UAS.OPEN.010 General provisions

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

(1) The category of UAS ‘open’ operations is divided into three subcategories A1, A2 and A3, on the basis of operational limitations, requirements for the remote pilot and technical requirements for UAS.

(2) Where the UAS operation involves the flight of the unmanned aircraft starting from a natural elevation in the terrain or over terrain with natural elevations, the unmanned aircraft shall be maintained within 120 metres from the closest point of the surface of the earth. The measurement of distances shall be adapted accordingly to the geographical characteristics of the terrain, such as plains, hills, mountains.

(3) When flying an unmanned aircraft within a horizontal distance of 50 metres from an artificial obstacle taller than 105 metres, the maximum height of the UAS operation may be increased up to 15 metres above the height of the obstacle at the request of the entity responsible for the obstacle.

(4) By way of derogation from point (2), unmanned sailplanes with a MTOM, including payload, of less than 10 kg, may be flown at a distance in excess of 120 metres from the closest point of the surface of the earth, provided that the unmanned sailplane is not flown at a height greater than 120 metres above the remote pilot at any time.

MAXIMUM HEIGHT

The remote pilot must ensure that he or she keeps the unmanned aircraft (UA) at a distance less than 120 m (400 ft) from the terrain, and the picture below shows how the maximum height that the UA may reach changes according to the topography of the terrain. In addition, when the Member State (MS) has defined a geographical zone with a lower maximum height, the remote pilot must ensure that the UA always complies with the requirements of the geographical zone.

The entity responsible for the artificial obstacle referred to in point UAS.OPEN.010(3) needs to explicitly grant the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operator permission to conduct an operation close to a tall man-made obstacle, e.g. a building, or antenna. No UAS operator should conduct an operation close to such an obstacle without permission from the entity responsible for the obstacle.

OPERATIONS WITH UNMANNED SAILPLANES

This derogation was included to allow model gliders to continue to operate along slopes. Strictly applying the 120-metre distance from the closest point of the surface of the earth would have had disproportionate consequences. These operations have been conducted successfully for decades and have generated a micro-economy in certain countries. Two measures have been put in place to reduce the risk:

(a) A maximum takeoff mass (MTOM), including the payload, limited to 10 kg to reduce the consequences of an impact. 10 kg should cover the vast majority of gliders in operation.

(b) The maximum height above the remote pilot is limited to 120 m, which reduces the air risk.

UAS.OPEN.020 UAS operations in subcategory A1

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

UAS operations in subcategory A1 shall comply with all of the following conditions:

(1) for unmanned aircraft referred to in point (5)(d), be conducted in such a way that a remote pilot of the unmanned aircraft does not overfly assemblies of people and reasonably expects that no uninvolved person will be overflown. In the event of unexpected overflight of uninvolved persons, the remote pilot shall reduce as much as possible the time during which the unmanned aircraft overflies those persons;

(2) in the case of an unmanned aircraft referred to in points (5)(a), (5)(b) and (5)(c), be conducted in such a way that the remote pilot of the unmanned aircraft may overfly uninvolved persons, but shall never overfly assemblies of people;

(3) by way of derogation from point (d) of paragraph 1 of Article 4, be conducted, when the follow‑me mode is active, up to a distance of 50 metres from the remote pilot;

(4) be performed by a remote pilot who:

(a) is familiar with manufacturer’s instructions provided by the manufacturer of the UAS;

(b) in the case of an unmanned aircraft class C1, as defined in Part 2 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945, has completed an online training course followed by completing successfully an online theoretical knowledge examination provided by the competent authority or by an entity designated by the competent authority of a Member State achieving at least 75% of the overall marks. The examination shall comprise 40 multiple-choice questions distributed appropriately across the following subjects:

(i)             air safety;

(ii)           airspace restrictions;

(iii)          aviation regulation;

(iv)          human performance limitations;

(v)           operational procedures;

(vi)          UAS general knowledge;

(vii)        privacy and data protection;

(viii)      insurance;

(ix)          security.

(5) be performed with an unmanned aircraft that:

(a) has an MTOM, including payload, of less than 250 g and a maximum operating speed of less than 19 m/s, in the case of a privately built UAS; or

(b) meets the requirements defined in point (a) of Article 20;

(c) is marked as class C0 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 1 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945; or

(d) is marked as class C1 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 2 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and is operated with active and updated direct remote identification system and geo-awareness function.

OPERATIONAL LIMITATIONS IN SUBCATEGORY A1

As a principle, the rules prohibit overflying assemblies of people. Overflying isolated people is possible, but there is a distinction between class C1 and class C0 UAS or privately built UAS with MTOMs of less than 250 g.

