EASA paves way for package transport by drone
The European Aviation Safety Agency EASA has published new rules and guidelines for drones transporting goods over urban areas. Inspection flights over a greater distance from, for example, power lines and pipelines are also within reach. With the new rules, EASA wants to ensure the safety of such drone operations and eliminate concerns among citizens.
The new rules allow drone operators in the Specific category to perform drone flights over inhabited areas and out of sight of the pilot. Such flights carry a higher risk to the environment. In order to mitigate the risks to people on the ground and other airspace users, operators must be able to demonstrate to follow the correct procedures and use drones that meet strict technical requirements.
The new system of rules enables new uses of drones, such as transporting emergency medical goods and vaccines. All other applications that fly out of sight of the pilot are also covered by the regulatory framework. Think of inspection flights over longer distances.
As part of the regulatory framework, EASA has prepared a number of new predefined risk analyses (PDRAs). These are derived from the previously published European standard scenarios for flights over populated areas or flights out of sight (BVLOS), but without the requirement that the drones in question must have a C5 or C6 label.
Another part of the system of rules concerns the introduction of a European airworthiness certificate for drones. Manufacturers must make the airworthiness of their devices plausible by means of a document that describes what so-called Light UAS must comply with.
“With the publication of these documents, European drone operators can now safely control drones in populated areas,” said Patrick Ky, director of EASA. “It is important to address concerns among European citizens and we are pleased that we now have the necessary regulatory framework to enable industry to go ahead and implement new innovative solutions.”
(cover photo: Akash 1997, CC-BY-SA)