- Open and Specific category
- Regulations on UAS (drone) explained
- Registration requirements
- Training requirements
- Operational Authorisation Requirements
- Requirements once in the air
- General requirements
- Drones without CE class markings
- Racing and/or flying drones with goggles (FPV)
- Building your own drones (privately built)
- Providing services (commercial and other) with drone(s)
- Non-EU visitor / Drone Operator
- Model aircraft
- Light drone operator certificate (LUC)
What is covered by the regulations?
The EU regulation adopts a risked based approach and as such does not distinguish between leisure or commercial activities. It takes into account the weight and specifications of the drone and the operation it intends to undertake.
The regulation caters:
a. for drones sold on the market, meaning:
1. when operating in the open category:
i. those that will bear a CE class mark (according to Regulation (EU) 2019/945)
ranging from C0 to C4 from lighter to heavier models;
ii. those currently owned, and produced before the date of 31st Dec 2022,
so not bearing a CE class mark,
2. when operating in the specific category, all drones falling under this category including
those without a CE class mark.
b. privately built drones, built for private use.
EU regulation 2019/947 caters for most type of operation and their level of risk. It does so through 3 categories of operations: Open, Specific and Certified category.
The Open category addresses operations in the lower risk bracket, where safety is ensured by the drone operator complying with relevant requirements for its intended operation. This category is subdivided into three further subcategories called A1, A2 and A3. Operational risks under the “Open” category are considered so low that no authorisation is required before starting the flight.
The Specific category covers riskier operations, where safety is ensured by the drone operator obtaining an operational authorisation from the national competent authority before starting the operation. To obtain the authorisation the drone operator is required to conduct a safety risk assessment which will determine the requirements necessary for the drone (s) safe operation.
The Certified category where safety risk is so high that safety is ensured through the certification of the drone operator and the aircraft as well as the licensing of the remote pilot(s).
What are the applicability dates under EU regulation 2019/947 and 2019/945?
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the applicability date of EU regulation 2019/947 has been delayed from the 1st July 2020 to the 31st December 2020, meaning:
- as of 31st December 2020, registration of drone operators and certified drones becomes mandatory;
- as of 31st December 2020, operations in the “Specific” category may be conducted after authorisation given by the national authority;
- between 31st December 2020 and 1st January 2023 drones users operating drones without CE class markings can continue to operate, in the limited category under article.22 EU regulation 2019/947 (see FAQ #x for additional information);
- as of January 2022, national authorisations, certificates, declarations must be fully converted to the new EU System;
- from 1st January 2022, EASA Member States must make available information on geographical zones for geo awareness in a digital format harmonised among EU countries;
- as of January 2023 all operations in the “Open” category and all drones operators must fully comply with EU regulation 2019/947 and EU regulation 2019/945.
Who is a drone operator
A drone operator is any person, natural or an organisation, who owns the drone(s) or rents the drone. You can be both a drone operator and a remote pilot if you are also the person that actually fly the drone. However it can be the case where you are the remote pilot without being a drone operator. For example, if you are a pilot working for a company which provide services with drones. In this case, the company is the drone operator and you are the remote pilot.
If you bought a drone to fly it in your leisure time, you are both the drone operator and remote pilot.
If you bought a drone to give away as a gift, the person who will receive the gift and then fly the drone will be the drone operator and the remote pilot.
Types of drone the Regulation refers to
‘Unmanned Aircraft’ means any aircraft operating or designed to operate autonomously or to be piloted remotely without a pilot on board;
This definition includes all types of aircraft without a pilot on board, including radio controlled flying models (powered fixed wing, helicopters, gliders) whether they have an on-board camera or not.
The regulation uses the term UAS, unmanned aircraft system, to refer to a drone, its system and all the other equipment used to control and operate it; such as the command unit, the possible catapult to launch it and others.
The RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), is a subcategory of UAS, which includes both RPAS and fully autonomous UAS. Fully autonomous UAS fly completely by itself without the need for any pilot intervention.
Regulatory reference: paragraph 30 of Art 3 of Regulation (EU) 1139/2018.
What is the difference between autonomous and automatic drone?
