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UK IS EASA going beyond it's mandate with new proposals? And other comments of proposals...

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Sorry, this is a bit long... (but hey, it the EU authorities, nothing is short with them ;) :D )

So, I'm following the EU discussions on the drone proposals (see link at the very end, watch if you want to sleep ;) ). In one part of it they are proposing drone classifications, registration and operating limits by weight and automation transmission of Identification data for certain classes. Its a bit difficult to cleanly list the classes (it's the EU after all!), but I'll try to summarise them...

Aircraft classification
C0 or homebuilt with MTOM <250g free flight close to/over people to max height of 50m, no registration, Pilot competence - treated as toys, just read the enclosed leaflet.

C1 as C0 but max height to 120m, register operator. Competence - basic online training

C2 as close as 20m to people. MTOM 4Kg, 16yr-old or supervised, 120M, register op & drone. Competence - online training plus exam/certificate from NQE.

C3 (prebuilt) far from people (not defined) MTOM <25Kg, 16Yr+, Max Height 120m, register Op & Drone. Competence - basic online training

C4/Homebuilt, far from people, MTOM <25Kg, 16yr+, Max height 120m, Register Op & Drone. Competence - basic online training

They assume the lifespan of a drone to be around 1-3 years.

Pilot training:
C0 Read leaflet

C1, 3, 4, Homebuilt
Basic Online training. Renewal every 3 years (sounds like tick box regime).

C2 (for flying as close as 20m to people)
Certificate of competence after passing a theoretical exam in an approved centre. Training similar to C1/3/4. Renewal every 5 years.

They foresee that you can operate a C2 drone outside the C2 requirements (basically more than 20m from people/in the countryside) without needing to hold the c2 operators certification, only the basic online training - "if you give your c2 aircraft to a friend and you are flying in the countryside, the enforcement authority will not come to you to show your friends have the C2 certificate, just the online training."

Some initial problems I can see with their proposals....

They are proposing drone registration every 3 years, to include Manufacturer, Type and serial number (if available). A Registration ID will be provided which should be displayed on the drone. Fair enough, but.... Big problem here for DJI products is that if you send your drone to DJI for repair, DJI may return a refurb unit to you instead of your original drone. You will then have a different serial number to the one registered with the EU, and more importantly, someone else could end up with your serial number - that could lead to you getting a knock on the door from the Gestapo/Stassi (or your friendly local law enforcement :D ) as a result of someone doing something naughty with your old drone which they think you still have....

In another section, E-Identification, they are proposing that Classes 1, 3, 4 and "homebuilt" (which includes "legacy' aircraft after 2021) will require automatic broadcast of e-identifcation data "when required by the zone of operation" "or when equipped with a camera of >5MP, or an audio sensor and a real-time transmission system' - surely for this last item they are overreaching their remit - EASA are tasked with Aviation matters, not data or privacy matters. Data & Privacy is a matter for the EU Data Commissioners and the individual country's data commissioners.

There are discussions still going on which will have other points raised (like insurance - CAA has just raised some points!), I'll try and add them in below as they arise in the live/recorded feed.

Link here ->
)
 
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The EASA members don't remember the regulation for insurance .... FFS!

Hint it's EC785/2004 :D

Sounds like CAA are wanting the EASA to review the requirement for 785/2004 in terms of size weight/"professional drones"/Model Aircraft and with regard to having the war and terrorism clauses being applicable to drones at all!
 
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Sounds like we're going to start hearing more about SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment) regarding risk assessments and standard operations over the next few years. They do love their jargon :D
 
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On the positive side, certification and permissions would be cross-border, ie qualified in one and permitted to operate in one means same applies in all, lessening headaches for operators within Europe (but potentially not the UK ;) :D ).
 
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EASA will only create more headaches for us. The CAA and model community oppose their changes in the UK. They tried to apply drone rules to all model aircraft at the start. Id love to see return to home and geo fencing applied to a Hobkyking foamie.... idiots
 
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At least the CAA attended, as did ARPAS... Spanish CAA guy seemed to have concerns about the remit wrt privacy too.

