EASA – European drone regulation
Drones are more and more tools for both work and leisure. The presence in many aspects of daily life therefore made standardization necessary not only at the level of the individual state but at the European level. Without prejudice to the fact that in Italy the rules on remote pilot systems of ENAC are still in force, due to the fact that the European legislation that will come into force on July 1st, it is good to understand the principles that will govern UAS-drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems).
EASA – the European drone regulation – has completely shifted the legislative approach, also trying to simplify bureaucracy and drone operations, while introducing some certainly necessary obligations. The European legislation was defined in 2019, through two specific provisions: one relating to the rules on the use of drones (standard 2019-947 of 24/05/19) and the other relating to the production, sale and requirements of drones (regulation 2019-945 of 12/03/19).
EASA – The basis of the Regulation
The foundations on which European legislation rests are the categories into which operations with drones (and therefore drones) have been divided. The categories introduced are three: Open, Specific and Certified.
In consideration of the broad contents for each of the three categories, this article describes the peculiarities, obligations and implications of the Open category. Other articles to follow will address aspects related to the other two categories. The categories therefore keep in mind related aspects:
- operational risks,
- environment and noise,
A first obligation for everyone – Register the drone
One of the first obligations due to the entry into force of the EASA European regulation and that from 1 July 2020 all drones – even those for leisure time will have to be registered. This obligation is already in place for professional drones.
For how to register your drone, we suggest reading the article “d-flight – register your drone (guide)” from the Blog.
Drones – “Open” category
The main regulatory aspects of the “Open” category are the following:
- includes all drones up to 25kg of MTOW (MTOW – see “Drones – Acronyms and Terms“),
- allows you to fly up to 120 meters above ground and not beyond,
- allows the flight in VLOS (Visual Line of Sight – see “Drones – Acronyms and Terms“),
- the pilot must be at least 16 years old,
- the flight must take place at a distance from people,
- prevented the flight in the no fly zones,
- the operation does not imply the request for authorizations,
- the drone must have CE stamp,
- allows flight in FVP (First Person of View – see “Drones – Acronyms and Terms“), with observer assisting an external
With reference to the CE stamp, the aircraft must have an “additional” stamp, in relation to the class to which they belong, that is:
Drones belonging to the “Open” category must also have:
- geo-awareness function or alarm signaling in relation to proximity situations,
- a remote ID transmission system, for remote identification of the drone.
Subcategories of the Open category
In practice, in the Open category, all low-risk operations (and therefore drones up to a certain MTOW) fall. The “Open” category includes three subcategories A1, A2 and A3 with operational limitations.
In relation to the type of subcategories of belonging, it is therefore possible to fly near people but always in VLOS (Visual Line of Sight – see “Drones – Acronyms and Terms:), but not on gatherings of people.
The table then provides the criteria and limitations for each category, as well as the requirements that must be met.
Three subclasses fall into category A1: private construction vehicles, class C0 and class C1.
So, for example, if you are in class C1 with your drone, the following limitations apply and the following requirements must be met:
- drone weight between 250 gr and 900 gr,
- Inability to fly on uninvolved people, flight on gatherings of people prohibited, with Follow me mode active – max distance from the pilot 50 m.
- Training knowledge of the user manual, having followed the online training course and passed the theoretical exam,
- Age: 16 years old,
- Technical requirements of the drone: user manual, EASA information, max horizontal speed 68 km/h, no sharp edges, selectable altitude limits, mechanical strength, Data Link loss management, sound power level, low battery warning, lights,
- Geo-awareness: active,
- Remote id: required, with unique serial number compliant with ANSI / CTA2063 standard,
- Operator registration: required.
Nella categoria A1 ricadono tre sottoclassi: veicoli di costruzione privata, la classe C0 e la classe C1.
The above information are taken from the table:
and so on.
In category A2, class C2 falls, with drones whose weight is between 900 grs and 4 kg, the limitations and requirements are as follows:
The main aspect of this category is that with the drone it is possible to fly close to people but not above!
Category A3 includes three classes: A3, A4 and private construction. The type of UAV-drones that falls into this series has a take-off weight of between 4 and 25 kg. Drones belonging to this category, strictly, as belonging to the “Open” category can only fly away from people.
The reading of the constraints and requirements is similar to that described in the previous sub categories.
Note that the age limit for piloting set by the Open category is 16 years except for toy drones.
It is also well clear that for people not involved, mentioned several times as a flight restriction in the various subcategories of the “Open” category, it is intended those people who, being nearby, are not involved with flight operations (people who stop or walk in the neighborhood, etc.). therefore the pilot before flying must carefully evaluate the situation and avoid flying on people who are not involved.
In a future article the category “Specific” will be described in terms of limitations and requirements to be observed.
Note about the images: The images showed in the article were created by 4mydrone. The use of the images is exclusively for the purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The highlighted image is made by 4mydrone.
Last Updated on/Ultimo aggiornamento – 13/07/2020