An autonomous drone is able to conduct a safe flight without the intervention of a pilot. It does so with the help of artificial intelligence enabling it to cope with all kinds of unforeseen and unpredictable emergency situations.
This is different from automatic operations where the drone flies pre-determined routes defined by the drone operator before starting the flight. For this type of drones it is essential for the remote pilot to take control of the drone to intervene in unforeseen events for which the drone has not been programmed.
While automatic drones are allowed in all categories, autonomous drones are not allowed in the open category.
Autonomous drones need a level of verification of compliance with the technical requirements that is not compatible with the system put in place for the open category. Autonomous operations are instead allowed in the specific category, where the regulation includes a tool flexible enough to verify requirements with the appropriate level of robustness.
Autonomous operations are also allowed in the certified category.
How do I determine which category I fall under: Open, Specific or Certified?
A drone can be operated in the “Open “category when it:
- bears one of the CE class marks 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4;or
- is privately built and with a weight less than 25kg; or
- it is purchased before the 1st of January 2023, with no CE class marking as above;
- will be operated not directly over people, unless it bears a CE class mark or is lighter than 250g. (Please refer to subcategories of operations: A1, A2 and A3 to find out where you can fly with your drone).
- will be maintained in Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) or be assisted by a UA observer ;
- is flown at no more than 120 metres high;
- will not carry dangerous goods and not drop any material.
In all other cases it must be operated in the Specific or Certified category.
Regulatory reference: Article 4 and article 20 of EU Regulation 2019/947; Annex part A and Article 5(1) of EU Regulation 2019/947, Part1 to 5 Annex of EU regulation 2019/945.
I fall under the Open category, how do I determine which Sub- category I can fly under?
The Subcategory is determined either by:
- the label, CE class mark (0, 1, 2, 3 and 4), affixed to your drone; or
- the weight of your drone, for privately built drone and for a drone without CE class markings (called legacy drones);
Caveat, in order to facilitate the transition, drones without CE class mark may fly until 1st of January 2023 according to the requirements defined in article 22 of EU regulation 2019/947 (please refer to FAQ on flying without CE Class Markings for additional information).
Applying the instructions above, please refer to the table below to determine the subcategory you must fly under. For instance, CE class mark 2 drones can be only be flown under subcategory A2 (close to people) or A3 (far from people).
Please consider that your state may publish geographical zone that may restrict the use of your drone.
What are requirements under the Open Category sub categories?
According to the CE class mark of drone or the weight, in case of privately built, they can be operated in different conditions as described below:
Drones bearing a CE Class mark 0 mark or privately built up to 250g can fly in subcategory A1 that means almost everywhere, except that over assembly of people, or areas that the state have forbidden imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your aviation authority for additional information).
Drones bearing a CE Class mark 1 mark can also be operated in subcategory A1 with the difference that you are required to reduce as much as you can to overfly uninvolved people.
Drones bearing a CE Class mark 2 can be operated in subcategory A2 that means in urban environment however you are required to keep a safe distance from the uninvolved people. As a rule this distance should be equal to the height at which the drone is flying (e.g if you are flying at a height of 30m make sure that the closest uninvolved person is at 30 m from the position where the drone will vertically fall in case of an incident). In any case this distance must never be less than 5 m. In addition you can fly in the conditions defined for subcategory A3 as well. Finally you must avoid to fly in areas that the state have forbidden imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your aviation authority for additional information).
Drones bearing a CE Class mark 3, 4 or privately built up to 25 kg can be operated in subcategory A3 that means that they can never be operated in urban environment and you need to keep at least a distance of 150m from residential, commercial, industrial areas and operate in an areas where no uninvolved people is present in the range where the drone can be operated. In any case you must avoid to fly in areas that the state have forbidden imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your aviation authority for additional information).
For the full image of requirements and limitations applicable to different classes of drones and conducted operations, please refer to the table below:
* Minimum age can be lowered by the state to 12, in this case this new threshold will be valid only in that state.
Who is an ‘uninvolved person’?
” An uninvolved person, means persons who are not participating in the UAS operation or who are not aware of the instructions and safety precautions given by the UAs (drone) operator”.
A person is considered involved if he/she decides to be a part of the operation, understands the risk and is able to check the position of the drone while it is flying.