Hobbyking foamie and RTH... don't they supply them with some string, or an elastic band - oh, sorry, that's then classed as tethered flight isn't it, oh but is that then powered or unpowered.... :D
 
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Just received my certification here in Finland and third party liability insurance. My instructor is helping to write part of the regulations and he said there are a ton of boneheads there that have zero point zero clue about drones, their feature sets, operations, etc... He said many there are simply having knee jerk reactions to people doing stupid things and are throwing out the baby with the bath water. I showed him all of the safety features of the I2 and he was impressed. He had no idea and said that the manufactures should have a seat at the table and come up with a baseline set of safety standards that would remove much of the burden from the pilots. For example, he knew that the I2 had a camera on it (how could you miss it) but not that I could fly about 5km or 6km away, and still see the world around me. I went on to show him ow the RTH feature worked and that for the most part it was a safety feature and that there were ways to configure the flights dependent on the mission. He asked if I would be willing to provide more info and maybe some additional flight examples so that he could pitch these ideas to the clueless. In the end, he said it will get worse before it gets better because of the idiots that fly as they please without regards for rules or common sense.
 
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Yes, sadly, there is an incredible amount of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) being created around "drones".... this is is the sort of tripe that doesn't help and that is being bandied around in a local newspaper. They managed to find a 71 yr old retred pilot to give his whimsical views on a Class A airprox that was reported at 18K ft above moorland at 4pm on 2 Feb this year...

"A suspected drone came within 200ft of an A319 twin-engine jet travelling at 18,000ft, 11 kilometres north of the town, during a flight on February 2. The incident was reported by the UK Airprox Board as one of the most serious it investigates.

The report said: “A moving object/aircraft caught the attention of the captain, heading almost directly overhead the aircraft in the opposite direction. The object/aircraft passed at high speed, very quickly, only being in view for approximately two seconds.

“It passed overhead, in line with engine two (right engine), estimated to be about 200ft above the aircraft.”

The captain initially thought it was a military fast jet but after making enquires realised there was only one aircraft about 20,000ft above their level. The captain was asked by air traffic control if it could have been a drone and replied “yes”.

...

Ex-pilot Tom Vlaming’s career spanned 40 years which included 35 years of commercial flying.

Originally from Amsterdam, the 71-year-old is now retired and living in ****** . He thinks that the growing popularity of drones requires more governance.

He said: “They are dangerous. It is very nice if you can get nice pictures but people forget that it is a lethal tool.

“The more sophisticated equipment has been spotted higher than that which is really scary. Some drones can go up to 30,000 feet.

“It could have definitely had an effect on the plane if it had hit the engine or a wing and caused some damage. 200ft is pretty close. When the engine is running it is the suction that can direct the track of the drone.”

Flying drones at such high altitudes in freezing temperatures is also putting people’s lives at risk, according to Mr Vlaming.

He said: “Unlike drones, aircraft have anti-icing systems which blow hot air to prevent ice from forming on surfaces, such as the leading edge of the wings, which could disturb the lift of the aircraft.

He said: “If the drone ices up the propellers won’t work anymore. It can then drop which is when it becomes dangerous as it could hit another flight. It would puncture a hole in the skin of an aircraft.”

This would cause a loss in cabin pressure and the aircraft would have to drop to a safe altitude.

....

If the battery runs out and the operator is somewhere far away, is the operator still in control if it? You don’t know where it might drop."


So there you have it... we also need to have deicing equipment added to our drones in case we go between 18K ft and 30K ft ;)

This is a similar kind of uninformed, hysterical and luddite attitude to that displayed by the IATA rep that was rambling on at the EASA meeting - some of these people need to get a grip on themselves and reality!

(For the record, no it wasn't me, I didn't fly that day, but I did have an airprox when flying the next day about 20 miles north east... with an unidentified object at around 300ft agl heading around 25 knots in a northerly direction.... it was black and angular and most likely a black bin bag. No I haven't reported it.)

As to the original airprox, the CAA have classified it as an unkown object (AKA UFO ), not a drone. It could have been ET going home, it could have been Harry Potter on his Nimbus 2000, Ron Weasley in his flying car, it could have been a Dementor (they're black and angular ;) ), or maybe something fell off the aircraft 20K ft above them.... or maybe it was a bin bag...
 

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