Last week the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released Opinion Number 03/2023 titled, “Introduction of a regulatory framework for the operations drones.” The opinion promotes innovative air mobility involving manned VTOL-capable aircraft, ensuring the initial airworthiness of certified unmanned aircraft systems, and sustaining the airworthiness of such unmanned aircraft systems operating within the ‘specific’ category.
This proposal advocates the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework to address emerging operational and mobility concepts reliant on innovative technologies, notably unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The aim is to encourage and facilitate their acceptance and adoption by European citizens.
The proposal outlines amendments to current EU aviation regulations and the creation of two new regulations to cover the following areas:
- Initial airworthiness of UAS requiring certification under Article 40 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945.
- Continuing airworthiness of UAS requiring certification and operating within the ‘specific’ category.
- Operational requirements applicable to manned VTOL-capable aircraft (VCA).
The specific goals of these proposed amendments include:
- Ensuring a consistently high level of safety for UAS requiring certification and operating within the ‘specific’ category and for operations involving manned VCA.
- Enabling secure operations of manned VCA within the single European sky (SES).
- Creating a conducive environment for the safe operation of UAS and manned VCA within U-space airspace.
- Promoting innovation and advancement in innovative air mobility (IAM) while establishing an efficient, proportional, and well-structured regulatory framework that avoids imposing burdensome requirements that could hinder the UAS market’s growth.
- Standardizing the regulatory framework across EU Member States to enhance clarity, address gaps, and eliminate inconsistencies inherent in fragmented regulatory systems.
- Encouraging a regulatory framework that prioritizes operations is proportionate and based on risk and performance considerations, considering vital aspects like privacy, personal data protection, security, and safety.
For more information, visit EASA Opinion No 03/2023.
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Post Image-Illustration of an electric passenger drone flying in front of a building (Image Credit: envatoelements by iLexx)