Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)

Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 mandates the Agency to regulate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and in particular Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), when used for civil applications and with an operating mass of 150 Kg or more.

Experimental or amateur build RPAS, military and non-military governmental RPAS flights, civil RPAS below 150 Kg as well as model aircraft are regulated by individual Member States of the European Union. Toys, even if capable of flying but not equipped with internal combustion engine, are subject to Directive 2009/48/EC.

Agency is supporting the European Commission to progress a regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft. In December 2015, the Agency published a technical opinion which contains, in its section 4, an update of the roadmap published by the European RPAS Steering Group (ESRG) in 2013.

Agency also supports the work of the ICAO UAS Study Group. So far ICAO has published Circular 328 (2011) on UAS and amended Annexes 2, 7 and 13 to the Chicago Convention to accommodate RPAS intended to be used by international civil aviation. ICAO publications can be purchased through http://store1.icao.int/index.php/.
The Study Group is to now developing an RPAS Manual, whose publication is expected in 2014.

Agency is member of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) which is currently developing recommended requirements for:

  • Licensing of remote pilots;
  • RPAS operations in Visual Line-of-Sight (VLOS) and beyond (BVLOS);
  • Civil RPAS operators and Approved Training Organisations for remote pilots (JARUS-ORG);
  • Certification specifications for light unmanned rotorcraft (CS-LURS) and aeroplanes (CS-LURS) below 600 Kg;
  • Performance requirements for ‘detect and avoid’ to maintain the risk of mid-aid collision below a tolerable level of safety (TLS) and taking into account all actors in the total aviation system;
  • Performance requirements for command and control data link, whether in direct radio line-of-sight (RLOS) or beyond (BRLOS) and in the latter case supported by a Communication Service Provider (COM SP);
  • Safety objectives for airworthiness of RPAS (‘1309’) to minimize the risk of injuries to people on the ground; and
  • Processes for airworthiness.

Three Rulemaking tasks are included in the Rulemaking Programme:

  • RMT.0229,
  • RMT.0230 and
  • RMT.0235.

Agency has already published:

  • Guidance material to support approved Design Organisations (DOA or AP-DOA) to select the appropriate certification specifications (among the ones applicable to manned aviation) from where to build the certification basis for RPAS design (see E.Y013-01));
  • NPA 2012-10 to transpose amendment 43 to ICAO Annex 2 into Standard European Rules of the Air (SERA).

Useful links