Therefore in order to be considered ‘involved’ in the operation, a person needs to:
- give consent to be a part of the operation (e.g. a consent to be overflown by the drone); the consent needs to be explicit;
- receive from the drone operator/remote pilot instructions and safety precautions to be applied in case of emergency situation;
- do not be busy with other activities such that the person cannot check the position of the drone and, in case of incident take action to avoid to be hit.
Writing on a ticket that during an event a drone will be used, is not considered sufficient, since the drone operator needs to receive individual explicit consent and make sure people understand the risk and the procedures to be taken in case of emergency.
During the operation it is expected that involved persons follow the trajectory of the drone and are ready to take action to protect themselves in case the drone has an unexpected behaviour. If people during the UAS operation, people are busy to work or to watch something that is not compatible with monitoring the trajectory of the drone, than these cannot be considered as uninvolved.
Examples of uninvolved people:
- spectators gathered for sport activities, concerts or other mass events;
- people in a beach or in a park, walking on the streets.
Uninvolved person is not only the one exposed directly on a drone, but could also mean a person who is in a bus, car, etc., i.e. is indirectly exposed. For example, if a drone is flying over a car, its driver should be considered as ‘uninvolved person’. The reason behind is that a drone is flying close to a car (even if not impacting on it) could possibly distract its driver and therefore cause a car accident.
Regulatory reference: GM1 Article 2(18) Definitions, ED Decision 2019/021/R.
What is an ‘assembly of people’?
Assembly of people is referred to a crowd. It is not defined by a specific number of people, but is related to the possibility for an individual to move around in order to avoid the consequences of a drone which is out of control. If in a given people are so densely packed, that they their possibility to freely escape or move away from the drone is limited, it is considered as assembly of people.
Examples of assemblies of people are:
- sport, cultural, religious or political events;
- beaches or parks on a sunny day;
- commercial streets during the opening hours of the shops; and
- ski resorts/tracks/lanes.
Regulatory reference: GM1 Article 2(3) Definitions, ED Decision 2019/021/R.
Do I need to register my drone?
Unless are certified, drones do not need to be registered but you, as drone operator/owner, must register yourself. You do so with the Civil Aviation Authority of the EU country you residence in. (https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa)
You register once, independently of how many drones operating in the open or specific category you have. Your registration will be valid for a period defined by your national Civil Aviation Authority after which you need to renew it.
However, you do not need to register yourself if your drone(s):
- weighs less than 250g and has no camera or other sensor able to detect personal data; or
- even with a camera or other sensor, weighs less than 250g, but is a toy (this means that its documentation shows that it complies with ‘toy’ Directive 2009/48/EC);
A drone is certified when it has a certificate of airworthiness (or restricted certificate of airworthiness) issued by the national aviation authority. In this case it require a registration. A certified drone is needed only when the risk of the operation requires it. So it is never needed for drones operated in the open category.
Relevant regulation: article 21 of EU regulation 2019/947.
What happens once I register?
Once registered, you receive a ‘drone operator registration number’ that needs to be displayed with a sticker on all the drones you own including those privately built. You must also, upload it into the ‘Drone’s remote identification system’.
Regulatory reference: article 14 EU regulation 2019/947.
Will my registration as drone operator be recognised throughout Europe?
Yes, you as drone operator, will receive a unique registration number and this will be valid in all other EASA member State. You cannot register twice.
Regulatory reference: article 14 of EU regulation 2019/947.
Are all remote pilots required to train to fly a drone?
Yes in general you need to have a training that is proportionate to the category you are going to operate.
A training is not required only if you are using very light drones:
a. if the drone bears a CE class mark 0 you only must be familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions; or
b. with privately built drones with a weight less than 250g you are not required to undergo the required training.
However, all other remote pilots must undergo the required training.
Meaning, in the “Open” category all remote pilots flying in Subcategory A1, A2 and A3 are required to:
- be familiar with the Manufacturers manual;
- complete an online training course provided by the national Civil Aviation Authority (please consult their website) ; and
- successfully complete an online theoretical knowledge examination((provided at the end of the online training) before they can fly.
The test is a 40 multiple choice questions examination testing your knowledge as pilot.
