Icarus Aerospace, Inc., of Woodlyn, PA, has signed an agreement with ARGUS International to offer training and documentation management to drone operators willing to adopt manned aviation-inspired Safety Management Systems (SMS) to guide their UAV activities. This development falls in line with their focus on creating more awareness for drone safety standards and methodologies.
We had an opportunity to interview Joshua K. Brown, President and CEO of Icarus Aerospace during the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas.
Juan: When did you decide to add the SMS for unmanned operators in the public safety arena to your services?
Joshua: Safety has always been important to me. I’ve been part of the NASA UTM project and I don’t see drone manufacturers and operators rushing to address safety concerns. Everyone seems to be focused on getting new products and services out the door with little attention to the safety of the flights involved. The FAA is all about safety and I saw a void between the two approaches. I attended AUVSI last year and met with a number of public safety organizations, so I raised the issue. I asked them why they didn’t have a UAS SMS in place?
Juan: And what was the reaction?
Joshua: The reaction was very positive. I’ve been involved with New Jersey Innovation Institute & the FAA Technical Center research, and I know that if we don’t start applying manned aviation safety standards to the unmanned community, our chances of full integration of manned and unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace are slim, at best. I’ve been a SWAT Instructor, a Firefighter/Medic and I’ve been in the military. People have trusted me with their life, and that’s the reason I told the public safety community that they need to have an SMS in place for drone operations.
Juan: And that generated some potential customers for your company?
Joshua: Yes, we are now working with our partner, ARGUS, and a number of public safety organizations across the country in the implementation of baseline safety protocols. These protocols will allow agencies to operate safer in their daily duty of saving lives and protecting the public. We are also going to be partnering with one of the largest public safety industry resources to offer unmanned solutions insight.
Juan: Can you describe your partnership with Argus?
Joshua: After working with the FAA for years, I know that they’re all about safety and adoption of common standards. That’s why I knew I needed a partner to bring decades of manned aviation experience to the table so I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel. I met with Joe (Joseph Moeggenberg, President and CEO of Argus) and I knew they were the right organization for Icarus. Argus is the true steward of unmanned knowledge to build a foundation of excellence based in skill & safety. After four months of negotiations, we reached an agreement on the training and documentation side of the certification process, and we have been issuing accreditation to our customers following Argus standards.
Juan: What can you tell us about that accreditation?
Joshua: We are having meetings with major metropolitan Police & Fire departments and military/defense forces amongst others. Currently though, we’re working with the Airborne Law Enforcement Association and PSI Tactical, of Physical Sciences Inc., and we have agreed that safety protocols for unmanned operations is the path to national standardization. I’m expecting to issue the first full scale UAS SMS Public Safety certifications very shortly.