2021’s Quick Summary of Drone Regulations: Europe - June Update

June 17, 2021 by Yves Morier

What are some of the more important changes in regulation that have come into effect in Europe in the past 6 months?

In this drone regulations update industry expert Yves Morier provides a summarized account of 9 significant developments in rulemaking or related to rulemaking affecting the European drone ecosystem in 2021, so you can take away the key highlights without having to go through hundreds of pages of regulations.

Yves Morier has 40+ years of experience working in the aviation industry and is a well-renowned expert in safety, airworthiness, UAS, and regulations.

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EUROPEAN REGULATIONS: TOP 9 UPDATES

1. Regulations 2019/ 945 (technical requirements for drones; third countries operators) and 2019/ 947 have become applicable on 31 December 2020. Transition provisions are included in the rules, and they run until 2023. EASA has published an easy access version of these regulations that include both the rules and the associated Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material. These easy-access rules can be found under two formats: PDF or on online here.

2. EASA has complemented these rules by clarifying the design approvals necessary in the specific category and has adopted a proportionate approach to risk (SAIL: Specific Assurance and Integrity Level)

  • For SAIL I and II (Lower risk), a declaration of compliance is enough.
  • For SAIL III and IV (medium risk), a design verification by EASA is strongly recommended. EASA issues a report that includes any limitations or assumptions under which the report remains valid.
  • For SAIL V and VI (High risk):  a type certificate is necessary.

An information session on May 7 was organised to present the concept.

EASA issues guidelines for the design verification of drones operated in the ‘specific’ category

The new design verification process for authorising drone operations in the 'specific' category medium risk - SAIL III and IV

3. Another milestone was reached by the publication of Regulation 2021/ 664 on U-space (Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management). The regulation includes the concepts of U-space Airspace and of Common Information System (CIS). It also defines the requirements for U-space services and requires that service providers be certificated. Regulation 2021/664 is complemented by two regulations (2019/666 and 2019/665 respectively) that introduces the necessary modifications to the manned aircraft operations regulations and to the ATM/ANS regulations.

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/664

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/665

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/666

4. A Term of Reference (TOR) for a rulemaking task has been published to update on the plans concerning the “Introduction of a regulatory framework for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems and for urban air mobility in the European Union aviation system”. The operations have been organised in 3 types:

  •  Type #1 operations: Instrument flight rules (IFR) operations of UAS for the carriage of cargo in airspace classes A–C (ICAO airspace classification) and taking off from and/or landing at aerodromes falling under the Basic Regulation.
  • Type #2 operations: operations of UAS taking off and/or landing in a congested (e.g., urban) environment using predefined routes in the U-space airspace (part of the operation could be in a non-congested, e.g., rural, environment). These include operations of unmanned VTOL aircraft carrying passengers (e.g., air taxis) or cargo (e.g., goods delivery services).
  • Type #3 operations: same as for type #2 operations with VTOL aircraft with a pilot on board, including operations out of the U-space airspace.

Two Notices of Proposed Amendment will be prepared:

5. More generally, the EASA rulemaking program is included in the European Aviation Safety Plan notably in its volume II

6. It is interesting to note that the concept of a LUC (Light Unmanned aircraft operator Certificate) seems to generate significant interest. The LUC is an optional certificate with privileges that may include the possibility to start operations in the specific category without authorisations.

SCHIEBEL FIRST UAS OPERATOR IN EUROPE TO RECEIVE LUC FROM AUSTRO CONTROL – Source Hardt Hoehen Kurier.

NORDIC UNMANNED RECEIVES LIGHT UAS OPERATOR CERTIFICATE (LUC) UNDER NEW EASA REGULATION – Source sUAS News.

GERMAN DRONE OPERATIONS BENEFIT FROM PERMANENT FLIGHT PERMITS FOR PREDEFINED OPERATIONS – Source Unmanned airspace

According to the article, the two companies DFMG and Droniq have applied for a LUC.

MANNA AERO GETS OPERATOR CERTIFICATE FROM IAA – Source Radio Television Ireland

7. Cross borders operations are developing in Europe. Here are two examples:

FLYINGBASKET GETS APPROVAL FOR CROSS-BORDER OPERATIONS – Source Commercial UAV

Flying basket is an Italian company that have obtained an authorisation to operate in Germany based on their Italian authorisation.

A FIRST AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT AUTHORISATION AND AN OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT FOR SKEYETECH IN NORTHERN EUROPE - Source sUAS News

Azur Drones, a French company has developed SkeyeTech that is a “drone in a Box”. It has received an authorisation from the Danish CAA to operate in the Copenhagen area.

8. Below are interesting developments related to regulations in Member States:

GERMANY’S PARLIAMENT IMPLEMENTS EUROPEAN DRONE REGULATIONS INTO NATIONAL LAW – Source Unmanned Airspace

YMO: seems to be adaptation of German Law.

LUXEMBOURG INTRODUCES DRONE REGISTRATION PORTAL AND ONLINE TRAINING TO COMPLY WITH EC REGULATIONS – Source Unmanned airspace
In addition, Luxembourg has launched an awareness campaign.

ADOPTION OF EUROPEAN DRONE REGULATION IS DELAYED IN SWITZERLAND – Source FOCA

The adoption of the new European drone regulation into Swiss law is delayed. After both the National Council and the Council of States have adopted a motion calling for traditional model flying to be removed from drone regulation, Switzerland must start negotiations with the European Union. The existing Swiss law, therefore, applies to drones and model airplanes in Switzerland until further notice.

9. There are also interesting developments related to regulations in the UK.

OPERATION FOREVERWING ENFORCES DRONE LAWS – Source DroneLife
The operation is a cooperation between UK CAA, national and local police. The objective is to significantly reduce drone crimes after 336 incidents in the last 5 months.
The article considers that cooperation could be a model for the rest of the world as it brings drone law enforcement at the local level and clarifies the role of the police.

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About the author

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Yves Morier

Yves Morier graduated from the French Civil Aviation Academy (ENAC) as an Air Transport Engineer in 1978.
After Military Service, Yves joined in 1979 a DGAC (French CAA) local office in Normandy and in 1986 a Central Office in Paris where he worked on airworthiness codes and implemented the safety research program.
In 1991, Yves joined the Joint Aviation Authorities as Regulation Director.
In 2004, he joined EASA where he occupied various posts as head of the department and in the last three years as Principal Advisor for new technologies.
He retired in 2019.
Areas of expertise: Safety, Airworthiness, UAS, and Regulations.
Yves is currently married, and has 3 daughters, and a grandson.

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