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National Drone Manager

Job Introduction

Join our Asset Information Services function who specify, collect, evaluate, collate, analyse and share data and information about our infrastructure assets. This data is used to create insights and intelligence, helping asset managers, engineers, network infrastructure planners and maintenance​​​​​​ teams make better informed business decisions.

You’ll help support the railway through repeatable, sustainable, reliable services and products. Our methods for collecting data are cheaper and safer than track-side inspections. The power of our data allows our customers to plan and deliver effective maintenance and renewals of railway assets. Together we are delivering improved safety and performance.

The result: A better railway for a better Britain.

Main Responsibility

As National Drone Manager, you’ll be the accountable manager for all internal drone operations within Network Rail and the management of small unmanned aircraft/drone projects, including the implementation of rules, guidance and associated governance activities.


What will you be doing?

  • Define and maintain all internal documentation relating to the operation of drones, regularly updating relevant Network Rail standard(s), supporting policies and the operations manual to enable the business to meet its safety and legal obligations.
  • Establish and execute a robust governance and assurance programme for all in-house drone activities to include, record keeping, pilot assessments, currency and battery management to confirm pilots are operating legally and to mitigate against the risk of incidents occurring on the network.
  • Implement new or changes to existing legislation or Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB/ Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recommendations affecting drone operations to enable Network Rail to meet its legal obligations.
  • Lead the daily drone activity schedule for the organisation, and effectively manage the ‘Drone Framework’ to drive value for money, maintain supplier performance and high customer satisfaction levels.
  • Manage the flight management system/UTM, monitoring performance against the contract and escalating service issues as they arise to enable drone operators to operate safely and with Network Rail’s permission.
  • Manage all aspects of in-house drone pilot training to include but not be limited to; selection process, appointment of training provider(s) and annual re-assessment of pilot competence levels that enables Air Operations to meet the needs of the business in relation to the provision of aerial surveys in a safe and legal manner.
  • Assist the Head of Air Operations in relation to the investigation of any incidents or accidents involving drones, liaising with appropriate government agencies and preparing reports/briefings as required to help the organisation to learn, improve procedures and prevent repetition.
  • Provide high quality evidence-based advice concerning industry use of drones/Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) to the Head of Air Operations and other senior stakeholders that helps to drive future business decisions and strategies for aerial surveys and inspection of track assets.
  • Regularly monitor and research the development of new technology within the drone/SUA commercial sector, especially concerning the development of survey equipment and associated data processing techniques, seeking out opportunities for progression within Network Rail, for example, ‘Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights’.
  • Participate in drone projects from conception to close, travelling to relevant sites to support contractors and Network Rail drone operators e.g. sharing knowledge and expertise to help inform flight risk assessments to mitigate against the risk of serious incidents occurring.

The Ideal Candidate

Meet the essential criteria/ Apply today to join our team!


  • Expert knowledge of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations, especially around the operation of drones/Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) and thorough understanding of policy development processes and techniques
  • Excellent understanding of the technological landscape concerning the development of drones/SUAs, camera sensors and data processing techniques, combined with practical experience of embedding these into business as usual
  • Relevant experience of working within a drone and/or aviation environment with the ability to design and deliver 1-2-1 and group training sessions
  • Experience of operating drones/SUA in the commercial sector and holds CAA permission for commercial operations (PfCO)
  • Proven stakeholder and contract management experience.



  • Knowledge of aerial survey/operations/equipment
  • Knowledge of data processing
  • High customer service level
  • Team player comfortable working within in a fast-moving business
  • Degree or equivalent



Who we are looking for?

We are committed to a diverse workplace enriched with representation from diverse cultures, backgrounds and skills. We pride ourselves on creating an environment where difference is embraced, and individuals can thrive.We recognise that the success of the team is dependent on a multi-cultural, multi-disciplined group of individuals, aligned to deliver successful solutions.

At Network Rail, we have a number of employee networks to reflect our diverse population and help to raise issues to the wider workforce and support their membership and support our Everybody Matters strategy, led by our central Diversity & Inclusion team. In AIS specifically, we have a group of Diversity & Inclusion Champions who take part and lead on many activities, to drive through more initiatives to support an inclusive environment for all its people and promote a professional and positive working environment. For more information on Diversity & Inclusion at Network Rail, please follow this link

Package Description

Vacancy Type: Full-time but flexible working patterns will be considered.

Duration: 12m fixed term/secondment with potential to be extended or made perm

This position is based in: Milton Keynes

Closing date: 23 September 2021

Band & Salary: 3C £51,156 - £57,551

At Network rail you will have a clear development path, access to training and enjoy a range of employee benefits, such as; up to 28 days annual leave, rail subsidies, a range of pension options, flexible and agile working arrangements, discounts on shopping, gym memberships and much more. 

About the Company

Embed the Route Services approach veo using the video icon in text box - (We Matter To Millions - YouTube) 


We’re an organisation where people matter. We matter to millions. 


Our role is to run a safe, reliable and efficient railway, serving customers and communities. We exist to get people and goods where they need to be and to support our country’s economic prosperity. Safety is our number one priority.  

We're undertaking an ambitious change. Our vision is Putting Passengers First - becoming a company that is on the side of passengers and freight users. 

As one of the UK’s leading equal opportunities employers, our values and the way we behave is important to us and we have created an environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution. We have seven employee networks that provide fantastic support, opportunities and development for applicants from all backgrounds. Click here for more information 

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd


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