ICARUS Ambassador Jeremy Costello - Operational Evaluation

Operational Evaluation – 01/12/16

Since passing my ground school course with Aerial Motion Pictures, I had kind of sat back a little bit with regards to actually taking my OE. I had just thought “I will do it in the next few months”With the evenings drawing in and the weather getting worse, I only got chance to fly at the weekends, and if the weather permitted it! This was my only time to practice flying in atti mode ready for my OE. In the last week of November I thought enough was enough and if I didn’t book my OE now, it wouldn’t be done until the new year. So, I called AMP and they managed to fit me in at short notice for Thursday 1st December. I had the majority of the equipment needed already, but still had a few bits to get, and now with only 3 days to do it, this became a bit of a rush! I’d like to give a special thank you to Nic at uav.graphics for really helping me out with my landing pad; making me a custom design and getting it sent out at such short notice, along with a safety sign. Thanks, Nic!

Now that I had finally got all of my equipment together, I really started getting stressed about the procedure side of things (most people seem to get stressed about the flying part of the OE, I was completely confident in my flying, but not in my procedural skills with regards to giving briefings etc!) A couple more thanks are in order for giving me a lot of their time in person and on the phone, which helped me realise I could do the OE and didn’t need to stress myself out about it, so thanks Will Beasley, Adam Blackmore-Heal and Anthony Hollingsworth-Ellary. (Adam and Anthony are both FlyIcarus candidates too)

Finally, the day came for my OE, after some last-minute revision for my briefing and procedures I drove down to Howbery Park with plenty of time to spare, and sat in the car for 15 minutes going over everything again. I nervously made my way over to the AMP office, and was met by the lovely Ella who made me feel at ease and very welcome. A quick coffee later I was introduced to Tom and went over the safety briefing and a few other bits.

Now it was time for me to go out and do my On-site Risk Assessment.A 5 minute walk across the grounds to the field and I was met by a herd of cows, luckily all laying down at the far end of the field! After my risk assessment was done I went back to the AMP office to give Tom my briefing. This was where I felt quite nervous as I had never had to do anything like this before. Luckily, Tom made me feel at ease and helped me through the briefing without too much of a problem (it’s hard to explain about the equipment I’m using and what I will be doing to someone as skilled as Tom, without feeling patronising!)

Briefing now complete, it was time to put everything into action. I was given half an hour to go and get set up in the field. To be honest, I could have done with a little bit more time, as the 3 trips across the field didn’t get any easier carrying all the equipment (first thing on the shopping list is now a tool chest on wheels or something similar, to carry all the equipment!). After a few small hiccups, frozen ground makes it very hard to get landing mat pegs into the ground without a hammer… and the cows had now decided to come and see what I was up to. We even had to shoo away the baby cow who took an interest in my cones and even had a sniff of my aircraft!

Now was the time to fly.

After my pre-flight checks and safety procedures I took off and followed Tom’s instructions for the commercial part of the flight test, all went without a problem. Now the dreaded atti mode part of the test….

I hovered in place about 10m in front of us, about 5m off the ground, flicked the switch into atti mode and nothing… the aircraft didn’t move! I couldn’t have asked for better weather, literally no wind! We both checked on the screen to confirm I was flying in atti mode, and confirmed this with the yellow flashing lights on the aircraft. The word Jammy sprang to mind. I completed the atti flight procedures without a hitch, the circuits of the area and then the figure of eight’s. I ended up completing about 20 figure of eight’s whilst talking to Tom about how other people had done on their OE’s whilst in atti mode.

After landing my OE was complete, after a brief chat Tom congratulated me on passing my assessment! I passed with an A- which I was very pleased with.

The hardest part is now over, and I can start planning for future commercial operations whilst I wait for the CAA to send my PfCO.

A Huge thanks to everyone at Aerial Motion Pictures, the ICARUS Ambassador scheme is an excellent opportunity for people like myself, to have a chance at commercial operations (which may not have been possible, due to the high cost of the steps needed to earn your PfCO). The monthly photo contest gives people the break that they need to get into the industry.

If you're interested in entering the ICARUS Ambassador photo contest, it runs every month on the Fly ICARUS Facebook Page. The winner receives commercial drone training worth £999. For more information on terms and conditions please go to the AMBASSADOR page