News Alert: CAA Issues New Safety Notice for SUA Operators

DJI Battery TB50 and TB55 In-Flight Power Failures

TB50 & TB55 Battery Series Safety Notice

News Alert: CAA Issues New Safety Notice for SUA Operators

The CAA have released the latest Safety Notice (SN–2018/11) to all Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) Operators regarding operational safety of the DJI TB50 and TB55 Intelligent Flight Batteries. This Safety Notice provides updated information regarding the points detailed in Safety Notice SN–2018/10, which is now cancelled.

As a leading NQE, it is our responsibility to notify all students and customers of this Safety Notice to ensure appropriate action is taken and all SUA operators are aware of this information for improved air safety.

It is important to note that TB50 batteries are compatible with DJI Inspire 2, and TB55 batteries are compatible with DJI Matrice 200 Series (Matrice 200 / 210 / 210 RTK). If you own or operate any of these aircraft – hereby known as Affected SUA – please ensure you are aware of and act on the following information:

“Following a small number of reported incidents where the TB50/55 series of batteries has resulted in the complete loss of power of an Affected SUA whilst airborne, the manufacturer released a firmware update to the battery management system on 16 November 2018 and is working on a permanent fix to the issue.”

The key points to be aware of are:

1. Compliance / Action to be Taken

SUA operators and remote pilots should follow the advice and guidance provided by the manufacturer to install the full suite of firmware updates provided for users of the TB50 and TB55 batteries. Guidance can be found at: https://www.dji.com/newsroom/news/DJI-IssuesFirmware-Updates-For-TB50-And-TB55-Batteries

Depending on the status of the firmware update that has been installed, the following operating limits apply:

If SUA operators and remote pilots of the Affected SUA are able to confirm that the full suite of firmware updates that were released on or after 16 November 2018 have been successfully installed, the Affected SUA may be operated in accordance with the requirements of the ANO 2016 and any permission or exemption that has been issued by the CAA.

If SUA operators and remote pilots of the Affected SUA cannot complete the firmware updates or cannot confirm that the battery firmware has been updated:

a) In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 257 operators of Affected SUA are hereby directed not to permit any flight that involves overflight of any persons, whether or not they are under the control of the operator or remote-pilot, at any height.

b) In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 253, any element of a permission based on an Operational Safety Case (OSC), issued by the CAA to an SUA operator which permits the operation of an Affected SUA to be operated:

  • within 50 metres of any person;
  • within 50 metres of any, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the SUA Operator or remote pilot of the SUA;
  • over or within 150 metres of an open – air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;

is suspended. This does not affect the ordinary operation of Article 95 of the Air Navigation Order.

c) If, at any time while the aircraft is in flight, the indicated voltage is displayed as 3.7V or lower, the aircraft must be landed immediately, as recommended by the manufacturer. Remote pilots should therefore plan their flights so that they can land with a minimum of 3.7V indicated (approximately 30% of full charge).

d) Remote pilots must not rely on the state of charge only.

2. Emergency Services Operations

Due to the unique nature of emergency services operations, the privileges contained within General Exemption E 4506 (ORS4 No. 1233) may continue to be exercised whilst using the Affected SUA, provided that the potential risks highlighted in this Safety Notice have been considered within the decision to proceed and the overflight of uninvolved persons is minimised.

3. Occurrence Reporting

Operators or remote pilots experiencing further occurrences, or related issues, should report these directly to both the manufacturer and the CAA. Guidance on how to provide reports to the CAA can be found at https://www.caa.co.uk/Blog-Posts/Mandatoryoccurrence-reporting/.

TB50 & TB55 Batteries_Blog Images

The CAA have also advised: SUA operators and remote pilots are reminded of their responsibility to be reasonably satisfied that the flight can be safely made (Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) article 94(2)) and of the requirements of ANO article 241 that a person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft (ie. the Affected SUA) to endanger any person or property.

Safety Notice SN-2018/10 will remain in force until further notice from the CAA. You can stay up-to-date with the latest information regarding this Safety Notice via our Blog or by subscribing to our newsletter here.

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View the full CAA Safety Notice: SN–2018/11

If you have any additional queries about this Safety Notice, please contact the CAA directly via email at uavenquiries@caa.co.uk with the subject line ‘Safety Notice – DJI Battery TB50 and TB55 In-Flight Power Failures’.

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