Nigeria: OANDO Receives Drones Operator Certificate

Yemisi Izuora

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued the first Remotely Piloted Aircraft/Drones RPAS Operators Certificate (ROC) to Oando Plc.

Thus the organization is pioneering the issuance of a certificate to civil/private operators in the unmanned aircraft operations category.

Oando Reservoir and Production Services Ltd. received the certificate having satisfied the requirements and found competent to secure the safe operation of the Aircraft type Lockheed Martins SN 248-255.

The certificate is for flights with the purpose of aerial work specifically Environmental Observation Monitoring and Protection.

Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) presented the Certificate to Oando Plc at the Aviation House on the 22nd June 2017.

Oando Plc team led by Mr. Anthony Sawyer, the General Manager, Operations, received the certificate on behalf of the oil company.

Speaking during the presentation, the NCAA DG advised Oando Plc to ensure strict compliance with all the requirements for the grant of an approval.

According to him, the company must adhere to all requirements for the maintenance of an approval applicable to each of the operations specifications.

Capt. Usman enjoined the recipient to expect some initial minor challenges. These are not entirely unexpected in any new initiative; however, theNigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will be very agile in responding to these challenges.

Taking cognizance of the rapid pace of technological development, the DGsaid the RPAS regulatory framework is a work in progress and we shall continually engage the industry stakeholders to review the regulations when necessary.

In his response, Mr. Anthony Sawyer explained the Oando’s Managing Director’s absence as unavoidable. He said the NCAA team was very professional and thorough during the processes towards attaining the certification.

Sawyer said the procedures were rigorous but we were convinced the Authority was doing the right thing in line with its oversight responsibilities.Oando will definitely abide by all the conditions attached to the certificate especially with our pioneer status.

To qualify for the issuance of the certificate, applicants are expected to undergo five phases. These are as follows, Pre-Application, Formal Application, Document Evaluation, Demonstration & Inspection and Certification phase.

The RPAS Operators Certificate (ROC) shall remain in force until 15th June 2019 and shall be carried on site during each authorized/approved operations.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to provide opportunities and level playing field for all prospective and existing operators in all categories of aviation and its allied services.

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