(a) For UAS in class C1, before starting the UAS operation, the remote pilot should assess the area and should reasonably expect that no uninvolved person will be overflown. This evaluation should be made taking into account the configuration of the site of operation (e.g. the existence of roads, streets, pedestrian or bicycle paths), and the possibility to secure the site and the time of the day. In case of an unexpected overflight, the remote pilot should reduce as much as possible the duration of the overflight, for example, by flying the UAS in such a way that the distance between the UA and the uninvolved people increases, or by positioning the UAS over a place where there are no uninvolved people.

(b) It is accepted that UAS in class C0 or privately built UAS with MTOMs less than 250 g may fly over uninvolved people; however, this should be avoided whenever possible, and where it is unavoidable, extreme caution should be used.

THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE SUBJECTS FOR BASIC ONLINE TRAINING COURSES AND EXAMINATIONS FOR SUBCATEGORIES A1 AND A3

The acquisition of theoretical knowledge by each remote pilot should cover the following elements:

(a) Air safety:

(1) non-reckless behaviour, safety precautions for UAS operations and basic requirements regarding dangerous goods;

(2) starting or stopping the operations taking into account environmental factors, UAS conditions and limitations, remote pilot limitations and human factors;

(3) operation in visual line of sight (VLOS), which entails:

(i) keeping a safe distance from people, animals, property, vehicles, and other airspace users;

(ii) the identification of assemblies of people;

(iii) a code of conduct in case the UA encounters other traffic;

(iv) respecting the height limitation; and

(v) when using a UA observer, the responsibilities and communication between the UA observer and the remote pilot; and

(4) familiarisation with the operating environment, in particular:

(i) how to perform the evaluations of the presence of uninvolved person in the overflown area as required in UAS.OPEN.020(1) and UAS.OPEN.040(1); and

(ii) informing the people involved;

(b) Airspace restrictions: obtain and observe updated information about any flight restrictions or conditions published by the MS according to Article 15 of the UAS Regulation51 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of 24 May 2019 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft.

(c) Aviation regulations:

(1) Introduction to EASA and the aviation system;

(2) Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Regulation (EU) 2019/947:

(i) their applicability to EU MSs;

(ii) subcategories in the ‘open’ category and the associated classes of UAS;

(iii) registration of UAS operators;

(iv) the responsibilities of the UAS operator;

(v) the responsibilities of the remote pilot; and

(vi) incident – accident reporting;

(d) Human performance limitations:

(1) the influence of psychoactive substances or alcohol or when the remote pilot is unfit to perform their tasks due to injury, fatigue, medication, sickness or other causes;

(2) human perception:

(i) factors influencing VLOS;

(ii) the distance of obstacles and the distance between the UA and obstacles;

(iii) evaluation of the speed of the UA;

(iv) evaluation of the height of the UA;

(v) situational awareness; and

(vi) night operations.

(e) Operational procedures:

(1) pre-flight:

(i) assessment of the area of operation and the surrounding area, including the terrain and potential obstacles and obstructions for keeping VLOS of the UA, potential overflight of uninvolved persons, and the potential overflight of critical infrastructure;

(ii) identification of a safe area where the remote pilot can perform a practice flight;

(iii) environmental and weather conditions (e.g. factors that can affect the performance of the UAS such as electromagnetic interference, wind, temperature, etc.); methods of obtaining weather forecasts; and

(iv) checking the conditions of the UAS;

(2) in-flight:

(i) normal procedures; and

(ii) procedures for abnormal situations (e.g. for lost-data-link connections);

(3) post-flight:

(i) maintenance; and

(ii) logging of flight details;

(f) UAS general knowledge:

(1) basic principles of flight;

(2) the effect of environmental conditions on the performance of the UAS;

(3) principles of command and control:

(i) overview;

(ii) data link frequencies and spectrums; and

(iii) automatic flight modes, override and manual intervention;

(4) familiarisation with the instructions provided by the user’s manual of a UAS, and in particular with regard to:

(i) overview of the main elements of the UAS;

(ii) limitations (e.g. mass, speed, environmental, duration of battery, etc.);

(iii) controlling the UAS in all phases of flights (e.g. the take-off, hovering in mid-air, when applicable, flying basic patterns and landing);

(iv) features that affect the safety of flight;

(v) setting the parameters of the lost link procedures;

(vi) setting the maximum height;

(vii) procedures to load geographical zone data into the geo‑awareness system;

(viii) procedures to load the UAS operator registration number into the direct remote identification system;

(ix) safety considerations:

(A) instructions to secure the payload;

(B) precautions to avoid injuries from rotors and sharp edges; and

(C) the safe handling of batteries;

(x) Maintenance instructions:

(g) Privacy and data protection:

(1) understanding the risk posed to privacy and data protection; and

(2) the guiding principles for data protection under the GDPR52 Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).;

(h) Insurance:

(1) liability in case of an accident or incident;

(2) general knowledge of the EU regulations; and

(3) awareness of the possible different national requirements for insurance in the MSs.