Once completed the national Civil Aviation Authority will issue a proof of completion of the online training. It enables you to fly in A1 and A3 subcategories.
Regulatory reference: Annex part A (DRONE.OPEN.020) of EU regulation 2019/947.
However, if you intend to operate in A2 subcategory, you must in addition to the above:
- Complete a self-practical training in order to familiarise with the drone and ensure you reach a good level of control. This must be conducted in an area where you do not pose a risk to other people; and
- Undergo an additional theoretical knowledge examination that will be provided in a facility identified by the national Civil Aviation Authority;
The test is a 30 multiple choice questions examination testing the pilot’s knowledge on mitigation of Ground risks, meteorology and drone flight performance.
At the end of which, the national Civil Aviation Authority issues a ‘certificate of remote pilot competency'. With this certificate you can fly in A2 subcategory.
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.030 Annex Part A of EU regulation 2019/947.
If your operation falls under the “Specific” category the training depends on the operation you intend to conduct. So, unless the operation fall in a standard scenario, after the risk assessment you need to propose to the national Civil Aviation Authority a possible training. They will, in each case, confirm the training adequacy in the operational authorisation, at which point the training becomes the required training.
If your operation fall in a standard scenario the remote pilot must:
- hold a certificate of remote pilot theoretical knowledge for operation under Standard Scenarios;
- hold an accreditation of completion of the STS-01 practical skill training.
To do so the remote pilot must:
- complete and successful pass an online training course.
Both the certificate and accreditation can be issue by a competent of authority or an entity chosen to do so.
Regulatory reference: UAS.SPEC.050 (d) and UAS.SPEC.060 (b) of EU regulation 2019/947.
Who issues the remote pilot competency certificate and how long is it valid for?
For the “Open” category or Standard Scenarios the national Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for issuing the certificates. The certificates for Remote Pilot competency is valid for 5 years. If the revalidation is conducted before the expiration period, the remote pilot may attend a seminar provided by the national Civil Aviation Authority or by an entity recognised by it otherwise competencies need to be re-demonstrated
Regulatory reference: DRONE.OPEN.070 (1) of EU regulation 2019/947.
For operations in the “Specific” category, not covered by standard scenarios it will be defined in the operational authorisation provided by the national Civil Aviation Authority.
Regulatory reference: Article 12 of EU regulation 2019/947 and UAS.STS-01.020.
Contact your national civil aviation authority for further information.
Do I need to obtain an authorisation before flying my drone?
No prior authorisation is needed for operations in the “Open” category.
When operating under the “Specific” category, if the operations can be conducted within the limitation of a standard scenario and using an appropriate drone, the drone operator may only submit a declaration to the national Civil Aviation Authority and wait for the confirmation of receipt and completeness. For all other operations in the specific category, an operational authorisation issued by the national Civil Aviation Authority is needed.
I fall under the “Specific” category, how do I obtain an authorisation?
Firstly check if your operation can be accommodated within a Standard Scenario (SS). In such a case you do not need an authorisation but you need to submit a declaration to the national Civil Aviation Authority. A SS is an operation defined in the appendix to the drone regulation. You need to use a drone marked with the appropriate CE class mark (5 or 6). After submitting the declaration to the Civil Aviation Authority, you will receive the confirmation of receipt and completeness from the national Civil Aviation Authority and operate following the limitations of the standard scenario.
Otherwise there are many ways other means to an operational authorisation under the “Specific” category depending on the level of risk the operation poses. The drone operator can apply for:
- An Operational Authorisation via conducting a risk assessment of the intended operation using a methodology for the risk assessment, one possible is the SORA (specific operation risk assessment) that you can find as AMC1 to Article 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947. This methodology helps to identify the risk level of the operation and to identify the mitigations and operational safety objectives needed to make the operation safe. When the drone operator believes it has put in place satisfactory measures to ensure the safety of the operation, she/he sends all information to the national Civil Aviation Authority and apply for an Operational Authorisation. When the national civil aviation authority is satisfied it provides the drone operator with the authorisation and the operation can be started.
