EU pushes new rules for drones

The daily Brexit debates continue, but Members of the European Parliament have backed a revision of aviation safety rules to ensure that the future use of drones is safe for everyone across Europe.

Throughout the European Union, manufacturers and operators have existed under different sets of rules and regulations. That is now set to change. A common set of principles for drone use and operation will make sure that everyone adheres to consistent rules – meaning greater safety for the public.

The measures proposed cover all aspects of the industry. Drones will have to be designed to ensure that the public’s safety is not put at risk. This will mean that the weight of unmanned aircraft will be important, and where drones can fly (at what height and distance) will also be thoroughly monitored.

Crucially, drones will require new features that have been discussed and tested but not widely rolled out. This includes automated landing systems to manage situations where an operator loses control or contact with a drone in flight. It will also see collision avoidance systems becoming integral to drone operations.

Coverdrone’s FlySafe App (watch the video, HERE) already offers operators a quick way of planning flights and flying their drones safely. FlySafe is linked to Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM platform and supports commercial UAV pilots.

The onus will be placed on drone operators to be fully aware of all the rules that apply to them. Anyone who flies a UAV must be able to operate the aircraft safely, without putting members of the public or other airspace users at risk.

Although most commercial operators undergo full and thorough flight training, the new rules will mean that more drone operators could be required to complete training ahead of being able to operate a drone.

The rapid evolution of the UAV industry has meant that rules and regulations must change. The numbers of small unmanned aircraft being flown by commercial operators and hobbyists has increased beyond all expectations in recent years.

There have been near-misses, but the changes go much further than simply trying to avoid physical crashes. The EU now seeks to create a safe, transparent and well governed drone industry. Many drones (depending on size and weight) will need to be properly recorded on national registers.

The provisional recommendations were approved by a large majority (558 votes to 71), but the new rules will need to be approved by the EU ministers.

Summary of new EU drone rules:

  • New drone rules agreed to ensure common levels of safety across EU countries
  • Operators of drones of 250g or more are to be registered
  • Drones must not be operated at a height of more than 400ft above the surface
  • Drones restricted to flying within 1km of protected aerodromes
  • Drone designs must ensure they can be operated without putting people at risk
  • Drone operators must be aware of all the rules that apply to them

Coverdrone offers specialist advice and insurance cover to commercial and hobbyist drone operators. For further information please call the team on 01270 448 998.