Information & Help
- EASA has published two regulations governing the use of drones, namely Commission Delegated Regulation (EU)2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU)2019/947.
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU)2019/947 became applicable on 31st December 2020 in all EASA Member States.
- A summary of the above mentioned regulations may be found here.
- EASA has also printed FAQs to assist drone users with any questions they may have; these are available on: https://www.easa.europa.eu/the-agency/faqs/drones-uas.
- For guidance on use of the IDRONECT portal, please refer to the user guide.
Taken from Easas Open Category - Civil Drones
The open category is the home for most leisure drones activity and low risk commercial activity. As a drone operator or remote pilot, it is important that you know how to fly your drone both safely and legally. As of December 31, 2020, you will need to comply with the new European drone rules. This is the information you need to enjoy flying your drone in a way that does not pose a risk to any other aircraft or people. This information will be valid wherever you live or fly in Europe.
The open category is itself subdivided in three sub-categories A1, A2, A3 -- which may be summarised as follows:
A1: fly over people but not over assemblies of people;
A2: fly close to people;
A3: fly far from people.
Each sub-category comes with its own sets of requirements. Therefore, in the open category, it is important to identify the sub-category of operation your activities will fall under, to determine which rules apply to you and the type of training you need to take. Start by identifying the type of drone you have in your possession by checking the class identification label (C0, C1, C2, C3, C4) if it is a new generation of drone (we expect this information to be available from 2022) or alternatively by checking its weight. The table below will give you an overview of the rules that apply to a class of drone. However, we encourage you also to consult the FAQ general provision and FAQ open category for more details. These FAQs will take you through all the steps you need to take to be fully compliant and will help you understand the rules that will apply to you.
Since drones which are complaint with the EU regulation and bear a class identification label are expected to be available on the market only later, drones without a class identification label can be used as described in the below table, until January 1, 2023.
Privately built means that you built the drone for your personal use.
Once drones with a class identification label from C0 to C4 are available on the market, you can operate them as described in the table below:
If after January 1, 2023 you have a drone purchased before that date, you will still be able use it in subcategory A1 if its weight is up to 250g and in subcategory A3 if its weight is up to 25kg.
Further information is available here.
Taken from Easas Open Category Civil Drones
The specific category caters for riskier operations not covered under the open category. To operate in this category, you, as drone operator, need an operational authorisation from the National Aviation Authority where they are registered, unless the operation is covered by a Standard Scenario.
Standard Scenario (STS) is a predefined operation,\ described in an appendix to EU regulation 2019/947. To date two STSs have been published, STS 1 and STS 2, and they require use of a drone with class identification label C5 or C6 respectively. If the operation falls under the STS and your drone bears this class identification label you are allowed to send a declaration to the NAA where you are registered and just wait for the confirmation of completeness and receipt.
If your operation is not covered by a STS and does not fall in the open category, then you need to have an operational authorisation before starting the operation. This provides flexibility and caters for the many types of operations Two alternative approaches are provided for:
Risk assessment of intended operation : You as drone operator are required to conduct a risk assessment of the intended operation by using the methodology known as SORA (see AMC1 to Article 11 to Regulation 2019/947), or an equivalent methodology accepted by the NAA, and submit the risk assessment and all identified means to mitigate the risk and comply with the operational safety objectives to the NAA. If the NAA is satisfied with the information you provided, it NAA will issue an operation authorisation.
A predefined risk assessment (PDRA) : this is a form of simplification for the UAS operators. EASA publishes PDRA as AMC to the UAS regulation. For a list of PDRAs published so far, please refer to GM1 to Article 11 to Regulation 2019/947 . It is EASAs intention to publish several PDRAs catering for the most common operations in Europe in the coming years. If the operation you intend to conduct is covered by one of the published PDRAs, instead of conducting a full risk assessment you can follow the instruction in the PDRA and prepare the documentation in support of the application to be submitted to the NAA accordingly.
The Regulation offers also another alternative: the Light UAS operator certificate (LUC) . You as UAS operator may decide to ask the NAA to assess your organisation and show compliance with the requirements defined in subpart C to Regulation 2019/947. The NAA may, in varying degree, grant you the privilege to self-assess the risk of its operation and self-authorise it.
We encourage you to consult the FAQ dedicated to the specific category. It will take you through all the steps you need take to be fully compliant. It will also help you understand the rules that will apply to you.
Further info is available here.
- The Implementing Regulation mandates the registration of UAS Operators i.e. owners of the drone.
- The only cases where registration of the UAS operator is not required are:
- If the drone is labelled as a toy i.e. (toy directive 2009/48/EC)
- If the drone weighs less than 250g and is not equipped with a recording device such as a camera or microphone
- Registration is done on tmcad.idronect.com, to obtain a UAS Operator Registration Number together with a UAS Operator Certificate.
