Drone and aviation safety

At present there are no standard drone laws across the EU. Instead, each EU member country has their own set of UAS regulations.  By 2019 the EU plans to have formulated a uniform set of UAS rules which will include registration of all drones and the ability to remotely identify drones, as part of an air traffic control system for unmanned aircraft that is similar to what currently exists for manned aircraft.

Just this week, European Union member state representatives, the EU commission and EU parliament reached preliminary agreement on the above-mentioned European Aviation Safety Agency law changes. The underpinning themes are safety, security; protection of personal data and the environment.  Drone hardware & software will have to meet certain standards in order to be registerable for use in the EU.

Drone owners in Europe will have to register their drones if they fall into the category deemed ‘dangerous’.  The European Parliament had pushed for these laws to apply to drones weighing 250 grams or more – very easy to determine.  However EU governments did not agree so it was instead agreed that ‘dangerous’ drones are deemed to be those able to transfer energy above 80 joules (based on mass and maximum speed).  This measure of the capacity to cause harm will require independent testing and manufacturer labelling so it’s clear to consumers whether the drone they are considering purchasing will have to be registered or not. However this more complicated method will presumably more accurately assess which drones are most capable of causing accidents and injuries.

Why does having a standard set of EU drone regulations matter to the rest of the world?  Apart from making life much easier for drone-operating travellers from inside and outside the EU, and providing certainty and professional standards for EU drone business owners? Sound drone laws that are conscientiously enforced not only help reduce accidents and near misses, they also:

  • Guard against deteriorating public sentiment
  • Avoid the introduction of more draconian drone operator restrictions
  • Encourage other countries to adopt similar measures, thus improving drone-related safety and security worldwide.

Australia’s laws governing drone operation are in need of work:

It is surprising that CASA has not yet introduced a registration system for all drones being used in Australia that weigh more than 250 grams.  Australia does not have 27 different member countries to seek consensus from.  Australian drone operators who are fully licenced with CASA are subject to restrictions and ongoing scrutiny while the non-professional drone sector is currently operating as a free-for-all. It is a horse that has bolted and only a matter of time before a serious injury or death occurs.

It is vital that there are more incentives for drone operators to become fully licenced (eg by increasing the benefits of drone licencing and/or reducing the huge cost) and that incentives for not gaining a licence are removed.  The current primary incentive for avoiding licencing is to avoid scrutiny.  If all drones weighing over 250 grams had to be registered, then at least it would send a signal to the public that all drones used outdoors were at least traceable back to the owner. This alone would encourage more responsible use.  Logically, registration would occur at the point of sale. Compulsory registration would also provide the perfect opportunity to provide drone owners with vital drone safety information, links to further information sources online and updates via email.

Drone information blog posts

  • I’ve written a number of posts containing information I wish I could have found at the outset. The drone topics below are either not covered by anyone else at all, incompletely or inaccurately.
  • All the information in these posts is included in Rural Drone Academy training, to some degree, but with the addition of many other useful topics, entertaining examples, participant Q & A’s and networking.
  1. Rural Drone Academy workshops & training – want to lift your flying up to another level, solve some drone issues, or you need a hand to gets started? These workshops are useful for all skill levels, ages and backgrounds.
  2. Next workshops plus previous events – upcoming events you can attend. Previous events are also listed, which will give you an idea of the regions covered, themes and the diversity organisations hosting them.
  3. Comments from participants – forthright opinions from people who have attended drone sessions held in four states.
  4. The principles of drone safety & laws – essential reading for every drone pilot. Accompanied by impressive ‘fail’ stories, during Rural Drone Academy training.
  5. How to set up a drone business – how to steam ahead – use time, energy & money to maximum effect – and avoid pitfalls. Included in drone workshops in detail, if applicable to participant interests.
  6. What is the best drone to buy for a beginner?  Objective information to help you decide. The internet is full of drones that have hardly been flown because they didn’t suit the buyer’s purpose. Don’t join them!
  7. What is the best drone to buy? Comprehensive information on the most common consumer models to help drone pilots upgrading or seeking a drone for a specific task.
  8. Is a Crystal Sky screen worth buying?  The pros and cons compared to using phones and tablets as screens, from an objective point of view.

If you are interested in attending Rural Drone Academy training don’t hesitate to contact me by email or ring the business-hours phone number listed below.

PLEASE NOTE: As applies to the rest of this website – the content on this page is protected by copyright.  This post was originally written in 2017.

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