations in the ‘specific’ category are: BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line Of Sight When using a drone with MTOM (maximum take of mass) > 25 kg Flying higher than 120m above ground level When dropping material When operating drone in an urban environment with a MTOM> 4 kg or without a class identification label Agricultural drone operations fall under specific category as most of the spraying drones are above 25 kg, are flying BVLOS and dropping materials. For example, if you are flying a DJI Agras T10 or any other drone below 25 kg in visual line of sight, it is still considered specific category as you are spraying/spreading (dropping) products or materials. More information about specific category
  • I already have an A1/A3, A2 and STS certificate. Can I operate a spraying drone in specific category?
    As a pilot you must hold both certificates - STS theory certificate and PDRA-G03 practical assessment accreditation. Just like in driving school - you will get a driving license only after passing both, theory and practical exam.
  • Will I need any additional training if I chose to operate under SORA instead of PDRA-G03?
    PDRA-G03 practical training includes all training modules which might be included for operations under SORA, such as BVLOS module, night operations module and transport and/or dropping of cargo module. Basically, PDRA-G03 is a SORA analysis prepared by EASA/Jarus to facilitate authorisation process. PDRA-G03 is an extract from SORA methodology, therefore training requirements will be similar or identical.
  • Where can I find detailed information about drone regulations, SORA, PDRA and training requirements?
    A comprehensive compilation of all regulations relevant to drones can be found here - Easy Access Rules for UAS. We recommend using PDF version of this document for a quick search.
  • Who decides what type of training is necessary for operations in specific category?
    The UAS operator is required to identify the competencies required for the remote pilot according to the outcome of the risk assessment. Operator can use a pre-defined risk assessment ( PDRA) to avoid complicated process of SORA analysis. Crop Pilot School practical course is based on PDRA-G03 scenario, which is suitable for agricultural drone operations and is valid in all EASA/EU countries.
  • Where can I find my countries CAA contact details?
    All EASA member state contact information is here
  • Local drone dealer is offering practical training. Is this training good for CAA?
    Please contact your national CAA to check whether your local dealer is a CAA recognised assessment entity accredited for specific category remote pilot practical skill training and assessment. Even though drone dealers have a lot of knowledge and experience with their drones, they normally don't have CAA accreditation for practical training, therefore such training doesn't allow you to legally operate a spraying drone. ( Example - Toyota or VW dealer normally don't run a driving school or issue drivers license )
  • Which drone is best for my business for spraying crops?
    There is no straight answer to this question. Most important criteria when choosing a drone: a) Do you have a local drone dealer, which will provide service, spare parts and warranty repairs, if necessary? For example, some drone brands don't have many dealers throughout Europe and you might have to send your drone to other EU country to make some minor repairs. Yes, drones do have crashes and you wouldn't like to wait a month or two to get spare parts from China. b) Does the drone have a good instructions manual? You will have difficulties flying the drone if there is no clear procedure or video tutorial how to fly the drone. You will have issues to prepare safety procedure for operations manual if some procedures and not described by manufacturer. For example, XAG doesn't include some safety procedures in standard drone manual, but we can offer this information free of charge. c) Does the drone have flight safety features such as return to home (RTH) function or an obstacle avoidance radar? Same like seatbelt and airbags in your car - you don't use every day, but always good to have. d) Is the drone efficient? Some drones have poor aerodynamics and most of the product is literally blown away by the wind, making spraying less effective. Look for a smaller number of sprinklers - 2 or 4 instead of 6 or 8; as well as for smaller number of propellers - currently, 4 motor multicopter is the best solution. e) Is the drone capable of providing required droplet size? In some countries there is a strict requirement for pesticide spraying parameters - normally droplet size ranges from 300 to 500 microns. For example, DJI T40 can produce droplet size from 50 to 300 microns and XAG P100 from 60 to 400 microns. Check for other country-specific spraying requirements before you buy a drone. These and other points are discussed during our Business course. Currently most user friendly and widely used drones are XAG and DJI. Check if you have a local dealer nearby for XAG and DJI. (P.S. No dealer in your country? Maybe you want to become a dealer?)
  • Can I get full insurance cover for my spraying drone? Will I get compensation if it falls down, gets stolen or damaged during accident?
    Yes, there is such an opportunity to purchase full protection. Contact your local insurance providers to find out what exactly is covered under CASCO insurance. We recommend insurance cover from well-established drone insurance company Coverdrone.
  • Can I buy a drone from you?
    Our training centre specialises in pilot training and we don't represent any drone brand. There is no ideal drone for all agricultural scenarios and our task is to explain what is best solution for your job. We ensure high standards of training and independent opinion about any drone used during the practical exercises. During the course you will learn about possible shortcomings or issues with the most popular spraying drones and how to overcome them. That information you will normally not hear from drone dealers.
  • What products can be sprayed using drones?
    Please check your national legislation. In some European countries you are allowed to spray pesticides ( Hungary, Switzerland). Follow your national guidelines for spraying of fertilisers, which are normally allowed for drone spraying. Normally there are no restrictions for spreading or under-sowing of seeds ( cover crops, catch crops, etc.)
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