European Aviation Safety Agency releases proposals for regulating drones in Europe

October 9, 2015 |

Last month the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has released a discussion paper titled Proposal to create common rules for operating drones in Europe in which it sets out 33 proposals for the use of drones. As is often the way with EU regulations the proposals are comprehensive.  It does however address issues of privacy and other intrusion by the drones while allowing the technology to develop.

In summary the proposals are:

Proposal 1: Regulate commercial and non?commercial operations as the same drone might be used for both commercial and non?commercial activities.
Proposal 2: Three categories :
  • ‘Open’ category (low risk): safety  through operations limitations, compliance with industry standards, and the requirement to have certain functionalities and a minimum set of operational rules. Enforcement mainly by the police.
  • ‘Specific’ category (medium risk): authorisation by a national aviation authority (NAA) possibly assisted by a Qualified Entity (QE) following a risk assessment performed by the operator.
  • ‘Certified’ category (higher risk): requirements comparable to those for manned aviation.
Proposal 3: Member States (EASA MS) designate the responsible authorities for the enforcement of the regulations. Not to include into the EU aviation system the oversight of the ‘open’ and ‘specific’ categories.
Proposal 4: QEs to be approved and audited by the NAAs or the Agency to ensure their adherence to
common rules
Proposal 5:‘Open’ category operation is small drones under direct visual line of sight with an MTOM of less than 25 kg operated within safe distance from persons on the ground and separated from other air space users.
Proposal 6: Mandate geo?fencing (areas in which drones cannot fly by software design or otherwise) and identification for certain drones and operation areas.
Proposal 7: To ensure safety, environmental protection, and security and privacy, the competent authorities can define ‘no?drone zones’ where no operation is allowed without authority approval, and ‘limited?drone zones’ where drones must provide a function to enable easy identification and automatic limitation of the airspace they can enter and should have a limited mass.
Proposal 8:Standards for identification and geo?fencing functions endorsed by the Agency and could be referenced in the market regulations to ensure harmonisation at technical level and enable manufacturers to develop adequate equipment and to declare compliance with these standards.
Proposal 9:A defined data format (e.g. for map data) that should be used to provide the information in an open web interface. This information could be made available through service providers, presented through a smart phone app, or directly uploaded to the drone.
Proposal 10: Manufacturers and importers of drones to comply with the applicable product safety Directive, and will have to issue information to respective customers on operational limitations applicable to the ‘open’ category. The market regulations will be applicable to smaller drones and an upper threshold needs to be established.
Proposal 11: Product safety directive and related standards will be developed with the involvement of the Agency defining the safety characteristics  appropriate for the category and subcategory of the drone.
Proposal 12: All drone operations in the ‘open’ category conducted within the defined limitations:
  • Only flights in direct visual line of sight of the pilot are allowed.
  • Only drones with a maximum take?off mass below 25 kg are allowed.
  • No operation of drones in ‘no?drone zones’ is permitted.
  • Drones operating in ‘limited?drone zones’ must comply with the applicable limitations.
  • The pilot is responsible for the safe separation from any other airspace user(s) and shall give right of way to any other airspace user(s).
  • A drone in the ‘open’ category shall not operate at an altitude exceeding 150 m above the ground or water.
  • The pilot is responsible for the safe operation and safe distance from uninvolved persons and property on the ground and from other airspace users and shall never fly the drone above crowds (> 12 persons).

Proposal 13: For any drone operation over 50 m above ground, basic aviation awareness shall be required for the pilot.

