Very good news for us EU flyers, even though this is something being worked on for years. This very well though-out (imo) and logically regulated approach is to be discussed this month and applied by December. This means you will be able to travel EU-wide and fly with the same rules, including tourists from abroad. Thanks to EASA for their work. (European Aviation Safety Agency) Drones are no longer refered to as UAVs, rather RPAS (remotely piloted aerial systems) - not airplanes, not helicopters, not vehicles! The most notable part of this regulation is the division into three groups of operation: 3.1 Open category An open category for the operation which can be overseen through the police as for cars for instance, and does not require any authorisation by Aviation Authorities. This group of operations would only be submitted to a minimal aviation regulatory system, concentrating mainly on defining the limits of such a category of operations. The open category is for the very low risk drone operations, therefore without involvement of Aviation Authorities, even for commercial operations. No airworthiness approval is foreseen and there are also no approvals or licenses for operators and pilots. It is designed to allow simple operations and for the small and medium-sized enterprises to gain experience. The risk for other airspace users is mitigated through separation with manned aviation. The drone must be flown: Under direct visual line of sight (VLOS): 500m At an altitude not exceeding 150 m above the ground or water Outside of specified reserved areas (airport, environmental, security) The risk for the people on the ground is mitigated through the use of low energy aircraft and by establishing minimum distances with respect to the people on the ground. Flights above crowds are prohibited, but flights above people not related to the operation in cities or populated areas is allowed. While there is no airworthiness approval required, industry standards could be applied. Drones are already today available on the market with a number of safety features like parachutes and/or mitigation of failures through software and redundancy. In populated areas drones must be compliant with an acceptable Industry Standard (e.g. EN) requiring adequate safety measures such as assistance to the drone operator to respect maximum altitude and/or to remain outside specified reserved areas. In addition, it is prudent to envisage a maximum mass limit for operations in populated areas. This mass would be defined as a result of the stakeholders consultation envisaged in Paragraph 7, Planning. The requirement to comply with an Industry Standard would not be applicable to toys of less than 500g designed to be operated by children of less than 14 years. 3.2 Specific operation category As soon as an operation starts posing more significant aviation risks to persons overflown or involves sharing the airspace, the operation would be placed in a specific category. For these activities, each specific aviation risk would be analysed and mitigation would be agreed by the authorities before the operation can start, based on a safety risk assessment. This would be materialised by the issuance of an authorisation. The specific category should cover operations that do not meet the characteristics of the open category where a certain risk needs to be mitigated by additional operational limitations or higher capability of the involved equipment and personal. The operator should perform a safety risk assessment, identifying mitigation measures, that will be reviewed and approved by the National Aviation Authority . The review of the safety risk assessment by the National Aviation Authority would not be necessary if the operator is approved and has the privilege to approve its own safety risk assessment. In case of operations in non-segregated areas, the operator can only approve its own risk assessment when it has received the agreement of the relevant Air Navigation Service provider. For the specific category an “Operations Authorisation” (OA) will be issued either by the National Aviation Au- thorities (NAA) possibly supported for technical tasks by Qualified Entities(QE) as defined today in the EASA Basic Regulation or by a specifically approved organisation. Such an organisation could be called an accredited body to differentiate from a qualified entity) and would have the possibility to perform legal acts such as issuing the authorization This option would necessitate a change to the EASA Basic Regulation. The OA should clearly specify the specific conditions and limitations for the intended operation and can be issued to authorize a single event or a series of operations under specified conditions. The safety risk assessment has to address airworthiness, operating procedures and environment, competence of involved personnel and organisations as well as airspace issues and could be based on the one being defined by JARUS WG-7, or the FOCA-GALLO (guidance for an Authorisation for Low Level Operation) or equivalent process- es acceptable to EASA either as Industry standards or acceptable means of compliance. The minimum level of safety for airworthiness will be based on the results of the safety risk assessment. It may be defined and demonstrated through compliance to acceptable industry standards. It may be acceptable to compensate certain airworthiness risk factors by operational risk mitigating factors (specific limitations on the operations, special qualifications for the personnel, etc). Conversely, in some cases the outcome of the assess- ment might require a certification of the drone or of specific functions (e.g. safety devices) by the competent authority. Therefore, the issuance of related approvals to equipment suppliers at their request could simplify the operators’ safety risk assessment and enable the operator to extend their scope of operations. The airworthiness assessment is closely linked to the operational environment and procedures; e.g. the opera- tion close to crowds could be acceptable when the vehicle has some additional functionality (e.g. automatic loss of link procedures, impact energy limiting devices) and the operation procedures are adequate. The required competence of involved staff will also be established on the basis of the safety risk assessment. It could range from specific training up to an EASA licence. Standards can be developed for the assessment of pi- lots and staff based on which such staff may demonstrate a basic competence. An operations manual will be required to define the operating procedures, required airworthiness level as well as required competence of involved staff; the type of airspace considering the results of the safety risk assessment. 3.3 Certified category When the aviation risks rise to a level akin to normal manned aviation the operation would be positioned in the category of certified operations. These operations and the aircraft involved therein would be treated in the classic aviation manner. Multiple certificates would be issued as for manned aviation plus some more specific to unmanned aircraft. This is the third pillar of the proposed regulatory frame- work. It would be quite comparable to what is done for piloted aircraft. It may be expected that the competent authorities would be the same as for manned aircraft. These competent authorities could rely as of today on Qualified Entities to perform technical tasks. The need for this third pillar could be debated because one could imagine that the specific category would not have an “upper limit”. However, this may be challenged for several reasons: a fully regulated approach may be necessary for political reasons or convenient for practical reasons. It would be difficult for the public to accept that a drone of the size of say an Airbus A320 or a Boeing 737 is not certified. Another reason is that the regulat- ed approach could limit the number of safety risk assessments to be performed when they address comparable operations. The definition of the limit between specific and certified is still open at this stage but could be based on kinetic energy considerations, type of operations and complexity of the drone notably in terms of autonomy. Pending this criterion is defined, EASA will continue to accept applications for drones of a MTOM above 150kg in accordance with the current scope of EASA activities i.e. they are not used exclusively for ’State’ services the drone has not been designed or modified for research, experimental or scientific purposes A Type Certificate also covering environmental certification, an individual certificate of airworthiness and indi- vidual noise certificate would be issued for each drone. Demonstration of capability for the designer and the manufacturer would take the form of design and production organisation approvals respectively. Combined ap- provals could be envisaged if there is a modification to the EASA Basic Regulation. Certification Specifications (CS) would be adopted to cover different configurations: fixed wing, rotorcraft, airship and powered lift. The CS would include the specifications for the control station and for command and control (C2). One point of debate could be what the certificate of airworthiness would cover: one combination aircraft-control station or a com- bination of one aircraft and multiple control stations. The possibility of an independent approval of a control station could be envisaged. For the small drones entering into that category, consideration would be given to apply some of the ideas proposed for light aircraft in the General Aviation Roadmap (e.g. CS containing only the safety objectives detailed by Industry Standards, Production and Maintenance outside approved organisations, etc...). C2 and Detect and Avoid (D&A) functions could receive an independent approval as one could imagine that the same C2 or D&A system could be installed, of course with adaptations, to different drone Types. CS adopted by EASA or Industry Standards could be used for that independent approval. Maintenance above a predetermined threshold would be performed in approved organisations and the mainte- nance personnel approving release to service would be licenced or otherwise authorised. Pilots would be licenced and the operator would receive an organisation approval. Integration in non-restricted airspace would be subject to a safety assessment of the ATS provider.