Are drones with class identification label presently available on the EU market?
Drones bearing a class identification label are progressively appearing on the market. However, the presence of a class identification label on the drone does not guarantee its compliance to Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945). Compliant drones are expected to appear slowly towards the end of the year.
Until at least March 2022, it will not be possible to have compliant drones of classes C1, C2 and C3 on the market, due to the absence of the procedures necessary to demonstrate their conformity. In addition, the absence of standards supporting the requirements of R945 until at least the end of the year makes difficult for manufacturers to ensure compliance of their products. This is especially the case for classes C0 and C4 to C5. Therefore, we recommend great caution at least until the end of the year when buying drones with a class identification label.
Market surveillance authorities are responsible for ensuring that the drones placed on the Union market with a class identification label are compliant to R945. However, you, as individual, should also take measures to get sufficient confidence that you are operating a compliant drone (see FaQ 3).
If you have any question on compliance of drones with the EU regulation, please contact us.
How as a manufacturer should I demonstrate compliance with the EU regulation?
Drones are subject to several Union harmonisation legislations (e.g. Radio equipment directive 2014/53/EU, Machinery directive 2006/42/EC). It is your responsibility to identify all applicable legislations and demonstrate compliance to those regulations using the procedures defined by each of them.
Drones bearing a class identification label are, in addition, subject to the Union harmonisation legislation set by Chapter II of Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945). You must demonstrate compliance of the drone with the requirements of R945 using one of the procedures defined by article 13 of R945. The following table defines the procedure available for each class of drone:
The EU-type examination and the conformity based on full quality assurance require the intervention of a Notified Body. The NANDO website provides the list of conformity assessment organisations notified under R945.
Once the conformity of the drone to all applicable legislations has been demonstrated, you should:
- draws up an EU Declaration of conformity as per Part 11 or 12 of R945 referencing to the Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and the other applicable regulations
- provides a copy of the declaration of EU conformity (or its simplified version) with the drone, this copy must bear the serial number of the drone
- affix the CE marking on the drone
These products are subject to the control of the national market surveillance authorities responsible for the different applicable legislations.
How as an individual do I know what is valid?
While market surveillance authorities are responsible for ensuring that the drones placed on the Union market with a class identification label are compliant to Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945), you, as individual, should take the following measures to obtain reasonable confidence that the drone you intend to operate under the open category complies with R945:
- buy the drone in a reliable shop or online market place (in particular, avoid buying a drone on-line directly from outside Europe, since it may not be compliant with EU legislations);
- verify the presence of a valid class identification label as per R945: the logo must have the exact shape defined by the drawing below, where ‘X’ is replaced by the number of the class (e.g. ‘1’). Any other logo will not constitute a valid class identification label allowing the drone to be operated in the open category or under declaration.
- verify the CE mark on the UAS and the presence of the EU declaration of conformity in the package;
- verify that the declaration of conformity refers to R945 and bears the drone serial number.
- verify that the drone provides the following:
What are the responsibilities of importers and distributors?
One of those responsibilities is to ensure that the drone placed on the market bears a class identification label when required, i.e. when intended for use in the open category or under declaration. Therefore, where it is clear that the targeted group of customers will use their drone in the open category or under declaration, importers and distributors should ensure that they only make available to such group of customers drones with a class identification label. Drones made available without a class identification label must clearly target customer intending to operate in the specific category.
Are drones with class identification label required to operate in the specific category?
An operator conducting an operation in the specific category must demonstrate that the drone used is compliant with the technical requirements defined in the operational authorisation issued by the competent authority. The technical requirements depend on the level of risk of the operation. For operations with lower risk (e.g SAIL I and II according to SORA) the competent authority may accept a drone with class identification label.
What can happen to me if I buy a drone with an invalid class indication label?
Only drones compliant to Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945) are safe and therefore authorised to be operated in the open category (unless the drone in privately built, please see the related FAQ). If you operate a drone in the open category without a class identification label or if it is not compliant with R945 you may expose other people to risk and you may be persecuted by the law. In order to obtain reasonable confidence that the drone you are using is compliant, you must apply the measures described in the FAQ above.