How do I determine I fall under the ‘specific’ category?
A drone can be operated in the ‘in the ‘specific’ or the ‘certified’ category, when it does not meet the requirements laid out under the open category. See FAQ – How do I determine I fall under the ‘open’ category?
Regulatory reference: Article 4 and Article 20 of EU Regulation 2019/947; Annex part A and Article 5(1) of EU Regulation 2019/947, Parts 1 to 5 Annex of EU Regulation 2019/945.
Are all remote pilots in the 'specific' category required to train to fly a drone?
For operation falling under the ‘specific’ category, the training depends on the operation you intend to conduct. So unless the operation falls into a standard scenario, after the risk assessment, you will need to propose a possible training course to the National Aviation Authority. The authority will, in each case, evaluate the adequacy of the training, and if they confirm it in the operational authorisation, the training will become the required training.
If your operation falls into a standard scenario, the remote pilot must:
- hold a certificate of remote pilot theoretical knowledge for operation under standard scenarios;
- hold an accreditation of completion of the STS-x practical skill training.
To do so, the remote pilot must complete and successfully pass the A1/A3 online training course.
Both the certificate and accreditation can be issued by a competent authority or an entity chosen to do so.
Regulatory reference: UAS.SPEC.050 (d) and UAS.SPEC.060 (b) of EU Regulation 2019/947
For standard scenarios, the National Aviation Authority is responsible for issuing the certificates. A certificate for Remote Pilot competency is valid for 5 years. If the revalidation is conducted before the certificate expires, the remote pilot may attend a seminar provided by the National Aviation Authority or by an entity recognised by it, otherwise competencies need to be re-demonstrated.
For operations in the ‘specific’ category that are not covered by standard scenarios, the training will be defined in the operational authorisation provided by the National Aviation Authority.
Regulatory reference: Article 12 of EU Regulation 2019/947 and UAS.STS-01.020
I fall under the ‘Specific’ category, so how do I obtain an Operational Authorisation?
Firstly check whether your operation can be accommodated within a Standard Scenario. If it can, you do not need an authorisation, but you do need to submit a declaration to the National Aviation Authority. A standard scenario is an operation defined in the Appendix to the drone regulation (EU Regulation 2019/947). You need to use a drone marked with the appropriate class identification label (5 or 6). After submitting the declaration to the National Aviation Authority, you will receive the confirmation of receipt and completeness from the National Aviation Authority and operate following the limitations of the standard scenario. Otherwise, there are other means to obtain an operational authorisation under the ‘specific’ category, depending on the level of risk the operation poses. The drone operator can apply for:
- An Operational Authorisation by conducting a risk assessment of the intended operationusing a methodology for the risk assessment; one possible method is the SORA (specific operation risk assessment) that you can find as AMC1 to Article 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947. This methodology helps to identify the risk level of the operation and to identify the mitigations and operational safety objectives needed to make the operation safe. When the drone operator believes they have put in place satisfactory measures to ensure the safety of the operation, they send all the information to the National Aviation Authority and apply for an operational authorisation. When the National Aviation Authority is satisfied, it provides the drone operator with the authorisation, and the operation can be started.
- An Operation Authorisation through a predefined risk assessment’ (PDRA)as a simplification of the drone operator conducting a risk assessment. For those operations that will be the most common in Europe, EASA will carry out the risk assessment and will publish, as an acceptable means of compliance with the drone regulation, the list of the actions that the drone operator needs to put in place in order to conduct the operation safely. An application for an authorisation to the National Aviation Authority is still needed, however, both the drone operator and the National Aviation Authority will benefit from the standardised measures defined in the PDRA. The PDRAs are published by EASA as AMC to Art 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947; more are already under development.
- Light UAS operator certificate (LUC): only legal entities can apply for a LUC, after which the National Aviation Authority may allocate some privileges to the drone operator. Drone operators may ask the National Aviation Authority to assess their organisation to evaluate whether they are capable of assessing the risk of an operation themselves. The requirements to be demonstrated by drone operators are defined in Part C of Regulation (EU) 2019/947. When the National Aviation Authority is satisfied, they will issue a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) and they will allocate privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may be one or more of the following:
- To conduct operations covered by standard scenarios without submitting a declaration;
- To self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a PDRA without applying for an authorisation.