(i) Security:

(1) an understanding of the security risk;

(2) an overview of the EU regulations;

(3) awareness of the possible different national requirements for security in the MSs.

PROOF OF COMPLETION OF THE ONLINE TRAINING

Upon receipt of proof of a remote pilot passing the online theoretical examination, the MS should provide the following proof of completion to the remote pilot. The proof may be provided in electronic form.

(1) Insert the identifier provided by the authority releasing the proof of completion. The reference should have the following format:

NNN-RP-xxxxxxxxx

Where:

              NNN is the ISO 3166 Alpha-3 code of the MS releasing the proof of completion;

              RP is a fixed field meaning: remote pilot; and

              Xxxxxxxxx are 12 alphanumeric characters (lower-case only) defined by the MS releasing the proof of completion.

As an example: (FIN-RP-123456789abc)

(2) QR code providing a link to the national database where the information related to the remote pilot is stored. Through the ‘remote pilot identifier’, number (1) all information related to the training of the remote pilot can be retrieved.

MODIFICATION OF A UAS WITH A CE CLASS MARK

UAS operators should not make any modifications to a UAS in class C0, C1, C2, C3 or C4 that breach compliance with the product requirements. If the UAS operator carries out such a modification on a UAS, that UAS is no longer considered to have a CE Class mark and it may only be operated in Subcategory A3, or in the ‘specific’ category in accordance with Subpart B of Annex I to the UAS Regulation.

MODIFICATION OF A UAS WITH A CE CLASS MARK

Modifications to UAS that breach compliance with the requirements for the CE marking are those that affect the weight or performance so that they are outside the specifications or the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the user manual. A replacement of a part with another that has the same physical and functional characteristics is not considered to be a breach of the requirements for the CE marking (e.g. a replacement of a propeller with another of the same design). The UA user manual should define instructions for performing maintenance and applying changes that do not breach compliance with the CE marking requirements.

UAS.OPEN.030 UAS operations in subcategory A2

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

UAS operations in subcategory A2 shall comply with all of the following conditions:

(1) be conducted in such a way that the unmanned aircraft does not overfly uninvolved persons and the UAS operations take place at a safe horizontal distance of at least 30 metres from them; the remote pilot may reduce the horizontal safety distance down to a minimum of 5 metres from an uninvolved person when operating an unmanned aircraft with an active low speed mode function and after evaluation of the situation regarding:

(a) weather conditions,

(b) performance of the unmanned aircraft,

(c) segregation of the overflown area.

(2) be performed by a remote pilot who is familiar with manufacturer’s instructions provided by the manufacturer of the UAS and holds a certificate of remote pilot competency issued by the competent authority or by an entity designated by the competent authority of a Member State. This certificate shall be obtained after complying with all of the following conditions and in the order indicated:

(a) completing an online training course and passed the online theoretical knowledge examination as referred to in point (4)(b) of point UAS.OPEN.020;

(b) completing a self-practical training in the operating conditions of the subcategory A3 set out in points (1) and (2) of point UAS.OPEN.040;

(c) declaring the completion of the self-practical training defined in point (b) and passing an additional theoretical knowledge examination provided by the competent authority or at an entity designated by the competent authority of a Member State achieving at least 75% of the overall marks. The examination shall comprise at least 30 multiple-choice questions aimed at assessing the remote pilot’s knowledge of the technical and operational mitigations for ground risk, distributed appropriately across the following subjects:

(i) meteorology;

(ii) UAS flight performance;

(iii) technical and operational mitigations for ground risk.

(3) be performed with an unmanned aircraft which is marked as class C2 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 3 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945, and is operated with active and updated direct remote identification system and geo-awareness function.

SAFE DISTANCE FROM UNINVOLVED PERSONS

(a) The minimum horizontal distance of the UA from uninvolved persons should be defined as the distance between the points where the UA would hit the ground in the event of a vertical fall and the position of the uninvolved persons.

(b) As a reference, when the UA is operating in close proximity to people, the remote pilot should keep the UA at a lateral distance from any uninvolved person that is not shorter than the height (‘1:1 rule’, i.e. if the UA is flying at a height of 30 m, the distance from any uninvolved person should be at least 30 m).

(c) In any case, the distance from uninvolved persons should always be greater than:

(1) 5 m, when the low-speed mode function on the UA is activated and set to 3 m per second;

(2) 5 m, when operating a UAS balloon or airship; or

(3) 30 m in all other cases.

