The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued the first Remotely Piloted Aircraft/Drones RPAS Operators Certificate (ROC) to Oando Plc.
Thus, the organisation is pioneering the issuance of certificate to civil/private operators in the unmanned aircraft operations category.
The certificate was received by Oando Reservoir and Production Services Limited, having satisfied the requirements and found competent to secure the safe operation of the aircraft type Lockheed Martins SN 248-255.
NCAA said the certificate is for flights with the purpose of aerial work specifically Environmental Observation Monitoring and Protection.
The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman, presented the Certificate to Oando Plc at the Aviation House at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Oando Plc team was led by the General Manager, Operations, Mr. Anthony Sawyer, who received the certificate on behalf of the oil company.
Speaking during the presentation, the NCAA DG advised Oando 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.
Usman enjoined the recipient to expect some initial minor challenges, noting that these were not entirely unexpected in any new initiative; assuring, however, that NCAA would be very agile in responding to these challenges.
Taking cognisance of the rapid pace of technological development, the DG said the RPAS regulatory framework was a work in progress, promising that the agency would continually engage the industry stakeholders to review the regulations when necessary.
In his response, Mr. Anthony Sawyer explained the Oandoâ€™s Managing Directorâ€™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.
He promised that Oando would definitely abide by all the conditions attached to the certificate, especially with our pioneer status.
NCAA said to qualify for the issuance of certificate, applicants are expected to undergo five phases, which include pre-application, formal application, document evaluation, demonstration and inspection and certification phases.
â€œThe RPAS Operators Certificate (ROC) shall remain in force till June 15, 2019 and shall be carried on site during each authorised/approved operations.
â€œNCAA will continue to provide opportunities and level playing field for all prospective and existing operators in all categories of aviation and its allied services,â€ the regulatory authority said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye.