Member states approve new EU-wide EASA drone operating rules

European Union member states have unanimously approved the first EU-wide, common regulations for drone operations.  The draft regulations have been drawn up by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and will now be sent to the European Parliament and the European Council for final approval. If the regulations are approved they could become legally binding in the next few months.

According to EASA:

“On 28 February 2019 the EASA Committee has given its positive vote to the European Commission’s proposal for an Implementing Act regulating the operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the open and specific categories (see box). The Delegated act which contains the technical requirements for UAS including the requirements for the CE marking of the UAS in the open category is expected to be adopted by the Commission at the latest on 15 March 2019. Thereafter it will be sent then to European Council and European Parliament for their two months scrutiny period.

“EASA expects the publication of the delegated act in Q2 2019.

“In parallel, EASA is working on the next steps that will enable safe operations of UAS and the integration of these new airspace users into the airspace:

  • Complementing the above mentioned regulations with Alternative Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM): Executive Director’s Decision is expected in Q2 2019
  • EASA’s Opinion with two standards scenarios declarative which will be an appendix to the Implementing Act: EASA’s Opinion expected in Q4 2019
  • EASA’s Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) for the UAS in the Certified Category which will include a comprehensive package addressing all aviation domains (airworthiness, continuing airworthiness, remote pilot license, aircraft operations, ATM/ANS and aerodromes): NPA expected in Q4 2019-beginning 2020.
  • EASA’s Opinion of U-space including a high level framework: Opinion expected by Q4 2019.



Open, specific and certified categories

  • The ‘open’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, does not require a prior authorisation by the competent authority nor a declaration by the UAS operator before the operation takes place;
  • The ‘specific’ category is a category of UAS operation that, considering the risks involved, requires an authorisation by the competent authority before the operation takes place, taking into account the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except for certain standard scenarios where a declaration by the operator is sufficient or when the operator holds a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) with the appropriate privileges.;
  • The ‘certified’ category is a category of UA operation that, considering the risks involved, requires the certification of the UAS, a licensed remote pilot and an operator approved by the competent authority, in order to ensure an appropriate level of safety.


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