The European Commission has recently published two delegated regulations on the systems of unmanned aircraft, drones or UAS and on their rules and procedures for use. This is Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 of the Commission of March 12, 2019 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of the Commission of May 24, 2019.
Regulation 2019/945 deals with the requirements of unmanned aircraft systems and the requirements to be met by designers, manufacturers, importers and distributors in order to obtain conformity markings and monitor the market for safety and interest in the competitiveness of it.
Regulation 2019/947 deals with the rules and procedures for the use of unmanned aircraft by pilots and operators, defining categories of use and a series of requirements for their use.
We will try to make a brief summary of both regulations, highlighting those aspects that have seemed more important or different from the current legislation. Out of this summary, we will leave many important aspects, so a deliberate reading of both regulations will be recommended to go deeper into these aspects. Both regulations establish classes of unmanned aircraft systems and categories for their use.
It must be emphasized that with the publication of these regulations by the Commission there is no direct application of them, since EASA, the European Agency for Air Safety and the rest of the state agencies or competent bodies of each of the member states, they must publish the Acceptable Means of Compliance and the Guide Material to make these regulations practical. Each of the regulations includes a period of entry into force, even differentiated by parts of them.
This regulation establishes the requirements for the design and manufacture of unmanned aircraft systems or SANT (UAS in regulation 2019/947). It also deals with the commercialization requirements of the UAS for an open category in Chapter II, including the systems or accessories that they must have. Chapter III is applicable to UAS for specific category and certified category, establishing its requirements in terms of design, production and maintenance and use according to the purposes. Chapter IV talks about the operations carried out by operators from third countries that are not from the European Union.
One of the most important parts of Regulation 2019/945 is Annex I, where the SANT classes are established. In response to its maximum take-off mass, the following classes are established:
- C0: MMD <250g
- C1: MMD <900g
- C2: MMD <4kg
- C3: MMD <25kg
- C4: MMD <25kg without automatic control modes, or model airplanes.
Each of the classes has a series of requirements for its manufacture and obtaining the CE marking, necessary for its commercialization in the EU. It is worth highlighting several novelties or curiosities:
- Height limitation system on the take-off point of the aircraft at 120m or above ground. If the height is selectable by the pilot, the system must have a reading of the height on the ground at all times, so as not to exceed the aforementioned limitation.
- Direct identification system that aircraft should have from class C1. A system that allows and guarantees, in accordance with the regulations, in real time during the entire duration of the flight, the direct periodic dissemination of relevant information from the aircraft using an open and documented transmission protocol, including a unique registration number and data about the operator A system that will allow drones to be monitored in airspace along with 5G and IoT telecommunications technologies.
We also talk about geoscience or geofencing systems, although they are not as novel and the drones already carry them. Although the current geoconscience systems (such as the DJI NFZ) do not use data from aeronautical information systems or aeronautical charts, as it does require that the new regulation must be made.
There is also talk about the manuals and maintenance instructions that you should have from class C1.
Some requirements that will directly affect the design of new equipment and that come into force 20 days after its publication. Although the 2019/947 regulation establishes a transitory period of use for current equipment that does not comply with the previous requirements, in the Article 20 thereof, until 2022.
Regulation 2019/947 establishes the normal and regulations for the use of UAS in European airspace, which will come into force on July 1, 2020.
In the annex, OPEN-open, SPECIFIC-specific or CERTIFIED-certified operation categories are established.
For the Open category, the subcategories A1, A2 and A3 are established, depending on the type of operation, its area of flight and the type of aircraft used.
Subcategory A1 is established for drones of less than 250g or classes C0 or C1, avoiding flight over concentrations of people for classes C0 or less than 250g (if it does not meet the requirements of Regulation 2019/945) or about people for the class C1. For this category it will be necessary to know the equipment user manual as well as to have an online training course for class C1 aircraft.
The subcategory A2 establishes for aircraft of class C2, with the possibility of making flights of more than 30m horizontal distance over people (never over them) or up to 5m with the necessary precautions. The responsible drivers must have knowledge of the team's user manual, the online training course (which will be valid for 5 years), a self-study course and passing an exam carried out by the competent authority of each member state.
The subcategory A3 establishes the training conditions of the pilot as those of the subcategory A2 and the flight scenario should not be about people besides saving 150m with respect to populated areas. Aircraft of classes C2, C3, C4 or less than 25kg of maximum take-off mass may be used.
For flights in a specific category, the operator must have an operational authorization, which may be punctual for one or several operations or may have a LUC approval (light UAS operator certificate) as specified in Annex Part C. For this purpose, , the operator must perform a risk assessment subject to the conditions set out in the regulations.
The competent authority will establish standard scenarios, specified in appendix 1, which will result in the operator not having to have an operational authorization but with a declaration, it is understood that under the declaration of responsible regime.
The regulation in article 15 establishes the operational conditions applicable to the geographical areas of the UAS for reasons of security, protection, privacy or environment. The member states are allowed the ability to prohibit, restrict or impose the specific conditions for each specific area, as established today with areas of controlled airspace, prohibited, restricted, dangerous or wildlife protection zones. .
Authorizations granted to UAS operators, certificates of competence of remote pilots and statements submitted by UAS operators or equivalent documentation, issued on the basis of national law, will remain valid until July 1, 2021. Member States shall, by 1 July 2021, convert their current remote pilot competence certificates and their authorizations or declarations of UAS operators, or equivalent documentation, including those issued up to that date, in accordance with this regulation.
In transitory dispositions the use of UAS in open category is also established, different to those contemplated in regulation 2019/945 until 2022, establishing its classification according to weight.
We recommend a leisurely reading of the regulations that will govern our operations pending the acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material (GM) that should be published by EASA to make them applicable.
You can read them at the following link: