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Australian authorities publish their review of aviation safety regulation of drones
12 May 2018

Australian authorities publish their review of aviation safety regulation of drones

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) published their review of aviation safety regulation of drones.

The findings are as follows:

  1. CASA supports mandatory RPA registration in Australia for RPAs weighing more than 250 grams.
  2. CASA should develop a simple online course for recreational and excluded category RPA operators on safe RPA operations, followed by a quiz that has a minimum pass mark.
  3. CASA’s education and training framework around the issue of a remote pilot licence should continue.
  4. CASA should continue to support RPA manufacturers’ efforts to utilise geo-fencing technology to prevent RPA operations in areas where operations are not permitted, including at or near major airports and certain classes of restricted airspace.
  5. CASA should participate where appropriate in international forums to stay abreast of global trends and participate in trials of the technology where feasible.
  6. CASA should work with Airservices Australia to ensure the development of standard data on airspace.
  7. CASA should develop a RPAS roadmap to articulate how to safely integrate RPAs into the Australian airspace system, including content on unmanned traffic management (UMT) systems.

More info:

 

United Kingdom updates aircraft accident investigation regulations

The United Kingdom updated it’s aircraft accident investigation regulations, making it consistent with directly applicable EU law. 

The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 1996 and the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Military Air Accidents at Civil Aerodromes) Regulations 2005 were both revoked and replaced by the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2018.

This new regulation is in line with the EU Regulation 996/2010.

 

EASA publishes the first Opinion on safe drone operations in Europe

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reported that it published the first formal Opinion on safe operations for small drones in Europe. The Opinion will serve as a basis for the European Commission to adopt concrete regulatory proposals later in the year.

The requirements for safe drone operations do not focus on the drone itself, but consider a range of elements such as where the drone is flown (over the sea or over a city centre), who is flying the drone (a child or a professional pilot) or what drone is actually being used (how heavy is the drone or what safety features it does have).

The ‘open’ category of operations’ does not require a prior authorisation by the competent authority, nor a declaration by the operator, before the operation takes place. Safety is ensured through a combination of operational limitations, technical requirements for the machine and the competency of the remote pilot. Examples of operations that fall into this category are filming and taking photographs, infrastructure inspections, and leisure activities in which the remote pilot keeps the unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
The ‘specific’ category of operations requires an authorisation by the competent authority before the operation takes place. Here, safe operations are guaranteed through a system in which the drone operator is required to carry out an operational risk assessment and put in place the resulting mitigation measures to obtain an authorisation to fly the drone. Examples of this category are flights where the operator can no longer see the drone (so-called beyond visual line of sight or BVLOS), flying over populated areas and operations with heavier drones.
The Opinion allows flexibility for the EASA Member States. They will be able to define zones where drone operations will be either prohibited or restricted (for example, to protect sensitive areas), or where certain requirements are alleviated (for example, areas dedicated to model aircraft).

Flight Safety Foundation urges ICAO to accelerate regulation of recreational drones

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) sent a letter to Dr. Fang Liu, ICAO secretary general, urging ICAO to accelerate regulation of recreational drones.

The Foundation is increasingly concerned that uncertificated, untrained recreational drone operators are flying small UAS near airports and manned aircraft, posing a safety risk.

FSF urges “ICAO to accelerate efforts to fashion appropriate Standards and Recommended Practices for drones, along with procedures and guidance material for States. We also urge all States to intensify efforts to develop proportionate and risk-based approaches for drone laws and regulations that ensure the public’s safety, including by direct regulation of recreational drones, with adequate tracking and identification. We encourage States to consider mandating such technologies as geo-fencing, altitude limiters and line-of-sight controls for equipment used by hobbyists.”

Although some civil aviation authorities – including the European Aviation Safety Agency and those in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore and the U.K. – currently regulate all drone operations, others, including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, due to legislative restrictions, have had to limit “hobbyist” regulation to registration.

More information:

 

Avior Airlines added to European black list

The European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, adding Avior Airlines (Venezuela), to the list.

Avior Airlines (certified in Venezuela) is added to the list due to unaddressed safety deficiencies that were detected by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) during the assessment for a third country operator authorisation (TCO).

Two airlines were removed from the list: Mustique Airways of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Aviation Company Urga (Ukraine) because they made sufficient safety improvements since their inclusion to the Air Safety List in May 2017.

Following the update, a total of 178 airlines are banned from EU skies:
172 airlines certified in 16 states, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states.
Six individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

More information:

New powers for U.K. police to address illegal and unsafe use of drones

Police in the United Kingdom are set to be given powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of a new package of legislation. 

The draft Drone Bill will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones where necessary. Officers will also be able to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence.

New measures will also make it mandatory for drone owners to register to improve accountability. And drone operators will be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally. The U.K. government will publish the draft Drone Bill for consultation and introduce secondary legislation amendments in spring 2018. Changes to the Air Navigation Order will mean that that mean:

  • drone users will have to sit safety awareness tests
  • users of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to be registered

The government is also working closely with drone manufacturers to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.

More info:

 

UAE to make geofencing technology mandatory on all drones

The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is further regulating the use of drones in the country.

All drones currently used in the UAE, or being imported, must have a serial number as well as geofencing technology installed. This automatically disables drones when the owner attempts to operate one close to airports for example. Under the new law, drones will be inspected upon import.

Also, drones owned by individuals will not be allowed to have video/photo features. Only those used for research, development and security purposes will be exempt. Commercial companies that use drones for filming have their own regulations to meet.

This stricter regulation follows a number of incidents at Dubai International Airport in 2016.

 

EASA publishes Opinion to address loss of control in-flight at pilot licensing

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published an Opinion proposing amendments to the training requirements for initial pilot licensing to prevent loss of control in flight situations.

The so called “upset prevention and recovery training” (UPRT) requirements aim to make pilots more resilient in coping with unexpected aircraft upset situations. The requirements are based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and recommended practices and have been developed by EASA in consultation with leading industry experts.

The proposed requirements are expected to be adopted by the European Commission by 8 April 2018. It was agreed with the Member States on 28 June 2017 to provide an additional transition period until 8 April 2019 to implement these UPRT provisions.

More information:

 

EASA issues safety recommendations for the transport of Portable Electronic Devices containing lithium batteries

EASA issued safety recommendations for the transport of Portable Electronic Devices containing lithium batteries, in the wake of the U.S. and U.K. ban on equipment like laptops to be carried in the passenger cabin on flights from certain countries.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a Safety Information Bulletin to remind airlines and aircraft operators of important principles for the safe transport of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) containing lithium batteries. These principles should be taken into account by the airlines when they perform their safety risk assessment.

PEDs containing lithium batteries are considered as dangerous goods. When carried by passengers, they should preferably be carried in the passenger cabin. This would enable the crew to react quickly in case an incident involving such PED occurs.

When the carriage of PEDs in the cabin is not allowed, it leads to a significant increase of the number of PEDs in the cargo compartment. Certain precautions should therefore be observed to mitigate the risk of accidental fire in the cargo hold. In particular, PEDs placed in checked baggage must be completely switched off and well protected from accidental activation.

More information:

 

FAA extends flight prohibition for Libyan airspace

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new Notam, extending the flight prohibition for certain U.S. aircraft for the Libyan airspace by another two years.