Spookfish is pleased to announce that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (“CASA”) have issued Spookfish Aviation Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spookfish Limited, with an Air Operators Certificate (“AOC”) allowing Spookfish to operate its own fleet of specially modified aircraft for ‘hire or reward’.
Spookfish will progressively expand its AOC to include additional capabilities as the business follows its technology roadmap that will include twin-engine aircraft, turbine engine aircraft and international operations.
This AOC represents a key link in the Spookfish ‘technology value chain’ – Spookfish designs, manufactures and certifies its bespoke equipment, modifies aircraft to incorporate that equipment, and integrates with aircraft navigation and communication systems as well as operational procedures, flight crew training and aircraft management.
By having its own AOC, Spookfish now eliminates the need to contract third-party AOC holders and the use of ‘standard’ survey aircraft. The very large camera system used by Spookfish to collect a massive number of pixels across the ground beneath the aircraft cannot be made sufficiently small to look through conventional camera windows in the ￼bottom of a survey aircraft. Using a modified Special Purpose Aircraft is the path required to achieve the exceptional altitude/resolution/coverage/cost performance well in excess of industry norms.
Importantly, holding its own AOC also dramatically assists in protecting Spookfish’s ‘sensitive’ industry-leading intellectual property.
This AOC for Spookfish is a critically important step. The specific mix of unique technologies both currently in use and in development to enable cost effective, continental-scale high-resolution 2D and 3D imagery require the use of substantially modified aircraft and a dedicated operation. It would not be cost-effective and also prohibitively challenging with a more conventional industry operational model to achieve the Spookfish objectives.
The lengthy process to achieve this AOC commenced with drafting comprehensive operational procedures for Spookfish’s intended initial flight operations scope of approval. The Flight Operations Team then worked diligently with CASA over a 6-month assessment period to demonstrate compliance with the various statutes relevant to the company’s operations.
This extensive process involved not only an exhaustive assessment of the documentation but also rigorous key personnel interviews, examinations, inspections and flight-testing. The Spookfish Flight Operations Team was only able to satisfy all the requirements of CASA due it significant prior experience in flight operation, maintenance, safety management and engineering.
Spookfish is alone in the industry globally in ‘owning’ this entire technology value-chain from lens and sensor development through to operations with highly modified aircraft. This provides outstanding flexibility to adapt and incorporate emerging technologies without being constrained by the need to operate with a third-party’s ‘conventional’ survey aircraft and all the restrictions that implies.
The processes Spookfish is following for its various CASA product and organisation certifications provide a pathway for equivalent approvals from the major world National Aviation Authorities. This will allow locally established permanent operations in all ‘commercially-significant’ areas of the world.