Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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61 unmanned systems inside December 2017/January 2018 investing more heavily into scalable capabilities, further actions at the EU level need to occur rapidly to avoid fall- ing behind. NPA 2017-05 On May 4, 2017 the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released Notice on Proposed Amendment 2107-05 (or the NPA), introducing a regulatory framework for the operation of small drones within the EU. As the public consultation phase on the 5-year rule- making program recently ended, it is time to take a closer look at the upcom- ing changes affecting operators and manufacturers of UAS alike. Some regulatory groundwork had already been done, which EASA picked up in the NPA in order to adequately ad- dress the operational risks of drones. The so-called operation-centric, proportion- ate, risk- and performance-based ap- proach used for the NPA was also used in a number of Member States' regulations. Consequences of an incident with a UAS are highly dependent on the environment where it takes place, hence the operation-centric concept. The risk-based approach, as exempli- fied beforehand by several Member States, is undertaken by categorizing UAS according to MTOM. Due to the rapidly evolving technology, UAS regu- lations follow a performance-based ap- proach by providing the main require- ments in the draft regulation, e.g., when dealing with technical require- ments, by expressing them in terms of functionalities. Following the closing of the public commenting period on the NPA, which started May 12 and ended August 12 this year, EASA reviews all of the roughly 3,600 comments received and will publish them in a Comment Response Document, which is expect- ed soon. Based on those comments an opinion laying down rules concerning unmanned aircraft systems operations will be developed. The opinion will be used by the European Commission as a technical basis to prepare an EU regulation. Yet, the implementation of a new regulation could still stall. As long as the so-called Basic Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 216/2008) re- mains unchanged, the EU lacks com- petence for the regulation of UAS under 150 kg. However, changing the Basic Regulation might not go as smoothly as expected as some Member States may be reluctant to give up their national competence to the EU and the rulemaking task could still fail. Nevertheless, the proposed regula- tion and its changes for the European market are worth looking at. The area of UAS operations is still a relatively young field for regulators and looking across the border for inspiration is important learning in this early learning phase. A Framework for Safety As new technologies usually involve new risks, the main objectives of the new NPA are to provide a framework to ensure a high and uniform level of OLIVER HEINRICH is co-founder and partner with BHO Legal, a boutique law firm based in Cologne, Germany, with focus on aerospace and high- technology projects. Oliver studied German and Anglo-American law at the Universities of Trier and Cologne. He wrote his doctoral thesis at the Institute of Air and Space Law of the University of Cologne on national and European research funding. Prior to working as an attorney, Oliver worked in the contracts department of the German Aerospace Centre, DLR and then as DLR's project manager for the European Satellite Navigation System Galileo at DLR and legal manager for a joint venture of DLR, EADS Astrium (now Airbus DS), T-Systems and a Bavarian bank. THE AREA OF UAS OPERATIONS IS STILL A RELATIVELY YOUNG FIELD FOR REGULATORS AND LOOKING ACROSS THE BORDER FOR INSPIRATION IS IMPORTANT LEARNING IN THIS EARLY LEARNING PHASE.

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