To ensure the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the European Union EASA has developed common European rules. They contribute to the development of a common European market while ensuring safe operations and respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens.
Status on drafting of Regulatory Framework
Since 28 February 2019 Europe is one step closer to harmonised rules for safe drone operation.
The EASA Committee voted unanimously to approve the European Commission’s proposal for an Implementing Act to regulate the operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Europe and the registration of drone operators and of certified drones.
The Implementing Act is accompanied by a Delegated Act, which defines the technical requirements for drones. It was adopted by the European Commission on 12 March 2019 and sent to the EU Parliament and to the EU Council for the mandatory 2 months scrutiny period.
If no objections are raised by the EU Parliament or by the EU Council, both acts will be published before the summer of 2019 and the regulation will become gradually applicable within a year of publication. By 2022 the transitional period will be completed and the regulation will be fully applicable.
The operations of UAS in Europe will be classified in 3 main categories:
- the 'open’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, does not require a prior authorisation by the competent authority nor a declaration by the UAS operator before the operation takes place;
- the ‘specific’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, requires an authorisation by the competent authority before the operation takes place, taking into account the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except for certain standard scenarios where a declaration by the operator is sufficient or when the operator holds a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) with the appropriate privileges;
- the ‘certified’ category is a category of UA operation that, considering the risks involved, requires the certification of the UAS, a licensed remote pilot and an operator approved by the competent authority, in order to ensure an appropriate level of safety.
The proposed regulation is focusing on the open and specific categories.
Following the publication of the EU regulation, EASA will publish Guidance Material (GM) and the description of means to comply with the regulation, the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC).
- a revised version of the draft AMC and GM that were published with Opinion 01/2018
- the SORA (Specific operation risk assessment) as AMC to the risk assessment that is required in the ‘specific’ category;
- the first pre-defined risk assessment to assist operators when applying for an authorisation in the specific category; and
- explanations resulting from the discussions held with stakeholders during the approval of the regulation
In parallel, EASA is working on the next steps that will enable safe operations of UAS and the integration of these new airspace users into the European airspace:
- EASA’s Opinion containing 2 standard scenarios that each allow the use of a declaration. These standard scenarios will be included in an appendix to the Implementing Act: EASA’s Opinion is expected in Q4 2019
- EASA’s notice of proposed amendment (NPA) for UAS in the ‘certified’ category, which will include a comprehensive package addressing all aviation domains (airworthiness, continuing airworthiness, remote pilot licenses, aircraft operations, ATM/ANS and aerodromes): the NPA is expected in Q4 2019-or Q1 2020
- EASA’s Opinion of U-space, including a high level framework: the Opinion is expected by Q4 of 2019
- Last but not least EASA is very much engaged in the development of standards for the open and specific categories and in the development of safety promotion material