UK CAA launches consultation on proposed extension to legacy and transitional drone categories

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a consultation for drone users on whether the UK should extend the Legacy and Transitional category of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) provisions in the Open category.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operate within one of three categories: Open, Specific or Certified. This consultation primarily impacts Open category operations.

The UK CAA does not believe that the UK has in place the necessary infrastructure to move away from non-class marked UAS, to class marked UAS by 1 January 2023, and so would like to consult on a proposal to extend the Legacy and Transitional period, to allow time for the necessary steps to be taken by Government; some of these include:

  • Establishment of the market surveillance authority
  • Establishment of conformity assessment bodies
  • Creation and adoption of relevant standards

The purpose of this consultation is to gauge stakeholder support for, or against, an extension to the Legacy and Transitional UAS provisions described above, and for how long, and to better understand the impact of making this change, or not.

In March 2022, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the European Union’s decision to extend the applicability dates of both Transitional and Legacy UAS under their own regulatory framework. As the UK is no longer a member of the EU there is no compulsion for the UK to automatically mirror what the EU or EASA does. However, it may be useful to recognise that the EU have responded in this way in the face of similar practical challenges.

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