Even though you might NOT see yourself from your current professional or student position as an Airborne Sensor Operator (ASO), see if you’re an Airborne Sensor Operator in this Q&A:
Q1: Is my primary profession (.e.g. Archeologist, Police Officer, Student, Photographer, ISR Imagery Analysis, Land Surveyor, Fireman, Research Scientist, Realtor, Engineer, Powerline Inspector, GIS Analysis, etc.) other than a person solely (full-time) participating in aviation & aerial remote-sensing activity? Also, can aerial remote sensing capabilities support my primary professional goals & objectives?
Q2: Do I participate in Aerial Work flying activities with a Pilot-In-Command (PIC) of a manned or unmanned air vehicle and operate & collect data with remote-sensors and/or I’m both a PIC and sensor operator controlling an unmanned system to collect data?
Q3: Does my participation in an aviation activity as a crew member or team member (manned & unmanned) could affect the safety of an aircraft conducting a flight and the results of the data collected?
If you answered YES to the questions above, you’re an Airborne Sensor Operator! Because this profession is not well defined in the global academic, commercial and civil aviation administration communities (something ASOG is trying to change), it could be confusing to see yourself as an Aerial Work crew member. There’re many non-flying professionals who drive their car to an airport with the intent to fly & collect data or participate on a sUAS crew who are working as an aircrew member vs. a hybrid-passenger! Bottom-line, the Airborne Sensor Operator profession consists of both full-time & part-time Airborne Sensor Operator professionals.
Either full-time or part-time, the following recommended standards will round-out your professional skills and improve the quality of your aviation participation and data collection activities:
General Responsibilities - Airborne Sensor Operators should:
- Approach flying with seriousness and diligence,
- seek excellence in airmanship,
- develop and exercise good judgment and sound principles of aeronautical decision-making,
- recognize and manage risks effectively, and use sound principles of risk management,
- maintain situational awareness, and adhere to prudent operating practices and personal operating parameters (e.g., minimums),
- act with responsibility and courtesy, and
- adhere to applicable laws and regulations.
Crewmembers, Passengers or People In Your Area of Operations - Airborne Sensor Operators should:
- Maintain a professional crew member mindset at all times (vs. Passenger mindset),
- keep your fellow crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations as safe as possible,
- act professionally towards your crew members, passengers or people in your area of operations and practice the principles of Crew Resource Management,
- seek to prevent unsafe conduct by crew members, passengers or people in your area of operations, and
- avoid operations that may alarm, disturb, or endanger crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations or people on the surface.
Training and Proficiency - Airborne Sensor Operators should:
- participate in regular recurrent training to maintain and improve proficiency beyond legal or professional requirements,
- participate in flight safety & remote-sensing education programs,
- remain vigilant and avoid complacency,
- train to recognize and deal effectively with emergencies & collection system failures,
- prepare for and review each lesson carefully, and
- maintain an accurate log to satisfy your training and currency requirements.
Use of Technology - Airborne Sensor Operators should:
- become familiar with and properly use appropriate aviation & remote-sensing technologies,
- Invest in new technologies that advance flight safety & remote-sensing. Learn and understand the features, limitations, and proper use of such technologies,
- carry redundant systems and equipment and use them in appropriate circumstances,
- maintain basic flying and remote-sensing skills to enhance safety in the event of failure or absence of advanced instrument displays or automation, and
- use flight simulators and training devices as available and appropriate.
After reading this post and you believe you meet the definition and standards of an Airborne Sensor Operator (even as a secondary profession or duty), Airborne Sensor Operator Group (ASOG) welcomes you to the community. So get out there and “kick the tires, light the fire and you’re cleared to cut.” But most of all be safe and enjoy being an Airborne Sensor Operator!
If you’re interested in furthering the ASO profession and want additional information regarding ASOG & its mission, you can find us at www.aso-group.ning.com or if you’re reading this post on our webpage, click the “Sign-Up” button.
ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick Ryan)