What is a COM?
COM stands for Company Operations Manual. It is a document containing everything from organizational hierarchy charts to recharging procedures to airspace coordination requirements and training procedures.
Do I need one?
COMs are a standard in commercial aviation and are currently one of the requirements to be a Compliant Operator. As regulations change, it is anticipated that all commercial UAV operations will require a COM. In fact, the Notice of Proposed Amendments says
UAV operators meeting certain criteria would need to register with Transport Canada before conducting operations. Transport Canada would require these UAV operators to have, consistent with the nature of its operation and commensurate with the size, structure and complexity of the organization.“
- an adequate management organization;
- a method of control and supervision of flight operations;
- pilot training programs;
- security procedures;
- a maintenance control system;
- a company operations manual; and
- standard operating procedures
(NOTICE OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT (NPA): UNMANNED AIR VEHICLES; Transport Canada 2015)
Benefits of a COM
COMs provide organization, structure, consistency and reassurance. With all operational procedures clearly laid out, they enable Operations Managers to carry less personal liability for the actions of their pilots. They provide easier onboarding of new staff, tie directly into SFOCs for easier submission and renewal, and demonstrate the proficiency and professionalism that Transport Canada expects of commercial aviation organizations.
Negatives of a COM
COMs can be onerous and time consuming to develop. With requirements to list specific Canadian Aviation Regulation abiding procedures for dealing with situations such as
- operations in hazardous conditions such as icing, thunderstorms, white-out, windshear;
- operations conducted from control stations that are situated above 10,000 ft. ASL and associated oxygen requirements for crew members;
- fuelling/charging procedures; and
- use of UAV operating instructions and standard operating procedures;
With 31 required items listed, it’s easy to see why most operators have not gone this route. But what will happen to these operators when the new regulations are released and a COM becomes mandatory?
How Aerobotika Can Help
Be ready for the regulation change. Let us create your COM for you! You simply fill in a form with organization specific details and we’ll do the rest. With over 10 years of developing Transport Canada compliant documentation, you can trust Aerobotika to deliver a complete, comprehensive, and easy-to-use manual.
Do I really need a COM?
Even if you fall into the category of the “2P1D” (2 people, 1 drone) operators, establishing a COM provides an additional leaning opportunity and the ability to create consistency in your missions. This repeatability is critical to safe and efficient operations. It also demonstrates a level of seriousness to Transport Canada to differentiate you from the pack.
For organizations with more than one pilot, a COM is a no-brainer. By establishing a consistent flow of operations, crew can work together seamlessly to deliver safe flights. There’s no better way to keep all your team members “on the same page”.
Don’t end up behind the 8-ball. Do things right, from the beginning!
Package your SFOC and COM
For standing operators, basing your SFOC off of the procedures established in your COM makes the application simpler, yet more comprehensive. By referencing sections of the COM as they apply to the SFOC requirements, you’re demonstrating to Transport Canada that you meet and exceed the minimum standards.