What are my responsibilities as a drone operator in the 'open' category?
As a drone operator flying in the ’open’ category, you must:
- ensure that the drone displays the drone operator registration number (e.g. with a sticker) and the same number is uploaded into the remote identification;
- develop operational procedures (written procedures are required when the drone operator employs more than one remote pilot, otherwise it is enough that the remote pilot follows the procedures defined by the manufacturer in the user’s manual);
- ensure that there is no radio interference that may affect the command and control link of the drone;
- designate a remote pilot for each operation; it is important that it is clear who is the person responsible for each flight;
- ensure that the remote pilot and the personnel supporting the operation of the drone are familiar with the user’s manual and with the drone operator’s procedures, have appropriate competency, and are provided with the relevant information concerning any geographical zones published by the MS;
- ensure that the maps in the geo-awareness system of the drone are up to date, unless you are flying in a geographical zone where geo-awareness is not required;
- ensure that, unless you are using a privately built drone, it has a declaration in conformity to the CE class mark and its class label (0 to 4) is affixed to the aircraft; and
- ensure that the persons involved in the operation of the drone is aware of the risks involved in operations under subcategories A2 and A3.
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.050 under Annex 1 and art.19 (2)
What are my responsibilities as a remote pilot in the 'open' category?
As a remote pilot you must:
Before the flight:
- complete the training and examination required for the type of operation you will be involved in;
- have relevant up-to-date information about any geographical zones published by the National Aviation Authority;
- check for obstacles and the presence of people not involved in the operation of the drone (unless operating in the A1 subcategory with a privately built drone or a drone with a CE class 0 mark;
- check that the drone is fit for flight and the operation it will undertake;
- check that the remote control works properly (if applicable); and
- ensure that the weight of the drone is within the limit of the category or subcategory of the intended operation.
During the flight in the ’open’ category, you must:
- not operate the drone when you are unfit either due to the consumption of psychoactive/ hallucinogenic substances or alcohol, or unfit due to sickness;
- keep the drone at a distance such that you can clearly see it; you may use a UA observer to scan the airspace when you want to fly in first person view. UA observers must be located alongside you such that they can immediately communicate in case they see an obstacle and give you instructions such as to immediately land the drone.
- if you or the UA observer see a manned aircraft, give way to it, and make sure you are far away from it. If you have any doubt about the operation, you should land the drone immediately.
- comply with the limitation of the geographical zones;
- operate the drone according to the manufacturer’s user manual;
- comply with the operator’s procedure; and
- do not operate where an emergency response service is ongoing (e.g. in the case of an accident, keep away from that location since an emergency helicopter may be required to be used);
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.060 under Annex part A EU regulation 2019/947.
When I buy a drone to be operated in the open category or in standard scenario (STS) in the specific category, what should I do?
The operator is responsible for obtaining a reasonable confidence that the drone he/she is acquiring complies with requirements applicable to its C class 1 - 6 (ref: Annex of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945).
In particular, the operator needs to ensure that:
- buying directly from outside the EU should be avoided as the UAS may not be intended for the EU market and may not comply with EU legislation.
- the drone bears the appropriate class label from 1 to 6 and it comes with a declaration of conformity showing compliance with the Drone Regulation (EU) 2019/945.
- when buying a second hand UAS, obtain reasonable confidence that the UAS has not been damaged or modified in a way that affect its initial compliance with the Drone Regulation (EU) 2019/945.
- the initial compliance of the UAS to the requirements of its C Class is maintained throughout its lifetime, in particular that the UAS is not damaged or modified in a way that could affect it.