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How do I determine I fall under the ‘open’ category and under which Subcategory i can fly?

A drone can be operated in the “Open “category when it:

  • bears one of the  class identification labels 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4; or
  • is privately built and its weight is less than 25 kg; or
  • it is purchased before 1 January 2023, with no  class identification label as above;
  • will not be operated directly over people, unless it bears a  class identification label or is lighter than 250 g. (Please refer to subcategories of operations: A1, A2 and A3 to find out where you can fly with your drone);
  • will be maintained in visual line of sight (VLOS) or the remote pilot will be assisted by a UA observer;
  • is flown at a height of no more than 120 metres;
  • will not carry any dangerous goods and will not drop any material.

Regulatory reference: Article 4 and article 20 of EU Regulation 2019/947; Annex part A and Article 5(1) of EU Regulation 2019/947, Part1 to 5 Annex of EU regulation 2019/945. 

The Subcategory is determined either by:

  • the label showing the  class identification label (0, 1, 2, 3 or 4), affixed to your drone; or
  • the weight of your drone, for a privately built drone or for a drone without  class identification label (called legacy drones);

Caveat: in order to facilitate the transition, drones without class identification labels may fly until 1st of January 2023 according to the requirements defined in article 22 of EU regulation 2019/947 (please refer to  FAQ  on flying without CE Class Markings for additional information).

Applying the instructions above, please download the complete f.a.q document (found at the bottom of the page) and refer to the table to determine the subcategory you must fly under. For instance, drones with CE class 2 marks can be only be flown under subcategory A2 (close to people) or A3 (far from people).

Please consider that your state may publish geographical zones that may restrict the use of your drone.

What are the requirements under the subcategories of the ‘open’ category?

According to the class identification label of the drone or the weight, in the case of privately built drones, they can be operated in different conditions as described below:

Drones bearing a CE class 0 mark or that are privately built and weigh up to 250 g can fly in subcategory A1, which means almost everywhere, except over assemblies of people, or areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority. See https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa ).

Drones bearing a class identification label  1 can also be operated in subcategory A1 with the difference that you are required to minimise flying over uninvolved people.

Drones bearing a class identification label 2  can be operated in subcategory A2, which means in urban environments, however, you are required to keep a safe distance from any uninvolved people. As a rule, this minimum distance should be equal to the height at which the drone is flying (e.g. if you are flying at a height of 30 m, make sure that the closest uninvolved person is at least 30 m from the position where the drone would vertically fall in the event of an incident). In any case, this distance must never be less than 5 m. In addition, you can also fly in the conditions defined for subcategory A3. Finally, you must avoid flying in areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones. (Please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority for additional information. See https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa).

Drones bearing a class identification label 3 or 4 , or that are privately built and weigh up to 25 kg, can be operated in subcategory A3. That means that they can never be operated in urban environments that you need to keep the drone at least 150 m from residential, commercial or industrial areas, and to only operate in areas where no uninvolved people are present in the range where the drone can be operated. In any case, you must avoid flying in areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority for additional information, see https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa)

For the full image of requirements and limitations applicable to different classes of drones and conducted operations, please download the full f.a.q document and refer to the relevant table.

According to the class identification label of the drone or the weight, in the case of privately built drones, they can be operated in different conditions as described below:

Drones bearing a CE class 0 mark or that are privately built and weigh up to 250 g can fly in subcategory A1, which means almost everywhere, except over assemblies of people, or areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority. See https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa ).

Drones bearing a class identification label  1 can also be operated in subcategory A1 with the difference that you are required to minimise flying over uninvolved people.

Drones bearing a class identification label 2  can be operated in subcategory A2, which means in urban environments, however, you are required to keep a safe distance from any uninvolved people. As a rule, this minimum distance should be equal to the height at which the drone is flying (e.g. if you are flying at a height of 30 m, make sure that the closest uninvolved person is at least 30 m from the position where the drone would vertically fall in the event of an incident). In any case, this distance must never be less than 5 m. In addition, you can also fly in the conditions defined for subcategory A3. Finally, you must avoid flying in areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones. (Please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority for additional information. See https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa).