SAFE DISTANCE FROM UNINVOLVED PERSONS

The safe distance of the UA from uninvolved persons is variable and is heavily dependent on the performance and characteristics of the UAS involved, the weather conditions and the segregation of the overflown area. The remote pilot is ultimately responsible for the determination of this distance.

REMOTE PILOT CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY

After the verification that the applicant has passed the online theoretical knowledge examination, has completed and declared the self‑practical training and has passed the additional theoretical knowledge examination provided by the competent authority or by an entity recognised by the competent authority, the MS should provide the following certificate of competency to the remote pilot. The certificate may be provided in electronic form.

(1) Insert the identifier provided by the authority releasing the remote pilot certificate of competency. The reference should have the following format:

NNN-RP-xxxxxxxxx

Where:

              NNN is the ISO 3166 Alpha-3 code of the MS releasing the proof of completion;

              RP is a fixed field meaning: remote pilot; and

              Xxxxxxxxx are 12 alphanumeric characters (lower-case only) defined by the MS releasing the proof of completion.

As an example: (ESP-RP-123456789abc)

(2) QR code providing a link to the national database where the information related to the remote pilot is stored. Through the ‘remote pilot identifier’, number (1) all information related to the training of the remote pilot can be retrieved.

PRACTICAL SELF-TRAINING

(a) The aim of the practical self-training is to ensure that the remote pilot should be able to demonstrate at all times the ability to:

(1) operate a class C2 UAS within its limitations;

(2) complete all manoeuvres with smoothness and accuracy;

(3) exercise good judgment and airmanship;

(4) apply their theoretical knowledge; and

(5) maintain control of the UA at all times in such a manner that the successful outcome of a procedure or manoeuvre is never seriously in doubt.

(b) The remote pilot should complete the practical self-training with a UAS that features the same flight characteristics (e.g. fixed wing, rotorcraft), control scheme (manual or automated, human machine interface) and a similar weight as the UAS intended for use in the UAS operation. This implies the use of a UA with an MTOM of less than 4 kg and bearing the Class 2 CE marking after the transition period relative to CE marking is closed.

(c) If a UAS with both manual and automated control schemes is used, the practical self‑training should be performed with both control schemes. If this UAS has multiple automated features, the remote pilot should demonstrate proficiency with each automated feature.

(d) The practical self-training should contain at least flying exercises regarding take-off or launch and landing or recovery, precision flight manoeuvres remaining in a given airspace volume, hovering in all orientations or loitering around positions when applicable. In addition, the remote pilot should exercise procedures for abnormal situations (e.g. a return-to-home function, if available), as stipulated in the user’s manual provided by the manufacturer.

PRACTICAL COMPETENCIES FOR PRACTICAL SELF-TRAINING

When executing the practical self-training, the remote pilot should perform as many flights as they deem necessary to gain a reasonable level of knowledge and the skills to operate the UAS.

The following list of practical competencies should be considered:

(a) Preparation of the UAS operation:

(1) make sure that the:

(i) chosen payload is compatible with the UAS used for the UAS operation;

(ii) zone of UAS operation is suitable for the intended operation; and

(iii) UAS meets the technical requirements of the geographical zone;

(2) define the area of operation in which the intended operation takes place in accordance with UAS.OPEN.040;

(3) define the area of operation considering the characteristics of the UAS;

(4) identify the limitations published by the MS for the geographical zone (e.g. no‑fly zones, restricted zones and zones with specific conditions near the operation zone), and if needed, seek authorisation by the entity responsible for such zones;

(5) identify the goals of the UAS operation;

(6) identify any obstacles and the potential presence of uninvolved persons in the area of operation that could hinder the intended UAS operation; and

(7) check the current meteorological conditions and the forecast for the time planned for the operation.

(b) Preparation for the flight:

(1) assess the general condition of the UAS and ensure that the configuration of the UAS complies with the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the user’s manual;

(2) ensure that all removable components of the UA are properly secured;

(3) make sure that the software installed on the UAS and on the remote pilot station (RPS) is the latest published by the UAS manufacturer;

(4) calibrate the instruments on board the UA, if needed;

(5) identify possible conditions that may jeopardise the intended UAS operation;

(6) check the status of the battery and make sure it is compatible with the intended UAS operation;

(7) update the geo-awareness system; and

(8) set the height limitation system, if needed.

