EASA's Rules for Drone Operators Level Playing Field

 - June 11, 2019, 5:34 PM

New rules from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) give recreational and commercial drone operators until June 2020 to start complying with the requirements. Published on Tuesday, the new rules are intended to help protect the safety and the privacy of EU citizens while enabling the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the EU.

“The common rules will help drone operators, whether professional or recreational, to have a clear understanding of what is allowed or not,” EASA said. “At the same time, it enables them to operate across borders.” Once drone operators have received authorization in the state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the EU. “This means that they can operate their drones seamlessly when traveling across the EU or when developing a business involving drones around Europe.”

Technical and operational requirements are covered in the rules. For example, new drones will have to be individually identifiable, allowing the authorities to trace a particular drone if necessary. Regulators said this will help to better prevent events similar to those that happened late last year at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.

They also cover each operation type, from those not requiring prior authorization to those involving certified aircraft and operators, as well as minimum remote pilot training requirements. The new rules replace existing national rules in EU member states.

EASA will soon publish guidance material and a proposal for two “standard scenarios” to assist drone operators to comply with the rules. Toward the end of the year, the agency is scheduled to make a proposal to the European Commission for regulations to enable “complex drone operations with a high degree of automation.”