Drone Complier Knowledge Base: Create a Mission

All Flights need to be attached to a mission. In the Mission creation view you can set all the details of your mission including location, equipment, documents and risk assessments.

How To Access

Either:

  1. Click on the Plan Mission icon on the Dashboard.
  2. Go to Activities → Missions in the sidebar menu and select ADD (to create a new mission from scratch) or COPY (to copy details from an existing mission).

Continue to fill in the mission details on each tab

General Tab

 

This is where you will enter the general details of your mission (operation).

Step-by-step guide

  1. Enter a name for your mission. This should be short and meaningful to allow other users / pilots to find it easily by searching the list of missions.
  2. Select the Authority you are flying under. There will be a drop-down list of the various authorisations and certifications that are relevant to your organisation and government authorities. Selecting an authority will determine if you need to complete a job safety assessment and pre-populate JSA questions and checklist items that are related to that authority.
  3. Select a project. This is optional and any mission that is saved without a project will be automatically attached to the “Unallocated Missions” project. Projects are just containers for related missions and are used as a convenient method to group missions for reporting and statistical purposes. The customer is determined by the project the mission is attached to. Unallocated Missions will be assigned to the default internal customer.
  4. Decide if you need to add risk assessments to your mission (you can change this later). This will give access to the Risks tab where you can use the risk assessment matrix tool to describe identified risks and mitigation strategies.
  5. Location. You can type in a location here or on the location tab. You may want to skip this step and use the location tab which contains the mission map. Click the button to use your current location as the mission location. Click the  button to access your list of preset mission areas.
  6. Expected Start and End. These are required as they are used to check resource availability. Click the  button at the end of the input to select your date and time from the date-time picker. Click the “X” at the bottom of the date time picker to close it.
  7. Decide if this mission should generate scheduling conflicts. You would normally say “yes” to this. Examples of missions where you would set this to “No” would be if a mission was created for maintenance test flights that spanned a month (or a year) and was used adhoc for test flights in a pre-approved area.
  8. Minimum and maximum altitudes are used when checking airspace. Minimum altitude should be the lower limit of mission operations – not including take-off or landing (this field is not required). Max altitude will be auto-filled to 400 feet if left blank. These are altitudes IN FEET, ABOVE GROUND LEVEL.
  9. Operation notes. These are more detailed instructions that will appear on the flight approval documents and in the pilot app to give detailed instructions etc.
  10. You can optionally click the “Save Progress” button at the bottom of the screen at this point. You can now exit this mission if you like and return to continue later.

Mission Planning Status will show a green tick if all details are complete – the first time you edit this screen, this will not update until you move to the next tab (location)

Location Tab

 

Define the flight area / flight path for the mission. View airspace restrictions and nearby airports. Manage preset areas.

Step-by-step guide

1 Define the Flight Area / Flight Path

Map Operations relates to defining map features that are used for mission parameters – like the flight area or flight path.

  • Draw a New Flight Area. The default flight area that is created when you first select a location is in the shape of a 750 metre circle around the mission location pin. Click this button to re-draw the flight area.Click on the map to place points for the new shape. Once you have closed the shape (by clicking on the start point), the previous flight area will be removed and the new one set.
  • Point of Interest. Drop a “POI” on the map to mark features in or around the flight area. This will help the pilot give meaningful information on radio calls etc. For example: “I am 750 metres south south west of the Spring Hill Tower”.
  • Add specific references for your takeoff and landing points.
  • Define a flight path. This is different to a flight area as it defines a point to point flight path. This should be used for longer BVLOS style flights. Selecting Flight Path will REMOVE YOUR FLIGHT AREA. Flight Path uses different algorithms to determine if the path crosses zones, even if the way points are not in the zone. It also calculates altitude AMSL to check if any section of a path enters airspace with AMSL lower limits defined.
    This algorithm is very complex and can take several minutes to analyse your flight path.