Drones bearing a class identification label 3 or 4 , or that are privately built and weigh up to 25 kg, can be operated in subcategory A3. That means that they can never be operated in urban environments that you need to keep the drone at least 150 m from residential, commercial or industrial areas, and to only operate in areas where no uninvolved people are present in the range where the drone can be operated. In any case, you must avoid flying in areas that the state has forbidden by imposing a restriction on the flight of drones (please consult the website of your National Aviation Authority for additional information, see https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa)

For the full image of requirements and limitations applicable to different classes of drones and conducted operations, please download the full f.a.q and refer to the relevant table.

 

Are all remote pilots required to train to fly a drone in the Open category?

Yes, in general, you need to have training that is proportionate to the category of drone you are going to operate.

Training is not required only if you are using very light drones:

  1. if the drone bears a CE class mark 0, you only must be familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions; or  b. with privately built drones with a weight less than 250g, you are not required to undergo any training.

However, all other remote pilots must undergo the required training.

This means that, in the ‘open’ category, all remote pilots flying in subcategories A1, A2 and A3 are required to:

  1. be familiar with the manufacturer’s manual;
  2. complete an online training course provided by the National Aviation Authority (please consult their website); and
  3. successfully complete an online theoretical knowledge examination (provided at the end of the online training) before they can fly the drone.

The test consists of 40 multiple choice questions testing your knowledge as a pilot.

Once completed the national National Aviation Authority will issue a certificate of completion of the online training. It enables you to fly in the in A1 and A3 subcategories.

Regulatory reference: Annex part A (DRONE.OPEN.020) of EU regulation 2019/947. 

However, if you intend to operate in A2 subcategory, you must in addition to the above:

  1. Complete and declare the completion of self-practical training in order to familiarise yourself with the drone and ensure you reach a good level of control. This must be conducted in an area where you do not pose a risk to other people; and
  2. Undergo an additional theoretical knowledge examination that will be provided in a facility identified by the National Aviation Authority;

The test consists of 30 multiple choice questions testing the pilot’s knowledge on mitigation of ground risks, meteorology and the drone’s flight performance.

On completion, the National Aviation Authority issues a ‘certificate of remote pilot competency’. With this certificate, you can fly in the A2 subcategory.

Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.030 Annex Part A of EU regulation 2019/947.

For the ‘open’ category or standard scenarios, the National Aviation Authority or an entity designated by 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.

Training conducted in one EASA member state will be recognised in all others.

Regulatory reference: DRONE.OPEN.070 (1) of EU regulation 2019/947

What happens to the Remote license (RPL) I already have from the Republic of Cyprus?

All RPL licenses which have already been issued or pending to be issued from the Department of Civil Aviation will be converted to the A2 “Remote Pilot Certificate of Competency” provided you have passed the A1/A3 Online Examination.

For more information please have a look at this post.

What are my responsibilities as a drone Operator in the 'open' category?

As a drone operator flying in the ’open’ 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.

Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.050 under Annex 1 and art.19 (2)

What are my responsibilities as a Remote Pilot in the 'open' 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.

 

During the flight in the ’open’ 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);

Regulatory reference: UAS.OPEN.060 under Annex part A EU regulation 2019/947.

Please Note: For a more comprehensive FAQs guide  for the ‘Open’ category as well as other useful documents please refer at the bottom of the page

'Open' Category FAQ (complete)

A comprehensive guide for the regulation provisions for the Open Category

Συνήθεις Ερωτήσεις "Ανοιχτή" κατηγορία

Ένας περιεκτικός οδηγός για τις κανονιστικές διατάξεις για την Ανοικτή Κατηγορία

UAS Guide for Operators and Remote Pilots

Its is the drone Operator who registers not the drone, except if you are in the Certified category and you register the drone itself

Οδηγός Πιλότων και Φορέων Εκμετάλλευσης ΣμηΕΑ

Ένας περιεκτικός οδηγός για τις κανονιστικές διατάξεις για πιλότους και operator drone

A2 - STS Theoretical Knowledge Syllabus

A2 and Standard Scenario (STS) examinations wil be taken at approved exam centers.

A2 Self-Practical Training Declaration Form

Its is the drone Operator who registers not the drone, except if you are in the Certified category and you register the drone itself

Which drone fits my needs - A simple guide

Depending on where you want to fly and the size of your drone you can determine the class of your drone.

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