- An Operation Authorisation through a predefined risk assessment’ (PDRA): as a simplification of conducting a risk assessment by the drone operator. For those operations that will be the most common in Europe, EASA will carry out the risk assessment and will publish, as an acceptable means of compliance to the drone regulation, the list of actions that the drone operator needs to put in place in order to conduct the operation safely. Still the application for an authorisation to the national civil aviation authority is needed, however both the drone operator and the national aviation authority will benefit from the standardised measures defined in the PDRA. The PDRAs are published by EASA as AMC to Art 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947, more are already under development.
- Light drone operator certificate (LUC): this is a voluntary certification after which the national civil aviation authority may recognise some privileges to the drone operator.
Drone operators may ask to the national civil aviation authority to have their organisation assessed such that they demonstrate to be capable to assess the risk of an operation themselves. The requirements to be demonstrated by drone operators are defined in the Part C of the Regulation (EU) 2019/947. When the national civil aviation authority is satisfied, they will issue a light drone operator certificate (LUC) and they will recognise privileges to drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may be one or more of the following:
- Conduct operations covered by standard scenario without submitting the declaration;
- self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a PDRA without applying for an authorisation.
- self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation.
Regulatory reference: article 12 of EU regulation 2012/947.
Can I fly my drone anywhere I want to?
Each EASA Member State will determine drone geographical zones, areas where drones may not fly (natural parks, city centres or near airports) or may fly under certain conditions or need a flight authorisation. Therefore, it is important for you to consult with the national civil aviation authority to check where you can and can not fly your drone.
These geographical zones apply to all categories.
Also, you are not allowed to fly close or inside an area where there is an ongoing emergency response.
States drone website references.
Regulatory reference: Article 15 and UAS.OPEN.060 (4) of EU regulation 2019/947.
Can I fly over people?
Generally when you operate in the “Open” category you are not allowed to fly over uninvolved people, unless you have a drone with a weight below 250g or with a CE class mark 0 and 1. If you have a drone with a CE class mark 2, under sub-category A2 the closer it can be flown is 30 metres horizontally from the uninvolved person or up to 5 meters when your drone is equipped with active speed mode function. In all other cases (drones with CE class mark 3, 4, 5 and 6 or privately built with a weight higher than 250g) you need to ensure that no uninvolved people are present in the range of the operation.
Regulatory reference: article 4 (1) (c) and UAS.OPEN.040 of EU regulation 2019/947.
How high can I fly my drone?
Your maximum flight height is generally 120m from the earth surface. Please check if the national civil aviation authority impose in the area where you fly a geographical zone with a lower limit. In case you need to fly over an obstacle higher than 120m, you are allowed to fly up to 15 metres above the height of the obstacle but only if there is an explicit request from the owner of the obstacle (e.g. a contract with the owner to perform an inspection). In this case you must fly within a horizontal distance of 50 metres from the obstacle.
When you are operating in a hilly environments, the height from the surface of the earth should be intended as the one showed in the picture below: you need to keep the drone 120m form the closest point of the terrain, this means that there may be conditions such as on top of a hill where even if you keep your drone 120m from the side of the hill, you are actually flying at a distance higher than 120m for the bottom of the valley. So as long as you keep your drone within 120m from the shoulder of the hill (as in the grey area in the picture below) you are legal.
Is there a minimum age to fly a drone?
Minimum age is 16 years old for remote pilots in the Open and specific category, however check with your local Civil Aviation Authority as they can lower the minimum age requirement.
However there is no minimum age for flying C0 marking drones under subcategory A1.
Regulatory reference: Article 9 EU regulation 2019/947.
What are my responsibilities as drone operator?
As a drone operator flying in 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 in 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 follow the procedures defined by the manufacturer in the user’s manual);
- ensure that there is no radio interference such 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 responsible person for each flight;
- ensure that the remote pilot and personnel supporting the operation of the drone are familiar with user’s manual and with the drone operator’s procedures, have appropriate competency and are provided with relevant information concerning any geographical zones published by 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 the geo awareness is not required;
- ensure that, unless you are using a privately built drone, it has a declaration of conformity of the CE class mark and its class label (1 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 for operation under sub-category A2 and A3.