(c) Flight under normal conditions:

(1) using the procedures provided by the manufacturer in the user’s manual, familiarise with how to:

(i) take off (or launch)

(ii) make a stable flight:

(A) hover in case of multirotor UA;

(B) perform coordinated large turns;

(C) perform coordinated tight turns;

(D) perform straight flight at constant altitude;

(E) change direction, height and speed;

(F) follow a path;

(G) return of the UA towards the remote pilot after the UA has been placed at a distance that no longer allows its orientation to be distinguished, in case of multirotor UA;

(H) perform horizontal flight at different speed (critical high speed or critical low speed), in case of fixed wing UA;

(iii) keep the UA outside no-fly zones or restricted zones, unless holding an authorisation;

(iv) use some external references to assess the distance and height of the UA;

(v) perform return to home procedure — automatic or manual;

(vi) land (or recovery); and

(vii) perform landing procedure and missed approach in case of fixed wing UA; and

(2) maintain a sufficient separation from obstacles;

(d) Flight under abnormal conditions:

(i) manage the UAS flight path in abnormal situations;

(ii) manage a situation when the UAS positioning equipment is impaired;

(iii) manage a situation of incursion of a person into the area of operation, and take appropriate measures to maintain safety;

(iv) manage the exit from the operation zone as defined during the flight preparation;

(v) manage the incursion of a manned aircraft nearby the area of operation;

(vi) manage the incursion of another UAS in the area of operation;

(vii) select the safeguard mechanism relevant to a situation;

(viii) deal with a situation of a loss of attitude or position control generated by external phenomena;

(ix) resume manual control of the UAS when automatic systems render the situation dangerous; and

(x) carry out the loss of link procedure.

(e) Briefing, debriefing and feedback:

(i) conduct a review of the UAS operation; and

(ii) identify situations when an occurrence report is necessary and complete the occurrence report.

ADDITIONAL THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE OF SUBJECTS FOR THE EXAMINATION FOR SUBCATEGORY A2

(a) By passing the additional theoretical knowledge examination, the remote pilot should demonstrate that they:

(1) understand the safety risks linked with a UAS operation in close proximity to uninvolved people or with a heavier UA;

(2) are able to assess the ground risk related to the environment where the operation takes place, as well as to flying in close proximity to uninvolved people;

(3) have a basic knowledge of how to plan a flight and define contingency procedures; and

(4) understand how weather conditions may affect the performance of the UA.

(b) The theoretical knowledge examination should cover aspects from the following subjects:

(1) meteorology:

(i) the effect of weather on the UA:

(A) wind (e.g. urban effects, turbulence);

(B) temperature;

(C) visibility; and

(D) the density of the air;

(ii) obtaining weather forecasts;

(2) UAS flight performance:

(i) the typical operational envelope of a rotorcraft, for fixed wing and hybrid configurations;

(ii) mass and balance, and centre of gravity (CG):

(A) consider the overall balance when attaching gimbals, payloads;

(B) understand that payloads can have different characteristics, thus making a difference to the stability of a flight; and

(C) understand that each different type of UA has a different CG;

(iii) secure the payload;

(iv) batteries:

(A) understand the power source to help prevent potential unsafe conditions;

(B) familiarise with the existing different kinds of battery types;

(C) understand the terminology used for batteries (e.g. memory effect, capacity, c‑rate); and

(D) understand how a battery functions (e.g. charging, usage, danger, storage); and

(3) technical and operational mitigations for ground risk:

(i) low-speed mode functions;

(ii) evaluating the distance from people; and

(iii) the 1:1 rule.

REMOTE PILOT COMPETENCIES REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF REMOTE PILOT COMPETENCY

A remote pilot may obtain the knowledge needed to pass the exam for a certificate of remote pilot competency in one of the following two ways:

(a) Competency-based training

(1) Competency-based training covers aspects related to non-technical skills in an integrated manner, taking into account the particular risks associated with UAS operations.

(2) Competency-based training should be developed using the analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation (ADDIE) principles.

(b) Self-study

(1) A remote pilot may undertake self-study in many ways in order to obtain a certificate of competency. The purpose of this self-study is to acquire some basic competency and familiarise themselves with the UA, as well as with the UAS operations they want to conduct.

(2) Examples of self-study:

(i) reading the manual or leaflet provided by the UA manufacturer;

(ii) reading related information or watching instructional films; and

(iii) obtaining information from others who have already experience in flying a UA.

The remote pilot may also undertake this study as classroom training, e-learning or similar training at a training facility. Since this training is not mandated by the MSs, the national aviation authorities (NAAs) are not required to approve the training syllabuses.

