ICAO RPAS panel approves Annex 6 Part IV setting rules for safe international RPAS flights

ICAO’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Panel (RPASP) has approved Annex 6 Part IV, establishing key operational rules for safe international RPAS flights. It provides the necessary regulatory provisions to support international RPAS operations in controlled airspace and at controlled aerodromes and is due to become applicable from November 2026.

RPASP developed the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to guide states in setting their national regulations regarding remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). Approximately 15 ICAO panels and other expert groups took part in the consultation process. Eight rounds of coordination were conducted starting in July 2017 and concluding in September 2021, including a detailed review by the Flight Operations Panel (FLTOPSP). Additionally, a comprehensive review was conducted by the RPASP and FLTOPSP Secretariat. This effort was completed in October 2019.

The new Annex 6, Part IV August 2022 relating to Operation of Aircraft, Part IV International Operations Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems was agreed in August 2022, with amendments due by February 2023 to the Air Navigation Council, for consideration by the Air Navigation Commission and the Council.

The new Annex 6, Part IV is one component of the regulatory framework under development by ICAO to integrate RPAS into the existing international air navigation system. The process involves SARPs in all 19 Annexes to the Chicago Convention, procedures for air navigation services (PANS) and related guidance material.

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