Proposal 14:Create three subcategories in the ‘open’ category:
  • CAT A0: ‘Toys’ and ‘mini drones’ < 1 kg Maximum Take Off Mass Applicable product safety directive, general product safety directive refer to the EU regulations to place products on the market A proposal to create common rules for operating drones in Europe
  • CAT A1: ‘Very small drones’ < 4 kg
  • CAT A2: ‘Small drones’ < 25 kg
Proposal 15:  Any drone sold as a toy or consumer product with a mass below 1 kg could comply with the applicable product safety Directive and shall have limited performance to assure flight below 50m above ground and local operation or alternatively the means to automatically limit the altitude and the airspace they can enter. Operation shall be performed below 50 m above ground.
Proposal 16:  Any drone sold as a consumer product which is heavier than 1 kg could comply with the applicable general product safety Directive and shall have the means to automatically limit the airspace it can enter and the means to allow automatic identification. Drones operating in the ‘limited?drone zones’ shall have active identification and up?to?date geo?fencing capability enabled. For any operation over 50 m above ground, the pilot needs to have basic aviation awareness. Any failures, malfunctions, defects or other occurrences that lead to severe injuries to or fatalities of any person need to be reported.
Proposal 17:  Any drone sold as a consumer product which is heavier than 4 kg could comply with the applicable general product safety Directive and shall have the means to automatically limit the airspace it can enter and the means to allow automatic identification. Operation in the ‘limited?drone zones’ is not permitted in the ‘open’ category for drones with a take?off mass above 4 kg. For any operation over 50 m above ground, the pilot needs to have basic aviation awareness.
Any failures, malfunctions, defects or other occurrences that lead to severe injuries to or fatalities of any person need to be reported to the Agency.
Proposal 18: In dedicated areas the operation of drones (or models) can be performed in the ‘open’ category according to the conditions and procedures defined by the competent authority
Proposal 19: Tethered aircraft up to a mass of 25 kg or a defined volume for aircraft lighter than air can be operated in the ‘open’ category outside ‘no?drone zones’ below 50 m above ground or water, or in dedicated areas notified to other airspace us
Proposal 20: ‘Specific risk operation’ is any operation with drones which poses more significant aviation risks to persons overflown or which involves sharing the airspace with manned aviation. Each specific aviation risk needs to be analysed and mitigated through a safety risk assessment.
Proposal 21: A safety risk assessment shall be performed by the operator taking into account all the elements that contribute to the risk of the particular operation. For this purpose, the operator shall:
  • provide to the competent NAA all the information required for a  preliminary applicability check of the category of operation;
  • provide to the competent authority a safety risk assessment covering both the drone and the operation, identifying all the risks related to the specific operation, and proposing adequate risk?mitigation measures.
  • compile an appropriate Operations Manual containing all the required information, descriptions, conditions and limitations for the operation, including training and qualification for personnel, maintenance of the drone and its systems, as well as occurrence reporting and oversight of suppliers
Proposal 22: The competent authority of the State be responsible to issue the OA after the review of and agreement with the operator’s safety risk assessment and the Operations Manual in the ‘specific’ category.
Proposal 23: The operation shall be performed according to the limitations and conditions defined in the OA:
  • The operator not carry out specific operations, unless holding a valid operation authorisation.
  • The operator nsure that all involved personnel is sufficiently qualified and familiar with the relevant operation procedures and conditions.
  • Before the initiation of any operation, the operator is responsible to collect the required information on permanent and temporarily limitations and conditions and to comply with any requirement or limitation defined by the competent authority or to request specific authorisation.
Proposal 24: The operation in the ‘specific’ category might be performed with drones or equipment that is certified or otherwise approved. The operation might exceed the operational limitations for the certified equipment when specifically authorised and when the operation ensures application of adequate risk mitigations as identified in the OA.
Proposal 25: Operators may voluntarily make use of suppliers or personnel holding certificates or voluntarily apply for a Remote Operator Certificate (ROC) detailing the means on how responsibilities are shared and having adequate privileges to authorise operations
Proposal 26: Equipment, parts and functionalities might be approved independently from the drone itself and an approval may be granted. The IRs will define the required processes based on the ‘European Technical Standard Order (ETSO)’ process. The process for release and continuing air worthiness oversight needs to be adapted as equipment might not be installed on certified drones. This might cover ground stations or qualified ‘detect and avoid equipment’ installed on drones in the ‘specific’ category.
Proposal 27: The IRs define the organisational requirements for the operator to qualify for a ROC and to obtain adequate privileges in order to authorise/modify its own operations
Proposal 28: Industry and standardisation bodies be requested to provide standard solutions to address the safety risks. The the safety risk assessment process would be simplified
Proposal 29: To operate a drone in the ‘certified’ category, the air worthiness of the aircraft and its compliance with environmental standards shall be ensured in the same way as it is done today for manned aviation.
Proposal 30: The organisations responsible for the design, production, maintenance and training shall demonstrate their capability by holding respectively design, production, maintenance and training organisation approvals when required due to the risk posed by the operation.
Proposal 31: The pilot be licensed and the operator shall hold a ROC.
Proposal 32: CSs will be adopted by the Agency covering a broad range of different drone configurations, defining the safety objectives. They will be supplemented by industry standards endorsed by the Agency to allow for fast reaction on developments and might also cover operational and licensing aspects.
Proposal 33: It is currently not foreseen to separate the IRs for the ‘certified’ category from the IRs for manned aviation

Meanwhile, to show how the technology is moving on apace Wired reports on the mounting of affordable 4K 12MP steadicam that can mounted on a drone in  Our Favorite Drone Maker Now Has an Affordable 4K Steadicam which provides:

Not content with simply making one of the most popular consumer drones in the world, DJI has expanded its lineup to include handheld cameras rigs. Well, one rig, anyway. The company has announced the Osmo, a 4K-shooting, 12MP contraption that includes a three-axis gimbal designed to smooth away any shaky-handed cinematography.

The Osmo looks almost like a handheld microphone; it comprises a one-hand grip, a smartphone mount, and the camera itself, a detached cyborg eyeball, which can be swapped out for any of DJI’s drone-friendly Zenmuse line of cameras. That synergy makes sense; the same stabilization you need to get drone footage that’s not a stuttery mess applies to terrestrial steadying as well. Here’s some Osmo-shot footage, though keep in mind that, like all photo and video demos, it’s shot by professionals under optimal conditions.

As shipped, it’s a minimally intrusive design. Controls are built into the grip itself, giving you the ability to fine-tune shooting angles and start or stop photographing or recording without any extraneous movement. There are panorama, timelapse, and slow motion (120 fps up to 180p) modes as well. As for that smartphone mount, you’ll need to use your handset as a display, since there’s not one onboard. You can further trick out Osmo with optional accessories like a tripod, bike mount, or extension arm. And yes, there is a selfie mode.

Not everyone needs a steadicam in their lives, or 4K video for that matter. Those that do have had plenty of options already. But at $650 (you can also buy the handle without the camera, if you have a Zenmuse product already), Osmo manages to balance function and affordability in a way that’s hard to find. It’s available for preorder today, and ships October 15.

One Response to “European Aviation Safety Agency releases proposals for regulating drones in Europe”

  1. European Aviation Safety Agency releases proposals for regulating drones in Europe | Australian Law Blogs

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