Additional responsibilities for drone operators in the Specific Category:
- carry out each operation within the limitations defined in the declaration or operational authorisation;
- develop procedures to ensure the security of the operation:
- establish measures against unlawful interference and unauthorised access;
- Ensure that privacy of people is protected, may also be requirement to conduct data protection impact assessment upon national civil aviation authority request;
- Provide remote pilot with guidelines on how to minimise nuisances: noise and other emissions-related nuisance;
- ensure that the pilot conducting the operation and other personnel in charge comply with all conditions required for operating in specific category;
- Keep record of the drone operation;
- Maintain the drone in a suitable condition to ensure safe operation.
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.050 under Annex 1 and art.19 (2) and UAS.SPEC.050 of EU regulation 2019/947.
What are my responsibilities as remote pilot?
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 geographical zones published by the national civil aviation authority;
- Check for obstacles and the presence of people not involved in the operation of the drone (unless operating in A1 subcategory with privately built drone or with a CE class mark 0 ;
- Check that the drone is fit for flight and the operation it will undertake,
- Check that the remote works properly(if applicable);
- Ensure that the weight of the drone is within the limit of the category or subcategory of the intended operation.
Additional responsibility for the Specific Category:
- Ensure that the operating environment is compatible with the authorised or declared limitations;
- Ensure that Air Traffic Service*, airspace user and other stakeholder are informed of intended operation.
During the flight in the open category:
- Not operate the drone when unfit either due to 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. The UA observes must be located along side with you such that she/he can immediately communicate in case he sees an obstacle and give you instructions such as immediately land the drone;
- If you or the UA observer see a manned aircraft, give it the way, make sure you are very far away from it. In case of minimum doubt land immediately.;
- Comply with the limitation of the geographical zones;
- Operate the drone according to the manufacturer’s user manual;
- Comply with the operator procedure;
- Do not operate where an emergency response service is ongoing (e.g in case of an accident keep distance from that location since an emergency helicopter may be required to be used).
Additional responsibility for the Specific category:
- Comply with the authorised or declared limitations.
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.060 under Annex part A and UAS.SPEC.060 of EU regulation 2019/947.
Do I need insurance?
You, as drone operator, are always required to have an insurance for your drone if you are using a drone with a weight above 20kg. However most of EASA Member States mandate a third party insurance also if you are operating a lighter drone. So please consult the national regulation.
Regulatory reference: Article 14 (2) (d) of EU regulation 2019/947.
Will I be able to fly my old drone after the 31st of December 2020?
Yes, from the 31st December 2020 to the 1st of January 2023 you may fly your drone without CE class marks in the open category under the following conditions:
- drones with less than 500g MTOM can not fly over people and pilot competency is determined by your national Civil Aviation Authority;
- drones with less than 2kg MTOM, can fly 50 metres (horizontally) from people and pilot must undergo training equivalent to subcategory A2 (see FAQ section on training);
- drones with less than 25 kg, can fly in area free from people, 150 metres away from properties, and pilot must undergo training equivalent to subcategory A3 (see FAQ section on training).
After the 1st of January 2023 you can still fly your drone without CE class marks however under the following subcategory of operation for which you have to fully comply with:
- Subcategory A1 when the drone’s Maximum take-off weight (MTOM) is less than 250 g; or
- Subcategory A3 when the drone’s Maximum take-off weight is less than 25kg.
You will not need to apply any retrofit/sticker in the subcategory A1 and A3 to the drone.
Drones in the specific category do not need a CE class mark (except if operating in a standard scenario)
Regulatory reference: Article 20 and Annex part A of EU regulation 2019/947 and EU regulation 2019/945.
Do I still need training given that I have been flying drones before the rules became applicable?
Any certificates of remote pilots competency issued by national authority remain valid until 1st of January 2022, after which your national authority will have to convert your national certificate(s) to one according to this regulation.
You having to undergo a new training after that date will depend on the conversion process your national civil aviation authority decides to put in place.
As of the 31st of December 2020 if you do not have a national certificate for your remote pilot competency, you will have to undergo the required competency training as required for the “Open” category.
Regulatory reference: Article 21 and Annex part A (UAS.OPEN.020) and (UAS.OPEN.040) of EU regulation 2019/947.
As a drone racer which category and sub-category of operation do I fall under?
Normally drone races are organised by clubs and associations. In this case they may have received an operational authorisation by the national civil authority in accordance with Art 16 of Regulation (EU) 2019/947, covering also the organisation of such event.
