The European Commission has today proposed to set tough new standards to regulate the operations of civil drones

The European Commission has today proposed to set tough new standards to regulate the operations of civil drones (or "remotely piloted aircraft sytems" – RPAS). The new standards will cover safety, security, privacy, data protection, insurance and liability. The aim is to allow European industry to become a global leader in the market for this emerging technology, while at the same time ensuring that all the necessary safeguards are in place.

Civil drones are increasingly being used in Europe, in countries such as Sweden, France and the UK, in different sectors, but under a fragmented regulatory framework. Basic national safety rules apply, but the rules differ across the EU and a number of key safeguards are not addressed in a coherent way.

The new standards will cover the following areas:

  • Strict EU wide rules on safety authorisations. 
  • Tough controls on privacy and data protection.
  • Controls to ensure security. 
  • A clear framework for liability and insurance.
  • Streamlining R&D and supporting new industry.

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Comment by Gary Mortimer on April 8, 2014 at 10:20am

Hooray for Europe! They are beginning to chuck large sums of money at this which is only a good thing. Tax breaks for business starting up in Bude, a great place to be in the Westcountry and all manner of other things.

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on April 8, 2014 at 11:13am

And here we go with new idiotic rules again... "tough controls on privacy and data protection"...

We *DO* have laws in every European country which prohibit taking photos from the "private areas" of life, regardless whether with drones or with a camera taped to a long stick!

We *DO NOT* need new "drone privacy laws" such as the completely paranoid British law, defining every FPV model as "surveillance aircraft", demanding minimum 50m distance to structures and single persons...

That is yet another example of populism and blind activism of completely unqualified politicians and a political apparatus which - with reason - feels the need to prove the justification of it's own existence, because in reality, 75% of the EU administration is redundant and simply superfluous.

And - I already wrote about that "strict safety authorizations" before...

"EU standards will be based on the principle that civil drones (remotely piloted aircraft) must provide an equivalent level of safety to 'manned' aviation operations. EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, will start developing specific EU-wide standards for remotely piloted aircraft."

Means, airworthiness certificates, operator certificates, pilot licenses, ...

This whole thing has been lobbied and focused by an industry lobby organization which's main interest is to remove all DIY and open source competition from the market, so that e.g. volunteer rescue organizations can't build a $500 plane with a Pixhawk themselves but need to buy a $25.000 certified airframe, pay another $10.000 to an accredited certification institution for the audit to get the operator certificate and then pay another $5000 per pilot for the pilot licenses, not to forget the $xk / year for maintaining the certified airframe.

It is of UTMOST importance that ALL European small operators, voluntary rescue and aid organizations and small and/or open source manufacturers organize and try to influence and counteract this process IMMEDIATELY!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on April 8, 2014 at 11:36am

No not at all, getting the rules in place is important. Just look at the mess in the USA it's going to be at least 2021 before they start according to folks in the know. Just look at CAP 722 its very likely to be what is adopted Europe wide. You can fly a Pixhawk in a home made airframe A OK in the UK just as long as you make a safety case for it. I have a friend who is at EASA for the next two days I will get the run down from him.

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on April 8, 2014 at 12:04pm


I wrote about this a couple of months ago. I do have some "inside" information about what is planned and what is the goal of that lobby organization and as they are yet the only one lobbying, they pretty much made their case.

I agree that getting rules in place is important but not THAT kind of rules. Rules should be made by people who actually know what they are doing and who have some common sense. Not by politicians who don't know anything about the technology and already existing laws and just do what the people who scream loudest (in this case the red and green "drone skeptics") or the people with the biggest lobby-budget tell them.

Another problem is that in politician language, "rule" equals "restriction" or "prohibition". The idea that rules can actually be permissive is completely incompatible with a politician's mind.

Comment by HoverX on April 8, 2014 at 12:31pm

@ Stefan: Being a French citizen, in one of the worst bureaucratic country in the world, I can testimony that this is going to generate more troubles than benefits for the DIYers!

Comment by Jesus A on April 8, 2014 at 1:56pm

I agree absolutely with Stefan!

You are totally right Stefan. I have just created a company (my first one) around my biggest passion (UAVs) and it seems it will not last a single flight.

Only big actors capable of paying big amounts of money for certification and accreditation will operate.

I am really skeptical about this legislation.

I work for Airbus Military and see every day how much it cost to "certificate" any silly piece of equipment in order to mark it as "flyable". If the requirements to UAVs comes anything close to that (when I say close I mean even many fractions of it).... then we are out  

Comment by Project Nadar on April 8, 2014 at 2:24pm

That is some really really bad news... If Stefan has it right then DIY community is at stake. I would seriously prefer to turn alcohol into illegal product rather having things take this route. 

Comment by Toby Mills on April 8, 2014 at 2:49pm

Yes, I'm afraid that stefan is right, these regulations have little to do with safety and everything to do with incorporating the industry. Hopefully they leave the hobbyist alone, but it is becoming such a big market now that the commercial manufacturers would be feeling very threatened by low cost open source projects that offer more functionality and redundancy.

When that happens, all they can do is play the certification and training cards which are difficult for an open source community to deliver.

Comment by Tommy Larsen on April 8, 2014 at 10:28pm

I'm so happy to be outside EU, living in Norway :-)

I  Love my country and today is a historical date for us as well.

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on April 8, 2014 at 11:02pm

A taste of things to come for small operators and hobbyists:

Ground course, theory and exam: GBP 800 (EUR 971, USD 1340)

Operational assessment & flight operations exam: GBP 550 (EUR 668, USD 921)

Assurance of airworthiness, Self-Build from kit or ARTF or own sourced components: GBP 1900 (EUR 2307, USD 3182)

That's from EuroUSC, one of those companies specialized on those wonderful new rules.

Guys WAKE UP! That's NOT about safety or sensible regulation! That's about politicians trying to show that they do something and about big business. Nothing more and nothing less!

And that is just the start! Once those rules are actually in effect, prices will rise because people don't have a choice but pay them.


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