Flight Area Annotations are just to highlight or add information relevant to the flight area – these do not interact with airspace checking functions.

  • The first 4 options allow you to draw different shapes on the map and annotate them with a heading and description. You can also select a colour. Specific instructions for each type of shape can be accessed by clicking the “?” icon in the popup that opens when the button is clicked.
  • This button will drop a hazard marker on the spot you click. You can then add a title and description.This button will clear all annotations from the map.

Flight Area Annotations are for information purposes only. The location checking algorithms for flight area and flight path do not take them into account.

 

2 Examine the results of the Location Checking Algorithms

Flight Area

When checking the Flight Area, the first component of the display is the airspace stack. This shows a stacked diagram of the airspace above the mission pin location up to the altitude you select from the drop-down box.

Where airspace zones overlap (for example, a smaller restricted zone inside a larger restricted zone), multiple columns will be generated with the most relevant zones in the first column.

The small star in each column indicates the upper altitude for the mission (defaults to 400 feet if none selected).

Clicking on the zone will show more information.

Clicking the “More…” link in the popup will provide more details where they are available.

Flight Path

Below is an example of a flight path added to a mission. It crosses several high ridges.

Flight Path Analysis produces the following graph for the flight path.

The flight path line is drawn at the mission max altitude. In this example, it intersects a restricted zone while crossing the first ridge. It also passes through a national park (yellow) when crossing the ridges.

Notifications

Below the Airspace Stack / Flight Path Analysis is the notifications section.

In this section, issues and information items detected by the location checking algorithms are displayed with the most relevant first.

These can be:

  • Prohibited areas
  • Restricted areas
  • Danger areas
  • TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions US)
  • TRAs (Temporary Resticted Areas AU)
  • National Parks
  • Local Government Areas
  • FAA Laanc Grids
  • Nearby Airports
  • Frequency Information

Clicking on the coloured chevron next to the listing will provide more information.

Airports with a blue chevron also have frequency information available.

If this is an Australian airport, it will show if it is listed in the ERSA. If yes, then you can click on the word “YES” to open the listing.

Any chevron opened will also highlight that area / airport on the map.

In this example, Wollongong Airport is highlighted and the icon is enlarged.

3. Check the weather for the next seven days

Below the map is a quick reference weather chart for the next seven days (48 hours of hourly forecasts, followed by 5 daily forecasts)

This gives a quick overview of temperature, wind, visibility, cloud cover, rain and any issued warnings.

Hovering over any icon will give more details.

Resources Tab

You must specify a start and end date for the operation before you can access this tab as it interacts with the scheduling system.

Specify the resources being used for the operation (mission).

On this tab you can select the Pilot, Aircraft and Additional Equipment (Payloads and Ground Equipment)

Pilot

Select the pilot from the drop-down menu.

Once you select a pilot, an icon will appear next to the drop-down box. It will be (ok), (warning) or (danger). These icons are generated by the scheduling system and currency information for the pilot.

If the icon is warning or danger, clicking on it will show what the issue is.

(Click on the icon again to close the message)

The following fields for Contact Number, Additional Personnel, Additional Personnel Contact are free text fields and do not interact with the scheduling system. They are also optional.

Aircraft

Aircraft selection works much the same as Pilot selection except it checks scheduling and maintenance issues.

Additional Equipment

Click the  button to add new additional equipment. This will open the selection window

Select the desired equipment and click ADD at the bottom of this window to add it to the list.

You can keep adding as many as you need.

JSA Tab

This tab will appear when you have selected to have a Job Safety Assessment (JSA) on the General Tab. Some Authorities will have the “JSA Required” option enabled, so you will be forced to have a JSA for the mission.

Is It Legal?

Determine the appropriate answer to each question.

If you answer “No” to any question, you can fill in the second part of this section to say how it can be made legal (with an exemption, permit, using a tether etc)

Is It Safe?

