French aviation authority sets out U-space structure, anticipates EU 2023 regulatory framework

The French civil aviation authority Direction General de l’Aviation Civil (DGAC) has published information relating to U-space on its website ahead of the European regulatory framework for U-space that comes into force in January 2023.

According to the French authority, since 2012 in France and more widely since 2019 in Europe, drone flights have had a regulatory framework aimed at offering the best conditions for the civil operation of these flying machines while preserving safety. These rules for access to airspace are supplemented by a solution common to all countries of the European Union and called “U-space”. U-space facilitates the use of drones that is safe and protective of the environment and privacy. With entry into force on January 26, 2023, the U-space regulatory framework benefits all operators, service providers, companies, communities and citizens concerned by the use of civilian drones.

The website provides an overview of U-space and sets out three key elements:

  • Airspaces designated U-space by the State and in which the vast majority of aircraft flying there are drones. These spaces can be penetrated by manned aircraft under certain conditions:
  • Standardized digital services called “ U-space services ”. Four of these services are compulsorily provided to UAS operators inside U-space spaces. The providers of these services are called “U-space service providers” (USSP or U-space service provider). They must have a European certificate issued by the national authority of a European State or by the European Union Agency for Aviation Safety (EASA);
  • Common information services (CIS or common information service), forming a basic digital infrastructure for each U-space. They consist of the provision of data allowing the use of U-space services and therefore circulation in U-space (e.g. information on airspace and traffic) for the needs of USSPs but also air navigation service providers, drone operators and all other stakeholders (eg Air Force).
    A single service provider in a U-space area may be designated by the State to provide these CIS services. This type of service provider is called a single CISP (common information service provider). He must also have a European certificate.

Inside U-space, the following four services must be provided by USSPs to UAS operators:

  • Network ID service that enables continuous processing of UAS remote identification, operator registration, and dissemination of information about their operations, including drone and remote pilot positions
  • Geovigilance service , which informs UAS operators of applicable operating conditions in U-space and airspace constraints, including possible changes to the configuration of the space in which it is cleared to fly ( dynamic airspace reconfiguration )
  • UAS Flight Authorization Service , which grants UAS operators flight authorizations based on the operating area’s interference with U-space constraints and other aviation activities; the flight authorization service also provides for the review, or even the suspension, of each authorization according to changes in the conditions of evolution inside a U-space
  • Traffic Information Service , which aims to provide the UAS operator with information about any other discernible air traffic, including manned, that may be operating near the UAS flight’s intended position or route and to allow him to take the necessary measures to avoid any risk of collision

Further details available here

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