You mentioned that the Member States have the power to identify designated areas for the purpose of aeromodelling where drone and model aircraft operations are exempt from some of the ‘open’ category requirements. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this ‘option’?
This is a very flexible tool at the disposition of the States. Depending on their risk, drone and model aircraft operations in some areas in the country may be exempt from some of the ‘open’ category requirements. This may apply also to mountainous areas where slope soaring flights with model sailplanes are conducted. For example, the Regulation allows slope soaring flights with unmanned sailplanes up to 10 kg to exceed the 120 m limit from the ground, as long as the aircraft remains below 120 m from the position of the remote pilot (see picture below).
The State authorities may create a zone where the limitations are even extended; for instance, the maximum height limit or the maximum weight can be increased. Several of these zones have already been published and EASA is aware of initiatives of citizens discussing with the State authorities to obtain exemptions in some areas. The exemption defined under these requirements is applicable to all pilots operating in such areas.