Possibility to declare European standard scenarios postponed by 2 years
time being, it will not be possible to become active in the Specific category based on one of the two European standard scenarios for drone flights within sight over populated area or flights out of sight over sparsely populated area. The European Commission has postponed the introduction of both standard scenarios by two years, because for the time being, there are no drones with a C5 or C6 label available.
Those who want to become active in the Specific category has a number of options. The most accessible way is to work according to so-called European standard scenarios, based on predefined risk analyses and operational procedures. EASA has published two such EU-wide standard scenarios to date: one for drone flights within the pilot’s sight over populated areas (STS 01) and one for BVLOS drone flights over sparsely populated area (STS 02).
The problem, however, is that these European standard scenarios are based on a number of technical standards for drones, which have not yet been established. In this case, it concerns the standards for drones with a C5 or C6 label. Manufacturers are not yet able to market drones with such a label, simply because conformity assessments cannot be carried out yet.
That has now led the European Commission to publish an amendment to the implementing regulation 2019/947. Initially, Member States were intended to be able to process requests for drone operations to become active according to the European standard scenarios on 2 December 2021. That date will be postponed by two years, to December 3, 2023.
To prevent drone operators from jamming as a result, Member States may also take into consideration national drafted standard scenarios two years longer. These will be valid until 2 December 2025 at the latest, which means, in theory, that one may continue to fly drones without C5 or C6-label in the Specific category until that date, as long as the national scenarios meet the requirements set out in the annex to Regulation 2019 /947.
The question now is what this will mean for new operators in the Specific category, and most importantly, for existing drone operators who are still working according to the old national regulations. After all, there are no national standard scenarios on a European model yet, let alone the prospect of a transition for ROC holders. This means that for the time being, one only has the option to submit licence applications based on self-prepared SORAs, which entails a lot of extra costs, time and paperwork.