The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is proposing rules for the operation of small drones — those weighing less than 150 kg (330 lb) — in an effort to standardize regulations now in place in European Union (EU) member states.
EASA said that the proposal, published Thursday, “provides a framework to safely operate drones while allowing this industry to remain agile, to innovate and continue to grow. The risk posed to people on the ground and to other aircraft, as well as privacy, security and data protection issues created by such drones, are also taken into account.”
The proposal calls for flexibility for EASA member states in defining areas within their borders where the operation of drones — also known by several other terms, including unmanned aircraft systems and remotely piloted aircraft systems — would be prohibited or restricted.
Other provisions provide “special alleviations” for operators of model aircraft, which also are considered drones, “to recognize the good safety records in aero modelling.” The alleviations would include issuing authorization to model aircraft clubs to allow departures from drone regulations, allowing operation of model aircraft in specific zones or allowing model aircraft operations in the “open” (low-risk) category, which does not require advance approval.
EASA will accept public comments on the proposal from May 12 through August 12. A final opinion on the matter will be submitted late in 2017 to the European Commission, EASA said.