On 21 April GLOBHE hosted a webinar on the new EU drone regulations, speaking to industry experts about the changes and what they would mean for drone operators. One of the experts was Yves Morier who worked at EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) for 15 years before retiring in 2019. He had a big part in developing the regulations for the European Union. During the webinar, we asked Yves what he thought were the biggest differences between the new EU rules and the previous national ones.
“When we established the new EU rules we had to take into account member state rules that were different. Some states were pro-drone, while others were perhaps less favorable to drones. The EU rule is comprehensive with the open, specific, and certified categories, where most of the member states were essentially regulating what I would today call the open category.
Another element is perhaps a difference of balance compared to certain national rules. A different balance between the requirements of training and the requirements of the drones. EASA has put a larger emphasis on the regulation of the drones themselves. So for the open category, the drones need to have a CE marking. This was something that didn't exist in many countries up till now.” The CE marking is a way to make sure manufacturers and importers conform to European health, safety, and environmental protection standards. Overall, knowledge about the drone type you’re flying has become more important than before to understand where and how you’re allowed to fly or if your drone even is allowed to fly within the European Union anymore.
There are a lot of things for drone operators to go through in regards to the new regulations, and when in doubt, see EASA’s website for more information on the different categories, drone markings, and more. Even though a lot has changed, the new EU regulations still mean you as a drone operator have to pass an exam just like before, only this time the type of drone you use matters a lot more than before. Knowing the weight and specifications of your drone is essential when planning a flight and is a part of deciding which category a drone flight, or operation, falls under.
First things first, start by registering as either a drone operator and/or drone operator in your specific country; the drone operator being the one registered and in charge of the drone operation and the drone operator being the one who actually flies the UAV.