Keeping the skies safe: life as an OSL expert operator

Keeping the skies safe: life as an OSL expert operator

“Every day presents unique challenges that require creative solutions and adaptability, which gives my role such a dynamic feel, which I really appreciate.”

Our specialist team of operators, engineers, and developers are at the core of driving our growth and services. With a tight-knit team of experts, we’re able to lead the fight against unwanted drone incursions and create safer spaces worldwide. 

Recently, we sat down with Declan Richards to shed light on what it means to be an expert operator at OSL, the lessons learnt in this role, and what advice they would give anyone considering joining the industry.  

Read on to learn more.  

Hi there Declan, could you tell us what your typical day at OSL looks like?   

Of course. I have a dual role at OSL as both an expert operator and team leader, which means that each day brings a unique set of challenges and responsibilities!  

When I’m not working shifts, I start by checking in with the current operator to get briefed on any ongoing issues, changes, or updates. This helps set the tone for the day and makes sure that everyone is on the same page. After this, I’ll meet with some senior members and ensure that we’re all aligned with wider organisational goals.  

What are some of the main tasks that you handle regularly in your role?  

My regular daily work starts either early in the morning or in the evening. We’re tasked with managing and operating our CUAS and CCTV systems. This could include reacting and responding to any CUAS incursions into Flight Restriction Zones, reporting these incidents, and liaising with key stakeholders such as the police and site authorities.  

We also continuously monitor the serviceability of our systems, fixing any faults or issues that are detected. If any faults are found, or if any incursions are detected, part of my role is to compile detailed reports and create and edit videos of CUAS events, giving us a comprehensive insight into specific events. 

Given the dynamic nature of our work, we often find ourselves reacting and reporting on multiple CUAS incursions throughout the day – sometimes at the same time! There’s never a dull moment.  

What attracted you to join OSL as an expert operator? 

Joining OSL was more than just a career move; it felt like it was a real step forward for both my professional and personal goals. OSL’s mission stood out to me as not just a company goal, but a true commitment to innovation in an ever-evolving landscape.  

Their dedication to staying at the forefront of drone detection and counter-UAS solutions resonated deeply with me, and I’m so happy that I found a platform and a team where I can leverage my skills and passion to make a real impact.  

Are there any specific challenges or interesting situations you encounter during your day-to-day work? 

I definitely think that one of the most intriguing aspects of my role lies in just how quickly the drone landscape is evolving. CUAS requirements are rapidly changing, and there’s always something new to learn, think about, execute, and implement. Every day presents unique challenges that require creative solutions and adaptability, which gives my role such a dynamic feel, which I really appreciate.   

Do you often find that collaboration is important in your role? 

Absolutely, collaboration is vital in our team. We operate in shifts and rely on each other’s expertise and support. We function as a cohesive unit, with each member contributing their skills to ensure seamless operations and effective response to incidents.  

I also need to liaise closely with police and customer stakeholders to provide them with the analysis, products, and information they need. Our focus on collaboration only ensures that we effectively meet the needs of all our clients and stakeholders. 

Can you share a memorable experience or project that stands out for you? 

Successful police interdictions are always satisfying experiences. You’re seeing a lot of hard work, organisation, and communication really pay off. Whenever we see a successful police interdiction, it really highlights the impact of our efforts. 

Being promoted to team leader for expert operators was also a great milestone for me! It gave me more responsibilities and opportunities for growth within the wider team. OSL prioritises the professional development of its team members, providing support and resources to keep us learning and up to date with what we need. Managers encourage continuous learning, ensuring that employees remain equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to excel in their roles. 

In your opinion, what sets the OSL team apart? 

I think that, to me, what sets OSL apart as an employer is the unique culture and location. Beyond the professional aspect, the sense of camaraderie and familial atmosphere within the team fosters a rewarding work environment. There are always new opportunities, and I’ve been able to experience firsthand what it’s like to be part of a team that’s really focused on the future of this industry. 

What advice would you have for someone looking to break into the CUAS industry? 

My advice for someone looking to break into this industry is simple: just do it. Embrace the challenges, stay curious, and seize every opportunity for growth and learning. 

Join the OSL team 

Dedication, adaptability, and passion underscore the ethos behind the OSL team, with all our experts committed to excellence in an ever-evolving technological landscape. If you’re interested in being part of a team at the forefront of the CUAS industry, explore our latest vacancies and consider joining us in our mission to create safer spaces today!