12 March 2015. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) presented its new regulatory approach for safely operating remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). This marks a significant change in the way aviation safety regulations are developed, becoming proportionate to the risks they aim to address.
Called ‘Concept of Operations’, this new approach foresees safe and proportionate rules for the integration of RPAS into the European civil airspace. It gives flexibility to the new industry to mature and innovate, while at the same time ensures the right level of protection for citizens and goods. For example, the concept defines three RPAS categories, with an ‘open category’ at the lower end. For these drones the intention is to have no specific regulations, with the exception of possibly mandating equipment which would implement ‘no-fly-zones’, like cities or critical sites. The safety rules that will be developed at the European level will be based on this ‘Concept of Operations‘ and on the regulations already adopted in some EU Member States. They will be harmonised at the global level with international standards.