- The partial application of Regulation EU 2019/947 begins.
- European Registry of Operators (AESA registration and European EASA repository).
Although, they have been in force since their publication in 2019, it is not until this year 2020 that their progressive application begins.
Initially, the first changes were planned for July 1st, but the situation caused by the health crisis of COVID-19, has forced to delay the time, as has happened with all activity worldwide.
After months of rumours, we now have available the new Implementing Regulation 2020/746, which modifies the dates indicated in SR 2019/947, and sets new deadlines adapted to the current situation.
Thus, the timetable for the implementation of the new European Regulation on UAS, updated with the latest news, is as follows:
EASA has indicated that the new European regulatory framework applies to all UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), whether autonomous or remotely piloted, and regardless of their mass or use.
What is noteworthy is that drones and military personnel, search and rescue, police, customs and border control agents, firefighters, coastguards and other security forces and various authorities are exempt.
As we have indicated previously, two new documents must be dealt with:
- Delegated Regulation 2019/945 of 12 March 2019, aimed at regulating the requirements and specifications of UAS manufacturers (Unmanned Aircraft Systems or drones).
- Implementing Regulation 2019/947, of 24 May 2019, which regulates the use of UAS by operators and pilots of drones, whether recreational or professional.
- Implementing Regulation 2020/746, of 4 June 2020, amending the implementation dates indicated in IR 2019/947 to take account of COVID-19 context.
Let’s see below, in a detailed way, what each one of them consists of and what interesting novelties they bring to the drone sector.
Delegated Regulation 2019/945
on UAS systems
From the application of the Delegated Regulation 2019/945, the technical requirements and specifications that must be incorporated, in a mandatory way, by the drones destined to the operations under open category (that we will see later) are standardized.
The systems, applications and accessories accompanying the drone are included. Also, the safety information that the aircraft must detail in the manuals.
Even so, the most important novelty introduced by Reg. 2019/945 is the implementation of a new and much more precise classification of drones, according to their MTOM or maximum take-off mass.
This classification will serve to define the specifications that each model must include to guarantee the safety of use.
- C0: MTOM < 250 g
- C1: MTOM < 900 g
- C2: MTOM < 4 kg
- C3: MTOM < 25 kg (check other requirements).
- C4: MTOM < 25 kg (check other requirements).
- C5: MTOM < 25 kg (check other requirements).
- C6: MTOM < 25 kg (check other requirements).
UAS Geographical Areas
The new EASA drone Regulations also introduces a broader concept of geographical areas where drone operations can be expressly permitted, restricted or excluded.
It helps to control and avoid risks to public safety, privacy and data protection, and environmental risks.
In these geographical areas, the Member States of the European Union may:
- Prohibit certain or all operations.
- Require specific authorisation or require certain conditions.
- Restrict flying to certain types of aircraft.
- Introduce specific environmental regulations.
- Allow the flight of drones incorporating certain intelligent systems or specific functionalities.
- Modify the general requirements to operate in the open category.
Implementing Regulation 2019/947
on the use of UAS
Of the two new regulations, the one that interests us most, both pilots and operators, is the one that regulates their use, the 2019/947 Implementing Regulation. From now on, three different operational categories are established, according to the level of risk of the operation itself.
Thus, the classification will be as follows: open category for low-risk procedures; specific category for medium risk; and certified category for flights presenting a high level of risk.
It also recalls that you will have to take account of IR 2020/746 of 4 June, which modifies the paragraph on the dates of IR 2019/947, in order to adapt it to the new international context on the occasion of COVID-19.
1. OPEN CATEGORY
This operational category includes low-risk flights for which no prior authorisation or declaration by the operator is required.
The explicit prohibitions for the open category are:
- The overflight of groups of persons.
- The carriage or dumping of dangerous materials or goods.
- Autonomous operations.
Furthermore, open category establishes a certain number of requirements to be met:
- The pilot must be at least 16 years old (it is possible to carry out the flight under the direct supervision of a remote pilot who meets the applicable requirements).
- Registration of the UAS operator (exceptions may apply).
- Pass a theoretical online training and examination (online training and examination for subcategories A1 and A3; classroom examination for subcategory A2).
- Always keep the UAS in the line of sight (the ‘First Person View’ and ‘Follow-me’ flight modes can be considered under certain conditions as VLOS).
- The maximum height of the operation is 120 meters.
- The maximum take-off weight of the drone is 25 kg and, in addition, it must be marked according to the applicable requirements.
Besides, three different subcategories are established based on operational limitations, requirements to pilots and technical requirements of the UAS.
2. SPECIFIC CATEGORY
The new EASA drone Regulations dictates that the specific category applies to operations that do not fit into the open category, for risk reasons:
- BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flights.
- Operations over 120 meters high.
- Drones over 25 kg.
- Urban flights with drones over 4 kg or without EC certification.
- Material dumping.
- Flight over crowds of people, etc.
Additionally, the following conditions must be met:
- The pilot must be at least 16 years old.
- The registration of the UAS operator is compulsory.
- A Specific Operations Risk Assessment performed by the UAS operator is required before applying to EASA.
Also, if NOT flying in the standard scenarios, which are specified below, the drone operator must own an operational license.
- STS-01: VLOS operations in a controlled land area in a urban environment with class C5 drones (UAS).
- STS-02: BVLOS operations in a controlled land area in a sparsely populated environment with class C6 drones.
In the following scheme, you can see the applicable operational requirements, according to the nature of each operation.
3. CERTIFIED CATEGORY
The general requirements for operations within the certified category are:
- Drones certified under the Delegated Regulation EU 2019/945.
- When flying over people with a UAS with a wingspan of more than 3 metres.
- When flying over crowds of people; transporting dangerous goods with high risk in case of an accident; or when it involves the transport of people.
- If the SORA submitted indicates the need for certification of the UAS the operator and the obtaining of the relevant pilot’s license.
The detailed rules concerning the certified category are still being developed by the EU.
With the New European Regulation on drones,
what about Spanish regulations?
As we have defined previously, there are periods of implementation of the new European regulatory framework. Therefore, all the above changes will be implemented progressively in response to the need for adaptation in the sector.
Until that time, Royal Decree 1036/2017, which regulates the use of drones in Spain, will remain in force. Also, national regulations will be applied in the transition periods contemplated in the new European Regulation and operational situations not covered by it.
As usual, at Grupo One Air, we are up to date with all the news on current regulations to inform you of everything you need to know to fly your drone with maximum safety.