If instead you want to conduct a race not within a club or association and no spectators (in this context meaning uninvolved person, see definition above) are present, you fall under the “Open category” and you can operate under sub-category A3.
If there are spectators the operation fall in the “specific category” and you need to apply for an authorisation by the national civil authority.
Is flying with goggles (first person view) authorised?
The regulation allows flying without keeping direct eye contact with the drone, provided you have a person next to you, a UA observer, keeping direct visual contact with the drone, scanning the airspace to make sure that you do not endanger other parties (eg. Aircraft or buildings or person). The UA observer must be located along side you to cater for immediate communication in case she/he sees an obstacle and gives you instructions such as to immediately land the drone.
Regulatory reference: Article 4(d) of EU regulation 2019/947.
Are spectators allowed?
When operating in the “Open” category flying over uninvolved person people is not allowed, so no spectators. See also explanation on Uninvolved person under “understanding the EU regulation 2019/947 and 2019/945”.
If the event is organised by a club or association that received an authorisation by the national civil aviation authority or the organiser received.
Does my drone fall under the “Open” category?
Yes, privately built drones can be used and depending on their weight, operated in the open or specific category. You, as drone operator, need to fulfil all the requirements of the regulation and in the open category can only operate under sub-category:
- A1 when the drone’s maximum take-off weight (MTOM) including payload is less than 250g with speed of less than 19 m/s; or in
- A3 when the drone’s MTOM including payload is less than 25 kg.
Privately built drones can be operated in the specific category independently of their weight, if included in the operational authorisation issued by the national civil authority
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.020 (5) (a) and UASOPEAN.040 (4)(a) Annex part A of EU regulation 2019/947.
How do I determine which category I can operate under, Open or Specific?
You can operate your services whether commercial or not under the “Open” category, if you meet all the requirements defined for the open category.
See Question on subcategory under “understanding EU regulation 2019/947 and 2019/945”.
Otherwise you fall under the “Specific” category.
Regulatory reference: Article 4 of EU Regulation 2019/947; Annex part A and Article 5(1) of EU Regulation 2019/947.
Will I need to validate my operational authorisation with every other EASA Members state?
By 31st December 2020, any authorisation given by one MS will be valid in the rest of Europe. The drone operator is required to first submit the declaration (if intending to conduct an operation covered by a standard scenario) or receive an operational authorisation by civil aviation authority of the state of registration. Then to operate in another EASA Member state he needs to:
In case of operation covered by a standard scenario (SS), the drone operator must send to the civil aviation authority where it intends to operate, a copy of the declaration and a copy of the confirmation of receipt and completeness received by the civil aviation authority of the state of registration. Then the drone operator may start the operation following the requirement of the standard scenario and verifying the geographical zone published by the civil aviation authority where the operation is conducted.
For operations not covered by SS in the specific category, the drone operator must ensure that the mitigating measures submitted in his original risk assessment are appropriate to the new environment it plan to operate in or update them is necessary.
Then the drone operator must provide the civil aviation authority of the Member State of the intended operation with an application, which must include:
(a) a copy of the operational authorisation granted by the Civil Aviation authority of the Member of registration; with
(b) Location (s) of the intended operation including the updated mitigation measures.
Upon receipt of the application the Civil Aviation authority of the Member State of intended operation will review the updated mitigation measure proposed. Then will confirm to the drone operator that the application is satisfactory. Once you receive the confirmation, you may start the intended operation.
In case the drone operator has been granted, by the civil aviation authority of the state of registration, a LUC (light UAS operator certificate) with privileges to self-authorise its operations, he or she must provide the civil aviation authority of the State of the intended operation with
- a copy of the term of approval of the LUC
- the location or locations of the intended operation;
Regulatory reference: article 13 of EU regulation 2019/947.
What will happen to authorisation granted by NAAs before the 31st of December 2020?
After the 31st of December 2020 all existing approval/certificate/authorisation/declarations issued by national Civil Aviation authority will still be valid until 1st January 2022.
After 1st January 2022 all approvals, certificates, authorisation and declarations must be converted to the EU regulation. New applications for authorisations/certificate submitted after 1st January 2022 needs to follow the new EU regulation.
