Who should write an operations manual?
Writing an operations manual is a great place to dig down into the detail of your operation, the start of your business and really understand what you do but written aviation language often takes a specific style and not everyone will find it easy to adapt to. It is quite often quite prescriptive and authoritative and while the learning experience may be great for the person who writes the document, it may not lend itself to being easy to read and use for other employees. Some organisations will also be entering the UAS world merely to use the aerial platforms as a tool to extend their existing business such as the police mentioned earlier and engineers, photographers and film makers.
Airlines, air navigation service providers and airports all have specialist teams of writers who produce these documents so that they are clear, concise and fulfil their legal obligations. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that an individual from a non-aviation or non-technical industry will excel in writing such formalised documents nor will they be able to produce the document as quickly as someone well versed in the activity. The same could be said for a pilot or controller although often they will spend time in those specialist teams. Also, is it a good use of a policeman, pilot, photographer or film makers time to spend so much time away from their core business? A good document writing team will use a pilot, controller or engineer to review their documents, update them and take on board improvements leaving the PIC to undertake their primary role. If you choose to outsource the writing and publication of your operations manual you may well save yourself over a weeks worth of resource, not to mention NI, tax and pension payments if applicable. It should be noted that every pilot within an organisation should be familiar with the manual and this saved time can be better spent understanding how to apply and use the manual in operational circumstances.
Our next article will address the style of language that is often used in aviation documentation.