EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said “I am happy to release this Opinion to the European Commission, which is once again the first proposal on this topic to be issued world-wide. With this, we will achieve a harmonised regulatory framework to ensure the safe, sustainable, and secure introduction of VTOL operations”
“This is the last piece of regulation required to enable the launch of VTOL and air taxi services for Innovative Air Mobility,” Ky added. “Once this has passed into law, individual manufacturers and operators will of course need to obtain all the required approvals from various authorities, but the framework rules for these operations will be complete.”
The Opinion introduces a comprehensive set of operational requirements for piloted electric air taxis, spanning the domains of operations, flight crew licensing, rules of the air and air traffic management. The proposed rules also establish criteria and processes for the certification and maintenance of drones.
Once adopted, this Opinion will complement already existing EU regulations and guidance material for operations of unmanned aircraft, specifications for vertiport design, unmanned traffic management known in Europe as U-space, and the certification of VTOL-capable aircraft.
The proposals had initially been published for public comment from June-September 2022.
Opinion No 03/2023
Introduction of a regulatory framework for the operation of drones — Enabling innovative air mobility with MVCA, the initial airworthiness of UAS subject to certification, and the continuing airworthiness of those UAS operated in the 'specific' category
This Opinion puts forward the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework to address new operational and mobility concepts that are based on innovative technologies, like unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability, and foster and promote their acceptance and adoption by European citizens.
The Opinion proposes amendments to existing EU aviation regulations and the establishment of two new ones to address:
- the initial airworthiness of UAS subject to certification in accordance with Article 40 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945;
- the continuing airworthiness of UAS subject to certification and operated in the ‘specific’ category; and
- the operational requirements applicable to manned VTOL-capable aircraft (VCA).
The specific objectives of the proposed amendments are to:
- ensure a high and uniform level of safety for UAS subject to certification and operated in the ‘specific’ category and for operations with manned VCA;
- enable operators to safely operate manned VCA in the single European sky (SES);
- create the conditions for the safe operation of UAS and of manned VCA in the U-space airspace;
- promote innovation and development in the field of innovative air mobility (IAM) while establishing an efficient, proportionate, and well-designed regulatory framework, free of burdensome requirements that could hinder the development of the UAS market;
- harmonise the regulatory framework across the EU Member States by enhancing clarity, filling the gaps, and removing the inconsistencies that are inherent to fragmented regulatory systems;
- foster an operation-centric, proportionate, as well as risk- and performance-based regulatory framework, considering important aspects such as privacy, personal data protection, security, and safety.
The full document can be downloaded from Opinion No 03/2023
About European Union Aviation Safety Agency : The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is the centrepiece of the European Union's strategy for aviation safety. Our mission is to promote and achieve the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation. Based in Cologne, the Agency employs experts and administrators from all over Europe.