EASA European regulation proposal

3689668992?profile=originalBeside the US regulation attempts also the EASA has released a proposal for drone regulations, for which the period to make comments has ended on september 29.

More official information here:

The proposed regulatory framework can be downloaded here (PDF, 41 pages):

While the US rules seem to be quite restrictive, complex and drone adverse the EU ruleset at least partially aims to balance better between conflicting interests (freedom for RC hobbyists vs aviation safety vs public privacy).

The ruleset acknowledges the economic importance of drones, their innovation potential, the fragmentation of the industry as well as the diversity how drones are used. At least the agency seems to be willing to not lump together all these things.

Some quotes from the document above:

"Drones need to be treated as new types of aircraft with proportionate rules based on the risk of each operation."

"Innovative and diverse: the drone industry is extremely innovative and the risk that regulations are superseded by new developments will be always present."

"Finally, it should be kept in mind that using drones to inspect buildings or power lines could also improve safety because the consequences of hitting the building or the power line are likely to be material only compared to a manned aircraft where injuries to persons are to be expected."

"This regulatory framework is based on the risk posed by drone operations. Another choice would have been the classic approach used today for manned aircraft."

"Even very small drones can quickly fly high enough, thus posing a severe risk to aviation safety. As mentioned in the Riga Declaration: ‘Drone accidents will happen’. The challenge is now to find the balance and means to ensure appropriate safety while not hampering the market considering that a zero risk approach is not practical."

"Even if certification and licensing conditions were kept as ‘light’ as possible, the traditional manned aviation approach is likely to produce a too heavy approach to drones, especially to the small-drone market. The level of rigour applied to safety management in manned aviation (involving strict controls of aircraft design, production and maintenance; pilots; operations with (in most cases) ex ante licensing and continuous monitoring) is disproportionate to the risk posed by many drone operations."

"Overburdening low-risk operations lead to a climate of indifference or to illegal operations adversely affecting safety."

"Models are normally manually controlled and don’t carry a GPS unit or similar on board; there must be a clear benefit to mandate future drone technology and there is definitely a limit towards simplest, low-risk operations where it is not proportionate to increase costs without benefit (e.g. to install a GPS on a tethered balloon)."

"It is not the intention to create a licence, but merely to develop learning objectives or an e-learning tool."

There are also some quite interesting technical proposals, like low tech registrations comparable to how SIM cards are registered, smartphone based solutions, on-the-fly generated no-fly zones which are published over an open web interface which must be queried by drones before flying, temporary dynamic geo fencing e.g. to "create a safe bubble around a rescue helicopter when landing at the accident site"...

Sooo, what do you think?

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  • @Keith Geary FYI3702167987?profile=original

  • @ Gary, I'll second that, from 4 days ago Drone tested for an hour in UK civil airspace

    15 October 2015 Last updated at 14:40 BST

    The first official trial of a large drone being flown through UK airspace shared by passenger jets has been carried out by air traffic controllers at NATS.

    The Watchkeeper aircraft spent about 60 minutes of its 3.5 hour flight cruising within civil airspace.

    The aim is to allow unmanned aircraft to be used for search and rescue missions, air freight deliveries and environmental monitoring among other uses over the coming years.

  • Developer

    "Overburdening low-risk operations lead to a climate of indifference or to illegal operations adversely affecting safety."

    Words to live by..

  • I would like to se the risk calculator also. Considering their has never been a drone plane collision (maybe one) the math would be interesting. I don't know the stats in the EU but for the USA their is about one death for every 10,000 bird strikes and about 10,000 strikes per year. For comparsion 24,000 people are killed by lightning strike. Buckets kill about 20 a year. Drones have killed one if you include helicopters and that was in the last 5 or 10 years. The risk would be something like 1 is 10000000000000000000(didn't do the math just being dramatic) You will get killed by a drone.  Seems like we are regulating based of fear and hype  and not actual risk.

  • As a Swiss resident, I'd love to see what this risk calculator looks like. As far as I can see FOCA operate a one licence scheme for high risk operations, which includes FPV bizzarely. They also have overly strict FPV rules, which bears no reflection on risk.

  • does it mean that normal RC airplanes will be now limited <50m altitude? that would be the end on the hobby. try to do a loop with a 2.5m wingspan airplane and stay under 50m or fly a sailplane under 50m...nonsense... if the next slice (50->150m) is reserved for commercial drones activity why do the need 100m? they are supposed to be sophisticated enough to control their altitude and are supposed to mainly fly level...?

  • Moderator

    Europe is years ahead of the USA largely because regs started coming in back in 2007, I would caution though about holding out for EASA they take years and member states argue. The UK CAA has already said its going too slowly in Europe and is charging on with firsts for Europe, its seen as a matter of urgency to move RPA tech forward not something that has to be done to contain problems, rather something that has to be down to aid commerce. That said these talks and others represent much more than the USA has achieved to date. 

  • temporary dynamic geo fencing e.g. to "create a safe bubble around a rescue helicopter when landing at the accident site"...

    That's actually a pretty cool idea. Automatic avoidance of manned aircraft. Has this been under consideration for any drone manufacturers this far? Technically I guess it could be done right now (real time data from flightradar24 or similar, transmitted to drone by telemetry link).

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