UAS.OPEN.040 UAS operations in subcategory A3

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

UAS operations in subcategory A3 shall comply with all of the following conditions:

(1) be conducted in an area where the remote pilot reasonably expects that no uninvolved person will be endangered within the range where the unmanned aircraft is flown during the entire time of the UAS operation;

(2) be conducted at a safe horizontal distance of at least 150 metres from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas;

(3) be performed by a remote pilot who is familiar with manufacturer’s instructions provided by the manufacturer of the UAS and who has completed an online training course and passed an online theoretical knowledge examination as defined in point (4)(b) of point UAS.OPEN.020;

(4) be performed with an unmanned aircraft that:

(a) has an MTOM, including payload, of less than 25 kg, in the case of a privately built UAS, or

(b) meets the requirements defined in point (b) of Article 20;

(c) is marked as class C2 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 3 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and is operated with active and updated direct remote identification system and geo-awareness function or;

(d) is marked as class C3 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 4 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and is operated with active and updated direct remote identification system and geo-awareness function; or

(e) is marked as class C4 and complies with the requirements of that class, as defined in Part 5 of the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945.

AREAS WHERE UAS OPERATIONS IN A3 MAY BE CONDUCTED

(a) If an uninvolved person enters the range of the UAS operation, the remote pilot should, where necessary, adjust the operation to ensure the safety of the uninvolved person and discontinue the operation if the safety of the UAS operation is not ensured.

(b) A minimum horizontal distance from the person that is passing the area could be estimated as follows:

(1) no less than 30 m;

(2) no less than the height (‘1:1 rule’, i.e. if the UA is flying at a height of 30 m, the distance of the UA from the uninvolved person should be at least 30 m), and

(3) no less than the distance that the UA would cover in 2 seconds at the maximum speed (this assumes a reaction time of 2 seconds).

This minimum horizontal distance is intended to protect people on the ground, but can be extended to property and animals.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUB-CATEGORIES A2 AND A3

Subcategory A2 addresses operations during which flying close to people is intended for a significant portion of the flight. The minimum distance ranges from 30 m to 5 m from uninvolved people. 5 m is only allowed when there is an active low-speed mode function on the UA, and the remote pilot has conducted an evaluation of the situation regarding the weather, the performance of the UA and the segregation of the overflown area.

Sub-category A3 addresses operations that are conducted in an area (hereafter referred to as ‘the area’) where the remote pilot reasonably expects that no uninvolved people will be endangered within the range of the unmanned aircraft where it is flown during the mission. In addition, the operation must be conducted at a safe horizontal distance of at least 150 m from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas.

UAS.OPEN.050 Responsibilities of the UAS operator

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

The UAS operator shall comply with all of the following:

(1) develop operational procedures adapted to the type of operation and the risk involved;

(2) ensure that all operations effectively use and support the efficient use of radio spectrum in order to avoid harmful interference;

(3) designate a remote pilot for each flight;

(4) ensure that remote pilots and all other personnel performing a task in support of the operations are familiar with manufacturer’s instructions provided by the manufacturer of the UAS, and:

(a) have appropriate competency in the subcategory of the intended UAS operations in accordance with points UAS.OPEN.020, UAS.OPEN.030 or UAS.OPEN.040 to perform their tasks or, for personnel other than the remote pilot, have completed an on‑the‑job‑training course developed by the operator;

(b) are fully familiar with the UAS operator’s procedures;

(c) are provided with the information relevant to the intended UAS operation concerning any geographical zones published by the Member State of operation in accordance with Article 15;

(5) update the information into the geo-awareness system when applicable according to the intended location of operation;

(6) in the case of an operation with an unmanned aircraft of one of the classes defined in Parts 1 to 5 of the Annex of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945, ensure that the UAS is:

(a) accompanied by the corresponding EU declaration of conformity, including the reference to the appropriate class; and

(b) the related class identification label is affixed to the unmanned aircraft.

(7) Ensure in the case of an UAS operation in subcategory A2 or A3, that all involved persons present in the area of the operation have been informed of the risks and have explicitly agreed to participate.

OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES

The UAS operator should develop procedures adapted to the type of operations and to the risks involved. Therefore, written procedures should not be necessary if the UAS operator is also the remote pilot, and the remote pilot may use the procedures defined by the manufacturer in the operations manual (OM).

If a UAS operator employs more than one remote pilot, the UAS operator should:

(a) develop procedures for UAS operations in order to coordinate the activities between its employees; and

(b) establish and maintain a list of their personnel and their assigned duties.

OBTAIN UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT THE GEOGRAPHICAL ZONE

The UAS operator should download the latest version of the geographical data and make available to the remote pilot such that they can upload it onto the geo-awareness system, if such a system is available on the UA used for the operation.

