EU drone regulations
 

EU drone regulation

The application of the long-awaited EU drone regulation (EU) 2019/947 will begin in Finland according to the transition periods of the regulation on 31 December 2020. These rules will not apply to indoor flights.


Almost all operators and remote pilots will be subject to a registration obligation and an obligation to comply with UAS geographical zones immediately from the date of application of the regulation. Only operators that have a drone without a camera weighing less than 250 grams or a drone that is, according to its CE marking, a toy in accordance with the Toy Safety Act are exempted from the registration obligation.


The contents of the EU drone regulation will be explained more closely in the training material on the basis of which remote pilots can complete an online examination and a supervised additional theoretical knowledge examination. The estimated time of publication of the training material and of the online examination is in October.

 

EU drone regulation in a nutshell

In the Open Category, visual contact is maintained throughout the operations, the operations are limited to a height of less than 120 metres and the mass of the drone is limited to less than 25 kilograms. An operator of the drone must in general register itself and a remote pilot must in general complete at least the online examination.

In subcategory A1, flights with light devices over random people are permitted. In subcategory A2, the use of slightly heavier drones is permitted, but the operations must take place away from people. In subcategory A3, the operations always take place far away from settlements and people. In this case, the operations are also possible with heavier drones. The detailed requirements concerning drones are listed in the table below

Open A1 Open A2 Open A3
CE markings: C0 and C1Maximum weight: 9
00 grams
MaximCE markings: C2um weight: 4 kg CE markings: C2, C3 and C4
Maximum weight: 25 kg
Flights are permitted over random people, but not over crowds Flights are permitted at a safe distance from people Flights are permitted far away from people and settlements
Training requirement:
The remote pilot of a device weighing more than 250 grams must have completed the online examination
Training requirement:
Online examination and supervised additional theoretical knowledge examination
Training requirement:
Online examination

If it is not possible to operate according to the rules of the Open Category, the operations must take place in the Specific Category where the operator of an unmanned aircraft system either operates under a declaration according to the standard scenario published by EASA or applies for an operational authorisation for its own operations from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. When applying for the operational authorisation, the applicant must present the nature of the planned activities, a SORA risk assessment and the means of reducing risks with the help of which the level of risks can be reduced to an acceptable level. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom will publish pre-made risk assessments for certain types of operations which make it easier to apply for an operational authorisation. If the operator cannot operate according to the standard scenario published by EASA or a pre-made risk assessment published by Traficom, it must make a SORA risk assessment of its activities on the basis of which it is possible to apply for an operational authorisation. The training requirements of remote pilots in the Specific Category can be found in separate instructions. A link to these instructions will be added at the end of this page immediately after the instructions have been published.

If the operations involve flights over crowds, the transport of people or the carriage of dangerous goods, the operations must be take place in the Certified Category, for which the preparations are still under way. The standards related to the Certified Category have not been published yet so, in practice, it is not possible to receive an authorisation for this category yet.

Transition periods for different operators

Aerial work operators that have submitted a notification on the use of a remotely piloted aircraft are allowed to continue operating in accordance with chapter 3 of the current national Aviation Regulation OPS M1-32 until 1 January 2022. Any possible exemptions also remain in force in accordance with the period of validity written down on the exemption.

Persons flying drones/model aircrafts in the framework of model aircraft clubs are allowed to continue operating in accordance with chapter 4 of the national Aviation Regulation OPS M1-32 until 1 January 2023. According to the EU drone regulation, this transition period expressly concerns operations conducted in the framework of clubs, so this transition period does not concern persons flying drones/model aircrafts by themselves. In addition to the Aviation Regulation, a person flying a drone/model aircraft in the framework of a club must also comply with the instructions and rules of its own club so that the operations can be considered to be conducted within the framework of the club’s activities.

Persons flying drones/model aircrafts by themselves must comply with the EU drone regulation immediately from the date of its application, from 1 January 2021. As to them, there is no transition period in the EU drone regulation. However, the transition periods for different equipment presented in the next paragraph concern also them.

Transition periods for different equipment

In addition to the above-mentioned transitional provisions for operators, the EU drone regulation contains also transition periods for equipment which can be utilised by all the persons and operators operating within the framework of the EU drone regulation. Persons and operators operating in accordance with the Regulation OPS M1-32 are allowed to comply with the weight limits defined in it during the transition period. The weight limits listed here concern equipment not bearing a CE marking in accordance with the EU drone regulation (EU) 2019/945.

A drone weighing less than 250 grams can be used in accordance with the conditions of the Open A1 Category also after the transition periods. The remote pilot must acquaint itself with the user's manual of the equipment, but completing the online examination is not absolutely necessary although it is recommended.

A drone weighing less than 500 grams can be used in accordance with the conditions of the Open A1 Category until 1 January 2023. The remote pilot must acquaint itself with the user's manual of the equipment, but completing the online examination is not absolutely necessary although it is recommended.

A drone weighing less than 2 kilograms can be used at a horizontal distance of at least 50 metres from people after completing, in addition to the online examination, the supervised additional theoretical knowledge examination.

A drone weighing less than 25 kilograms can be used in accordance with the conditions of the Open A3 Category also after the transition periods. The remote pilot must take the online examination.

 

 
 

 

Page updated 06/10/2020