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New European standards under preparation will contribute to the safe operation of drones for a wide variety of services, such as parcel delivery in urban environments, railways and power lines inspection or delivery of essential supplies into crisis zones. It will ensure the safe operation of drones particularly in areas that are densely occupied by people and moving or static objects.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published a proposal of airworthiness standards for the certification of the vast majority of light unmanned aircraft. 

The proposed rules work to maximize the commercial benefits of drones against the safety and privacy of citizens and the potential environmental impact.

The Special Condition Light UAS rules will be applicable to unmanned aircraft under 600 Kg 

operated in the specific or certified category in accordance with regulation (EU) 2019 / 947, which enters into force on December 31, 2020. 

Most drones currently under certification in EASA will adopt this certification basis.

Publishing of the proposal for the future certification basis is expected to stimulate new design and certification initiatives for drones and to contribute to the safe integration into populated environments of Beyond Visible Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, where the remote pilot cannot actually see his or her drone.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said: “With large parts of the economy looking at ways to use drones to streamline their operations, it is essential that we have strong rules in place to ensure there is no danger to people or property from drone usage, and that noise levels are acceptable.”

Setting certification standards for drones presents particular challenges. Design concepts vary hugely, technologies develop rapidly and there is a strong economic pressure to bring new products to market quickly, according to uasvision.com.

While committed to ensuring safety, EASA is, therefore, taking a flexible approach by defining certification requirements that are objective and proportionate to the risk of the operation, an approach well suited for such an innovative product segment.