Regulatory reference: Article 20 of EU regulation 2019/947.
What is meant by the requirement for Operational procedures?
The drone operator should develop procedures adapted to the type of operations and to the risks involved. Therefore, written procedures should not be necessary if the drone operator is also the remote pilot, or employs just one remote pilot. In this case the remote pilot may use the procedures defined by the manufacturer manual.
If a drone operator employs more than one remote pilot, the drone operator should:
(a) develop procedures for drone operations in order to coordinate the activities between its employees; and
(b) establish and maintain a list of their personnel and their assigned duties.
Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.50 under annex part A 2019/947.
I am a drone operator coming from a non EU Country and I am planning to operate in Europe, what procedure should I follow to establish my operation in Europe?
You are requested to apply the EU regulation as any other EU drone operator. Please see question “I am a NON-EU visitor Drone Operator”.
I am a Non-EU resident visiting Europe and I plan to fly my drone, do I need to register?
All drones operations conducted in the EASA Member States must comply with the drone regulation independent of the nationality of the operator or remote pilot. Therefore as a non EU resident also you are required to register with the Civil Aviation Authority of the first EU country you intend to operate.
You will then be issued with a ‘drone operator registration number’ that needs to be displayed with a sticker on all the drones you own. You must also upload it in the ‘remote identification system’ of your drone(s).
Once registered in the host country the drone operator registration will be valid across Europe and will be required to follow all the provisions of the drone regulation.
In case you intend to operate in the specific category you must submit a declaration for standard scenario or apply for an operational authorisation to the Civil Aviation Authority of the EU Members states where you registered.
In case you want to conduct the operations in a Member state different from the one you registered you need to follow the same procedure as all other national citizens of the Member state where you registered. Refer to question “Will I need to validate my operational authorisation with every other EASA Member state?”.
Regulatory reference: Art.41 (1) and (2) of EU regulation 2019/945.
As a Non- EU resident are my competencies recognised in the EU?
Given that there is no mutual recognition established between EASA and other countries, as yet, in the domain of drones; the training or qualification obtained in your country of residence will not be accepted in the EU. Therefore, you will have to undergo the required training before you can fly your drone. In the meantime other nations may develop regulations that may be considered by the EU commission as equivalent to those in Europe. Information on future recognition will be published on the EU Commission website as soon as they will be finalised.
How can I fly my model?
Model flyers have the following options to conduct their operations:
(a) They may operate as members of a model club or association that has received from the competent authority an authorisation, as defined in Article 16 of the UAS Regulation. In this case, they should comply with the procedures of the model club or association in accordance with the authorisation. The authorisation will define all conditions to operate and may deviate from the Regulation (for example they may allow operations with drones exceeding 25 kg, or flying higher than 120m etc). Members of the club and associations must still register themselves in accordance with Article 14 of the UAS Regulation, however the registration system of model aircraft clubs and associations may be recognised by the Member State.
(b) In case a person does not want to become a member of a club or association they may use the special geographical zones defined by EASA Member States, in accordance with Article 15(2) of the UAS Regulation, where drones and model aircraft are exempted from certain technical requirements, and/or where the operational limitations are extended, including mass or height limitations.
(c) Lastly model may be operated in Subcategory A3, please refer to FAQ 'What are requirements under the Open Category sub categories?'.
Regulatory reference: Art.16 of EU regulation 2019/947.
What is a LUC?
A Light UAS operator certificate (LUC) is an organisational approval certificate. Drone operators may ask the national civil aviation authority of registration to have their organisation assessed such that they demonstrate to be capable to assess the risk of an operation themselves. The requirements to be demonstrated by drone operators are defined in the Part C of the Regulation (EU) 2019/947. When the national civil aviation authority is satisfied, they will issue a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) and they will assign privileges to drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may be up to allow the organisation to self-authorise operations without applying for an authorisation.
The privileges may be one or more of the following:
- Conduct operations covered by standard scenario without submitting the declaration;
- self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a PDRA without applying for an authorisation.
- self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation.
Who can apply for a LUC?
You need to be an organisation to be eligible to apply for a LUC, however you can subcontract some of the activities.
Regulatory reference: UAS.LUC.010.