Opinion No 03/2023

Introduction of a regulatory framework for the operation of drones — Enabling innovative air mobility with MVCA, the initial airworthiness of UAS subject to certification, and the continuing airworthiness of those UAS operated in the 'specific' category

This Opinion puts forward the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework to address new operational and mobility concepts that are based on innovative technologies, like unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability, and foster and promote their acceptance and adoption by European citizens.
The Opinion proposes amendments to existing EU aviation regulations and the establishment of two new ones to address:

  • the initial airworthiness of UAS subject to certification in accordance with Article 40 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945;
  • the continuing airworthiness of UAS subject to certification and operated in the ‘specific’ category; and
  • the operational requirements applicable to manned VTOL-capable aircraft (VCA).

The specific objectives of the proposed amendments are to:

  • ensure a high and uniform level of safety for UAS subject to certification and operated in the ‘specific’ category and for operations with manned VCA;
  • enable operators to safely operate manned VCA in the single European sky (SES);
  • create the conditions for the safe operation of UAS and of manned VCA in the U-space airspace;
  • promote innovation and development in the field of innovative air mobility (IAM) while establishing an efficient, proportionate, and well-designed regulatory framework, free of burdensome requirements that could hinder the development of the UAS market;
  • harmonise the regulatory framework across the EU Member States by enhancing clarity, filling the gaps, and removing the inconsistencies that are inherent to fragmented regulatory systems;
  • foster an operation-centric, proportionate, as well as risk- and performance-based regulatory framework, considering important aspects such as privacy, personal data protection, security, and safety.