Civil drones (Unmanned aircraft)

Unmanned aircraft (or ‘drones’) is a fast developing sector of aviation, with great potential for producing new jobs and growth. The term ‘unmanned aircraft’ includes very large aircraft similar in size and complexity to manned aircraft, but also very small consumer electronics aircraft.

Especially smaller drones are increasingly being used in the Europe Union (EU), but under a fragmented regulatory framework. Although national safety rules apply, the rules differ across the EU and a number of key safeguards are not addressed in a coherent way. 

Status on drafting of Regulatory Framework
Following a four month consultation period on the Notice of Proposed Amendment, NPA 2017-05,  EASA published Opinion 01/2018, including a proposal for a new Regulation for UAS operations in ‘open’ and ‘specific’ category.

  • '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;
  • ‘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.;
  • ‘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 will be accompanied by appropriate AMC and GM. This will be officially published as soon as the proposed Regulation has been adopted by the EU Commission. In order to support the stakeholders, a draft version of the AMC and GM has been made available, its final text may be improved.

Next steps
The Comment Review Document (CRD), including a summary of all comments received on the NPA and a description of how EASA took them into account when drafting Opinion 01/2018, will be published by Q1 2018.

The EU Commission will discuss the Regulation proposed by EASA. The adoption is expected by the end of 2018.

For more information on the Notice of Proposed Amendment and related consultation period prior to the publication of Opinion 01/2018, please consult our dedicated page.

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