EU-wide drone regulations: The Specific category explained

With the new legislation, the European Union introduces the Specific category for drone flights.
This category includes drone missions with an increased risk. In this article, you will find out which permits you will need and which regulations will apply to the Specific Category. At the end of this post, we also share some information about the rules for non-EU residents.

This article gives an outlook on the upcoming rules, but not all details for the practical implementation of the EU regulation have been clarified yet. The national authorities have time until the regulations come into force to clarify the open questions. Until then, the article does not claim to be complete. For a better understanding, you should definitely read the overview article on the European drone laws first.

The Specific category describes drone flights with an increased risk for other persons or for air traffic. It includes all common missions that are not covered by the Open category.

In the Specific category, it is not allowed to fly over crowds of people, to transport persons or dangerous goods with a drone. For these special cases, the Certified category was created.

If you wish to fly a drone in the Specific category, this is only permitted after a prior risk assessment. In addition, approval by the competent authority is required. The competent authority is always the authority in the country where you are registered as a drone operator. Registration is mandatory in the Specific category.

The approval of the authority can be obtained in three ways:

  • Approval within the framework of membership in a model aircraft association.
  • Declaration of compliance with standard scenarios: These scenarios will be defined by the authorities.
  • Operating permit: Issued after examination of a risk assessment according to the SORA procedure by the competent authority.

The exact conditions that will apply in this category in the future can only be determined by the ancillary clauses that are defined with the standard scenarios or issued in the operating licenses.

As a drone pilot in the Specific category, a whole range of knowledge is required. It is essential to be familiar with the following topics:

  • Application of operating procedures
  • Aviation communication
  • Mastering the flight path and automation
  • Leadership, teamwork, and self-management
  • Problem-solving and decision making
  • Position detection
  • Coping with the workload
  • Coordination and delivery
  • Explain procedure for cross-border use
  • Registration obligation

In addition, however, the authorities may demand further skills that a drone pilot must be able to master.

Information for non-EU residents

If you are already registered in a EU member state, you can operate in the Specific category by submitting a declaration for standard scenarios or apply for a permit by the competent authority. If you want to operate in a country other than the one you are registered, you will have to get approval this one also. For standard scenarios, you must send a copy of your decllaration and a copy of the confirmation of receipt and completeness from the country of registration to the Civil Aviation Authority where you want to fly. For non-standard scenarios, you need a copy of the operational authorization from the country of registration and the location of the intended operation. Send these to the authority in the country where you want to fly.

Are there any questions left unanswered? Then write to us in the comments and we will try to help you as much as possible.

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