The European Union published new regulations for recreational and commercial drone users. The rules, which were drafted by the European Aviation Safety Agency, define limits on the distance from the operator at which a drone is permitted to fly and require all drones to be registered and identifiable.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission has postponed the date of application of EU Regulation 2019/947 by 6 months.

This will therefore apply from 31/12/2020 instead of 01/07/2020, as originally planned.

The Implementing Regulation amending EU Regulation 2019/947 regarding the postponement of the dates for the application of certain measures in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic (link is external) was published on June 4th 2020.

The EASA published a general FAQ about the new European regulation (external link).

 

The Belgian Royal Decree (in Dutch and French) for the implementation of commission implementing regulation (EU) 2019/947 European UAS regulation, has been published in the Belgian official Gazette at November 18th. These provisions complement the rules laid down by council regulation (EU) 2019/947 to be determined, and, in particular, with regard to the transfer of the Belgian system to the EU system (see articles 18 and 19).

As a European regulation, this decision will take effect from 31 December, 2020.

The European regulation can be summarized as follows:

  • All UAS operators, i.e. persons wishing to perform drone flights, must first register free of charge with the Directorate-General Aviation of the FPS Mobility and Transport (BCAA); 
  • Remote pilots must be at least 14 years old (excluding persons using a "toy" drone, i.e. a UAS that meets the EU standards applicable to toys) to be in the "open" category under certain conditions can fly. To be a remote pilot in the "specific" category, you must be at least 16 years old;
  • Before flying, remote pilots wishing to fly only in the "open" category must undergo theoretical training and pass a multiple-choice test - all provided online and free of charge by the BCAA; 
  • Operations must be conducted in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 2019/947 and in accordance with the conditions established for the UAS geographic zones, i.e. the airspaces in which the activities of a UAS are prohibited, restricted or subject to a prior flight permit;
  • All operators must have adequate insurance according to the weight of the drone and the operating category (either third party liability insurance or insurance complying with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 21, 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators); 
  • The pilots, at a distance, which is the experience gained in the framework of the system established by the Royal Decree of april 10, 2016, concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles into Belgian airspace, benefit from certain exemptions, within the framework of the programme, which is included in the category of "open".

 

Updated : November 20th, 2020.