Use this section to determine if standard operational risks have been addressed.

If you answer “No” to any question, you can select “Yes” in the second part of this section if you plan to use the Risk tab to add a risk mitigation.

Risk Tab

Use this tab to show all risks identified and how they will be mitigated

There are two methods to ad risks to a mission.

1 – Add New Risk Mitigation

This method allows you to create a risk and mitigation strategy from scratch.

Fill in the fields and select the appropriate severity and probability.

The risk factor is based on a 6 x 6 risk matrix defined here

2 – Add Risk Mitigation(s) from Template

Select a Risk Mitigation Template to add any number of predefined risks and mitigations to a mission.

Risk Mitigation Templates are defined at Setup > Risk Mitigation.

Checklists Tab

Checklist items to be used for the operation (mission) are managed on this tab

First View

The first time you view this tab it will be automatically populated based on the Authority (General tab) and resources (Resources tab) that you have selected.

To reset the checklist page, just delete all of the items from each category and close / re-open the tab. This will force a full reload of the default checklist items.

Sections

  1. Pre-Mission – These items will be displayed when the pilot first opens the mission in Pilot Mode. When the mission is opened subsequently, the items will be re-displayed, but will retain the answers originally given.
  2. Pre-Flight – These items need to be answered prior to logging any time against a flight. The answers are not persistent.
  3. Battery Change – This is a new feature and is not implemented on all logging platforms as at the original V3 release. It will prompt the pilot with a checklist every time a battery is changed during a flight.
  4. Post Flight – These items need to be answered after logging any time against a flight.
  5. Post Mission – Answer these questions at the end of a mission

Adding a New Checklist Item

Click the  button in the section you wish to add the checklist item to.

Items can be dragged within a section to change the order, but they cannot be dragged from section to section.

The Checklist item Add / Edit window will be opened

Equipment / Activity

This is a general category for the checklist item. It provides an icon that indicates what area the item relates to to help the pilot with a visual indicator of what the question relates to.

Checklist Question

Always phrase the question so it requires a Yes or No answer with Yes being the desired answer.
Keep the question short and meaningful.

Details

Add specific instructions on how to perform a check or what to look for etc in the details.

Display Text for “NO” Answer / Display Text for “N/A” Answer

Additional information or instructions can be displayed if an answer other than “Yes” is selected by the pilot.

Adding Checklist Items from the Checklist Centre

You can also select any other equipment or activity and add the checklist items defined in the Checklist Centre for that selection.

Click the  button at the top of the page to open the selection list.

This is where you add items for particular activities relating to this mission.


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Documents Tab

Attach documents to the mission that will be displayed in the logging app when a flight for this operation (mission) is logged.

Use the or  buttons to attach documents.

The Add New button allows you to upload files that have not been previously uploaded to your account.

These files are attached to the mission and can be accessed through the document centre (Organisation > Documents on the sidebar menu).

The Add From Our Documents allows you to link to documents already uploaded.

These can be any category of document in the system, including other missions.

Click the  button next to the document you want to link.

The  button will allow you to view or download the file.

Submit Tab

This page shows a summary of the mission and allows the mission to be submitted for approval.

Chief Pilot

If you are the chief pilot (or approval delegate) you will be able to approve a mission from this tab.

Just click on the button in the top – right corner to approve or un-approve a mission.

Other Users

You will have the option to click on the “Submit for Approval” button in the top-right corner.

This will notify the chief pilot and any delegates that the mission is waiting to be approved.

If any other tabs are in an error state or have not been opened, you will not be able to submit the mission.

Tabs in a warning state will not prevent the mission being submitted.

An error state is only generated for a data entry issue, information has not been added for a required field or data is in the wrong format.

Warnings can be generated by operational conditions – like a schedule clash, or a data entry issue that is not crucial – like no documents being attached.

Once a mission is approved, it cannot be edited. You will need to have it unapproved first.

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