UAS.OPEN.060 Responsibilities of the remote pilot

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

(1) Before starting an UAS operation, the remote pilot shall:

(a) have the appropriate competency in the subcategory of the intended UAS operations in accordance with points UAS.OPEN.020, UAS.OPEN.030 or UAS.OPEN.040 to perform its task and carry a proof of competency while operating the UAS, except when operating an unmanned aircraft referred to in points (5)(a), (5)(b) or (5)(c) of point UAS.OPEN.020;

(b) obtain updated information relevant to the intended UAS operation about any geographical zone published by the Member State of operation in accordance with Article 15;

(c) observe the operating environment, check the presence of obstacles and, unless operating in subcategory A1 with an unmanned aircraft referred to in points (5)(a), (5)(b) or (5)(c) of point UAS.OPEN.020, check the presence of any uninvolved person;

(d) ensure that the UAS is in a condition to safely complete the intended flight, and if applicable, check if the direct remote identification is active and up-to-date;

(e) if the UAS is fitted with an additional payload, verify that its mass does not exceed neither the MTOM defined by the manufacturer or the MTOM limit of its class.

(2) During the flight, the remote pilot shall:

(a) not perform duties under the influence of psychoactive substances or alcohol or when it is unfit to perform its tasks due to injury, fatigue, medication, sickness or other causes;

(b) keep the unmanned aircraft in VLOS and maintain a thorough visual scan of the airspace surrounding the unmanned aircraft in order to avoid any risk of collision with any manned aircraft. The remote pilot shall discontinue the flight if the operation poses a risk to other aircraft, people, animals, environment or property;

(c) comply with the operational limitations in geographical zones defined in accordance with Article 15;

(d) have the ability to maintain control of the unmanned aircraft, except in the case of a lost link or when operating a free-flight unmanned aircraft;

(e) operate the UAS in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions provided by the manufacturer, including any applicable limitations;

(f) comply with the operator’s procedures when available;

(g) when operating at night, ensure that a green flashing light on the unmanned aircraft is activated.

(3) During the flight, remote pilots and UAS operators shall not fly close to or inside areas where an emergency response effort is ongoing unless they have permission to do so from the responsible emergency response services.

(4) For the purposes of point (2)(b), remote pilots may be assisted by an unmanned aircraft observer. In such case, clear and effective communication shall be established between the remote pilot and the unmanned aircraft observer.

OBTAINING UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT ANY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS OR CONDITIONS PUBLISHED BY THE MEMBER STATE

Information on airspace structure and limitations, including limited zones for UA or no-UA zones, will be provided by the MSs in accordance with Article 15 of the UAS Regulation.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

(a) The remote pilot should observe the operating environment and check any conditions that might affect the UAS operation, such as the locations of people, property, vehicles, public roads, obstacles, aerodromes, critical infrastructure, and any other elements that may pose a risk to the safety of the UAS operation.

(b) Familiarisation with the environment and obstacles should be conducted, when possible, by walking around the area where the operation is intended to be performed.

(c) It should be verified that the weather conditions at the time when the operation starts and those that are expected for the entire period of the operation are compatible with those defined in the manufacturer’s manual.

(d) The remote pilot should be familiar with the operating environment and the light conditions, and make a reasonable effort to identify potential sources of electromagnetic energy, which may cause undesirable effects, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) or physical damage to the operational equipment of the UAS.

UAS IN A SAFE CONDITION TO COMPLETE THE INTENDED FLIGHT

The remote pilot should:

(a) update the UAS with data for the geo-awareness function if it is available on the UA;

(b) ensure that the UAS is fit to fly and complies with the instructions and limitations provided by the manufacturer, or the best practice in the case of a privately built UAS;

(c) ensure that any payload carried is properly secured and installed and that it respects the limits for the mass and CG of the UA;

(d) ensure that the charge of the battery of the UA is enough for the intended operation based on:

(1) the planned operation; and

(2) the need for extra energy in case of unpredictable events; and

(e) for UAS equipped with a loss-of-data-link recovery function, ensure that the recovery function allows a safe recovery of the UAS for the envisaged operation; for programmable loss-of-data-link recovery functions, the remote pilot may have to set up the parameters of this function to adapt it to the envisaged operation.

OTHER CAUSES

‘Other causes’ means any physical or mental disorder or any functional limitation of a sensory organ that would prevent the remote pilot from performing the operation safely.

VLOS RANGE

(a) The maximum distance of the UA from the remote pilot should depend on the size of the UA and on the environmental characteristics of the area (such as the visibility, presence of tall obstacles, etc.).

(b) The remote pilot should keep the UA at a distance such that they are always able to clearly see it and evaluate the distance of the UA from other obstacles. If the operation takes place in an area where there are no obstacles and the remote pilot has unobstructed visibility up to the horizon, the UA can be flown up to a distance such that the UA remain clearly visible. If there are obstacles, the distance should be reduced such that the remote pilot is able to evaluate the relative distance of the UA from that obstacle. Moreover, the UA should be kept low enough so that it is essentially ‘shielded’ by the obstacle, since manned aircraft normally fly higher than obstacles.

