Harmonizing EU-wide regulatory safety framework for drones is essential for the safety of airspace. To support this effort, manned aviation sector parties signed a Joint Statement in September of 2016. The statement also included a list of measures that they recommend to be introduced for all types of drones:
1. Extensive public awareness campaign
The general public, recreational/occasional drone users, as well as commercial clients, have to be aware of the safety risks, duties, liabilities, insurance requirements, responsibilities and third party privacy issues associated with drone operations. This is essential as lack of awareness and negligence might result in the possibility to monitor third parties, or in case of malfunctions, to cause harm to them. Significantly more resources must, therefore, be dedicated to this aspect of drone integration into the airspace.
2. Registration of all drones
If the owner/pilot can be traced, it will encourage compliance with rules & regulations and could also serve as a motivation for training. Registration should occur compulsorily at the time of purchase or resale.
3. Mandatory training and certificate/license
The obligation to obtain a certificate or license – depending on the properties, performance and features of the drone – creates awareness and mandates knowledge of the applicable regulations and restrictions and helps to develop necessary skills. A solid knowledge base is a must, considering the complexity of the national and European airspaces and related aviation regulations. Moreover, a legally required certificate or license also enhances the ability to enforce rules. Operating a drone is thereby reserved for people who have acquired permission to do so. This requirement should be mandatory except for the harmless drones. This category of drones is understood to do no harm to people (e.g. be limited to a maximum weight of 250g and a radius of action of no more than 50 meters from the pilot).
4. Technical Performance Limitations
By means of built-in geo-fencing and altitude/distance restrictions the safety risks concerning critical airspace, terrain, and buildings can be significantly reduced. Anti-collision technologies should also be considered where available. Build-in limitations should compensate for the lack of competence of the drone pilot.
5. In-depth research into the impact of collisions between drones and manned aircraft
While the risks related to bird strikes are well known, it is presently unclear what damage smaller drones could cause to manned aviation. Also, there is little scientific insight and research into which drones would cause no or only limited harm to people on the ground. Hence, there is a need for scientific research and testing, on the basis of which further mitigating measures can be taken or regulation may be made more proportionate.
6. Integration of recreational drones into national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations
The current national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations are mostly inadequate for drone flyers. This is because the classic model aircraft flyers traditionally build in greater safety margins into operation than drone users presently do by operating usually only in areas that are specifically designated for that purpose and exercising a strict self-oversight. The same high safety standards should be applied when integrating the recreational drone users.
7. Increase in the effectiveness of enforcement.
The best rules for drones are useless if they cannot be enforced. To enable national authorities to guarantee the safety of manned aviation and third parties on the ground, enforcers must receive training and technical equipment to be able to monitor regulation compliance.
DroneRules fully supports this effort for safer EU airspace future.
Statement pdf: https://www.eurocockpit.be/sit...
Supported by parties from the field of manned aviation: