• Eugene Vinogradov

Good news! New EU operational rules for drones

On 24th May 2019 the European Commission adopted new rules on operations with drones. These rules will apply to both professional and leisure drone operators. They aim to replace existing national rules in EU Member States. Notably, they concern not only safety issues but also include important provisions on mitigating drone-related security risks. The rules contain provisions on operator registration, remote identification and definition of geographical zones. These are seen as means for national authorities to prevent misuse of or unlawful activities with drones. Registrations of drone operators with national authorities will be mandatory from 2020. The rules apply to all drones regardless of their take-off mass, but there is a degree of differentiation in some aspects. Since the rules concern also the market for mass-produced drones, which are the majority and which only have to meet a minimum set of requirements, ie registration and electronic identification, operators of drones with a take-off mass of than 25 kg will be able to fly those without prior permission under conditions. An example of such rules include altitude limitations, eg the drone must not fly higher than 120 meter and that the operator must always keep the drone in his/her visual line of sight. Furthermore, the operator must fly it far away from people. Member States will still be able to define so-called "no-fly zones" where, eg through satellite geo-location, drones will not be allowed to enter. It is expected that such "no-fly zones" will be established over airports and airfields, critical infrastructure, city centres etc. Here is a link to the delegated regulation and the implementing regulation.

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