The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has released the first formal Opinion on the safe operating of small drones in Europe and which will become an important stepping-stone to the building of a wider regulatory framework and a means to keep drone operations safe.
This Opinion will act as a platform on which the European Commission can adopt regulatory proposals later on in the year. The European Commission has already chaired a meeting with EU Member States on February 21.
According to EASA’s Executive Director Patrick Ky, “This regulation will enable the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the European Union, while also respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens, and allowing the drone industry to remain agile, to innovate and continue to grow.”
The EASA has provided an innovative means for the regulation of drone operations where rules are simplified, and focus is mainly on the risks associated with a drone’s operation – for example the risk associated would be greater flying the same drone in a built up residential area as opposed to open fields.
The Opinion is also charting new territory where aviation and product legislation are combined: design requirements for small drones (up to 25kg) will be implemented by using the well-known CE (Conformité Européenne) marking for products marketed in Europe. Each drone will be come with a package a consumer information with the “do’s and don’ts” on how to fly a drone without endangering other members of the public.
This Opinion follows a preceding consultation document (Notice of Proposed Amendment – published by EASA in May 2017) and takes into account thousands of comments received from private citizens, industry, operators and national authorities obtained during a four-month public consultation period.