- To self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation.
Regulatory reference: article 12 of EU regulation 2012/947.
What are my responsibilities as a drone Operator in the 'specific' category?
As a drone operator flying in the ’specific’ category, you must:
- ensure that the drone displays the drone operator registration number (e.g. with a sticker) and the same number is uploaded into the remote identification;
- develop operational procedures (written procedures are required when the drone operator employs more than one remote pilot, otherwise it is enough that the remote pilot follows the procedures defined by the manufacturer in the user’s manual);
- ensure that there is no radio interference that may affect the command and control link of the drone;
- designate a remote pilot for each operation; it is important that it is clear who is the person responsible for each flight;
- ensure that the remote pilot and the personnel supporting the operation of the drone are familiar with the user’s manual and with the drone operator’s procedures, have appropriate competency, and are provided with the relevant information concerning any geographical zones published by the MS;
- ensure that the maps in the geo-awareness system of the drone are up to date, unless you are flying in a geographical zone where geo-awareness is not required;
- ensure that, unless you are using a privately built drone, it has a declaration in conformity to the CE class mark and its class label (0 to 4) is affixed to the aircraft; and
- ensure that the persons involved in the operation of the drone is aware of the risks involved in operations under subcategories A2 and A3.
- carry out each operation within the limitations defined in the declaration or operational authorisation;
- develop procedures to ensure the security of the operation;
- establish measures against unlawful interference and unauthorised access;
- ensure that the privacy of people is protected, and there may also be a requirement to conduct a data protection impact assessment if requested by the National Aviation Authority;
- provide the remote pilot with guidelines on how to minimise the nuisance caused by noise and emissions;
- ensure that the pilot conducting the operation and the other personnel in charge comply with all the conditions required for operating in the ’specific’ category;
- keep a record of the drone operation; and
- maintain the drone in a suitable condition to ensure safe operation.
Regulatory reference: UAS.SPEC.050 of EU Regulation 2019/947
What are my responsibilities as a Remote Pilot in the 'specific' category?
As a remote pilot you must: Before the flight:
- complete the training and examination required for the type of operation you will be involved in;
- have relevant up-to-date information about any geographical zones published by the National Aviation Authority;
- check for obstacles and the presence of people not involved in the operation of the drone (unless operating in the A1 subcategory with a privately built drone or a drone with a CE class 0 mark;
- check that the drone is fit for flight and the operation it will undertake;
- check that the remote control works properly (if applicable); and
- ensure that the weight of the drone is within the limit of the category or subcategory of the intended operation.
- ensure that the operating environment is compatible with the authorised or declared limitations, and
- ensure that Air Traffic Services , airspace users and other stakeholders are informed of the intended operation.
- During the flight in the ’specific’ category, you must:
- not operate the drone when you are unfit either due to the consumption of psychoactive/ hallucinogenic substances or alcohol, or unfit due to sickness;
- keep the drone at a distance such that you can clearly see it; you may use a UA observer to scan the airspace when you want to fly in first person view. UA observers must be located alongside you such that they can immediately communicate in case they see an obstacle and give you instructions such as to immediately land the drone.
- if you or the UA observer see a manned aircraft, give way to it, and make sure you are far away from it. If you have any doubt about the operation, you should land the drone immediately.
- comply with the limitation of the geographical zones;
- operate the drone according to the manufacturer’s user manual;
- comply with the operator’s procedure; and
- do not operate where an emergency response service is ongoing (e.g. in the case of an accident, keep away from that location since an emergency helicopter may be required to be used);
- Comply with the authorised or declared limitations.
Regulatory reference: UAS.SPEC.060 of EU Regulation 2019/947
Please Note: For a more comprehensive FAQs guide on the ‘Specific’ category as well as other useful documents please refer at the bottom of the page