DISCONTINUATION OF THE FLIGHT IF THE OPERATION POSES A RISK TO OTHER AIRCRAFT

The rules put an obligation on the remote pilot to maintain a thorough visual scan of the airspace to avoid any risk of a collision with manned aircraft. This means that the remote pilot is primarily responsible for avoiding collisions. The reason is that the manned aircraft pilot(s) may not be able to see the UA due to its small size. Therefore, the remote pilot should make an evaluation of the risk of collision and take appropriate action.

As soon as the remote pilot sees another aircraft or a parachute or any other airspace user, they must immediately keep the UA at a safe distance from it and land if the UA is on a trajectory towards the other object.

For example, if the remote pilot sees a manned aircraft flying at very high altitude (i.e. an en route flight at a height of 1 km or more), since the pilot will always keep the UA below 120 m, they can continue the operation.

If the remote pilot observes an aircraft passing through the sky at a low altitude, at which it may interact with the UA, they need to immediately reduce the height of the UA (e.g. to less than 10 m above the ground) and keep the UA in an area that is far (not less than 500 m) from the other aircraft. If they cannot ensure such a distance, the UA needs to be immediately landed.

ABILITY TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE UA

(a) The remote pilot should:

(1) be focused on the operation of the UA, as appropriate;

(2) not operate a UA while operating a moving vehicle; and

(3) operate only one UA at a time.

(b) If the remote pilot operates a UA from a moving ground vehicle or boat, the speed of the vehicle should be slow enough for the remote pilot to maintain a VLOS of the UA, maintain control of the UA at all times and maintain situational awareness and orientation.

ABILITY TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE UA

Autonomous operations are not allowed in the ‘open’ category, and the remote pilot must be able to take control of the UA at any time, except in the event of a lost-link condition or a free-flight UA.

FREE-FLIGHT UA

‘Free flight’ means performing flights with no external control, taking advantage of the ascending currents, dynamic winds and the performance of the model. Outdoor free flights are carried out with gliders or with models equipped with means of propulsion (e.g. rubber-bands, thermal engines) that raise them in altitude, before they freely glide and follow the air masses.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE DEFINITION

‘Emergency response’ is an action taken in response to an unexpected and dangerous event in an attempt to mitigate its impact on people, property or the environment.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE EFFORT

When there is an emergency response effort taking place in the operational area of a UAS, the UAS operation should be immediately discontinued unless it was explicitly authorised by the responsible emergency response services. Otherwise, a safe distance must be maintained between the UA and the emergency response site so that the UA does not interfere with, or endanger, the activities of the emergency response services. The UAS operator should take particular care to not hinder possible aerial support and to protect the privacy rights of persons involved in the emergency event.

ROLE OF THE UA OBSERVER AND FIRST PERSON VIEW

The remote pilot may be assisted by a UA observer helping them to keep the UA away from obstacles. The UA observer must be situated alongside the remote pilot in order to provide warnings to the remote pilot by supporting them in maintaining the required separation between the UA and any obstacle, including other air traffic.

UA observers may also be used when the remote pilot conducts UAS operations in first-person view (FPV), which is a method used to control the UA with the aid of a visual system connected to the camera of the UA. In any case, including during FPV operations, the remote pilot is still responsible for the safety of the flight.

As the UA observer is situated alongside the remote pilot and they must not use aided vision (e.g. binoculars), their purpose is not to extend the range of the UA beyond the VLOS distance from the remote pilot. Exceptions are emergency situations, for instance, if the pilot must perform an emergency landing far from the pilot’s position, and binoculars can assist the pilot in safely performing such a landing.

UAS.OPEN.070 Duration and validity of the remote pilot online theoretical competency and certificates of remote pilot competency

Regulation (EU) 2020/639

(1) The remote pilot online theoretical competency, required by points (4)(b) of point UAS.OPEN.020 and point (3) of point UAS.OPEN.040, and the certificate of remote pilot competency, required by point (2) of point UAS.OPEN.030, shall be valid for five years.

(2) The revalidation of the remote pilot online theoretical competency and of the certificate of remote pilot competency is, within its validity period, subject to:

(a) demonstration of competencies respectively in accordance with point (4)(b) of point UAS.OPEN.020 or point (2) of point UAS.OPEN.030; or

(b) the completion of a refresher training addressing respectively the theoretical knowledge subjects as defined in point (4)(b) of point UAS.OPEN.020 or point (2) of point UAS.OPEN.030 provided by the competent authority or by an entity designated by the competent authority.

(3) In order to revalidate the remote pilot online theoretical competency or the certificate of remote pilot competency upon its expiration, the remote pilot shall comply with point (2)(a).