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Under the new EASA Regulation (EU) 2019/945, a model aircraft is considered to be an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and is given the C4 class mark. This means that the provisions of the EU regulations for drones do not only apply to the classic “drone”, but also to the traditional model aircraft. Below is the extract of the regulation:
“Considering the good level of safety achieved by model aircraft already made available on the market, it is appropriate to create the C4 class of UAS which should not be subject to disproportionate technical requirements for the benefit of model aircraft operators “
For operators of Model Aircraft, there are three options for practicing model flying under the new EU regulations:
- The operation takes place within the framework of “Open” category. Above all, it is important to ensure that the prescribed safety distances are observed and that the Remote Pilot has completed the required online course and online test for A1/A3 Remote Pilot Certificate.
- For operations that cannot take place within the framework of the “Open” category, the operator of the flight model applies for an Operational Authorization under the “Specific” category (e.g. for flights over 120 m or with model aircraft over 25 kg).
- In addition, there is the possibility for model flying clubs, to apply for special permits to operate within the association, under predefined Operational Limitations
The new regulations require ALL model fliers to register as UAS operators, provided they are over 18 years of age, using the online system of the Department of Civil Aviation at www.drones.gov.cy. After registration a unique operator registration number is sent to the operator electronically which he/she has to attach on all model aircraft he/she possesses.
Model fliers are allowed to operate in the Open Category of UAS operations and in the subcategory A1/A3. In such a case, the remote pilot must aquire the A1/A3 certificate using the online system at www.drones.gov.cy.
In the case where ANY one of the “Open” category requirements is violated i.e model aircraft weight is more than 25kgs, intended height of flight is more than 120m, flights are to be performed beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) then the flight is considered to be in the “Specific category” . In such a case, the Operator or the Club/Association has to contact DCAC to request information on how to apply for authorization to operate in the “Specific” category.
According to Article 16 of Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/947, a model club / association may request special operational deviations from the “Open” category, as some of their members have larger aircraft that might require more height or fly at really high speeds. The model club / association can fill an Application Form prepared by DCAC, specifying their requests and submit the club’s operational and security procedures
The DCAC will study their application and invite the President of the club for a meeting to discuss their requests. The DCAC will inform the applicant for their decision and the new deviations / limitations set for their model club / association.
There are cases where individuals will want to apply for an authorization to operate their model aircraft elsewhere, with special conditions. This process is more complicated, as operating outside a controlled airspace of a model airport, involves more risks and an Operational Authorization will be required according to Article 11 of Regulation 2019/947. If the operation does not fall under the Standard Scenarios published by EASA, the Operator will have to carry out and submit a risk assessment (SORA) as well as an Operations Manual and go through a more complicated process.
The DCAC will then go through the application and decide whether the applicant should be granted the Operational Authorizations and under what conditions (where to operate, what hours, for how long, height, etc).
The Model clubs / associations Application form can be found here.
The Model clubs / associations Declaration form can be found here.
For more detailed information please download the Model Clubs/Associations leaflet here.