- The UAS Operator Registration Number or corresponding QR-code should be printed and affixed to the drones owned by the Drone Operator.
- It should be noted that Law Enforcement Officers may conduct checks and ask the Drone Operator to demonstrate that they hold a valid UAS Operator Registration Number and that it is affixed to the drone; and any breaches will incur a penalty.
- Registration is renewable annually against a fee of 25.
Remote Pilot Licensing
- The Implementing Regulation requires the licensing of remote pilots, for drones of classes C1-C4.
- This requires completing online training as specified here, followed by an online multiple choice test which is done at TM-CAD offices in Lija.
- Upon passing the test, the candidate is presented with a remote pilot certificate of competency (license) including a remote pilot number.
- Remote pilot licenses are renewable every 5 years.
- All drone operators operating their drone in Malta need to have a valid third party insurance, irrespective of the weight of the drone, and/or the type of operation (recreational or commercial).
- This is due to the type of airspace in Malta, all of it being controlled.
- Any valid insurance from any insurance provider is acceptable.
- Flight requests should be submitted online at tmcad.idronect.com, specifying the flight parameters including date, time, location, drone etc. This system allows you to see the weather forecast, flight zones which are restricted, integrate NOTAMs, etc.
- Flights which are low risk and comply with certain pre-defined parameters are authorised automatically, so the Authorisation Form can be downloaded and/or printed immediately.
- Such flights do not exceed the maximum altitude of 60m, do not infringe any no-fly-zones indicated on the map, and are not carried out before half an hour before sunrise and after half an hour after sunset.
- Flights which are not authorised automatically may require a risk assessment to be uploaded together with the flight submission.
- It should also be noted that Law Enforcement Officers may also conduct checks to see that drone flights are being conducted as per the parameters in the Authorisation Form, and any breaches of the parameters may also incur a penalty.
- In the case of model aircraft, if the model aircraft club/association has an authorization from TM-CAD, then the club may register itself and all its members will be associated with that registration.
- Otherwise, members of the club are required to register themselves individually on tmcad.idronect.com.
- If the model aircraft flights will only be conducted within the Ta Qali/Ħal Far bubble, for which the club members are already insured, then there is no need for additional insurance. On the other hand, a valid third party insurance will be required for any model aircraft flights outside of these bubble.
Drone Racing and Flying Drones with Goggles (FPV)
- EASA regulations do not distinguish between FPV drones and normal drones for the purposes of registration.
- FPV flights may be conducted in the open category without keeping direct eye contact with the drone, provided that the remote pilot is accompanied by a UA observer who keeps direct visual contact with the drone, and who will immediately communicate with the remote pilot to take action accordingly if required. (Article 4(d) of EU Regulation 2019/947)
- Normally drone races are organised by clubs and associations, which may hold operational authorisations from the NAA covering the organisation of such events.
- Drone races not within a club or association and with no spectators (uninvolved persons) fall under the open category and can operate under subcategory A3.
- If there are spectators, the operation falls into the specific category and an authorisation from the National Aviation Authority is required.
Permits are issued on the following conditions:
- Drone operators not holding a valid third party insurance are liable for any damages incurred as a result of their operations.
- All personnel directly involved in the operations are competent to perform their tasks and the UAS will be operated only by remote pilots with the appropriate levels of competency.
- Drone operators and pilots should be aware that the collection of images of identifiable individuals, even inadvertently, when using cameras mounted on small drones, may be subject to the Data Protection Act.
- Drone operators must be aware of their responsibilities regarding operations from private land and any requirements to obtain the appropriate permission before operating from a particular site. In particular, they must ensure that they observe the relevant trespass laws and do not unwittingly commit a trespass whilst conducting a flight.
- Manned Aviation shall have priority over any drone operation.
- Rules of the Air shall also apply with other drones in the vicinity as potentially more than one drone operator may be operating in the same area at the same time.
- A submitted self-declaration or a permit of operation issued by this Authority with the pre-set written conditions are without prejudice to all other applicable laws and regulations and compliance.
- Permit to fly cannot be construed as a permit to film individuals or property without consent or to transport items by drone.
- Drone operators must be reachable on the mobile number provided throughout the drone operation, and must ensure that their mobile phone is charged.
Guidance for conducting the Risk Assessment
Initially a generic overview and scope of the intended operation using a simple overlay of the area (using such a tool like Google maps) including the exact points of launching and landing (Latitude and Longitude) of the drone within this operational area
- Type of drone (or drones) to be used
- Submission of technical data or manual of instructions of each drone to be used
- Submission of any flight safety programmes or operations manual that the operator may have
- Submission of any previous authorisations from any other civil aviation authority or exemptions (if available)
- Submission of details of the operator (company) and proficiency (experience) of the drone pilots
- Copy of the original signed insurance document for third party liability covering the scope and complexity of the requested operation covering the specific geographical areas/limits for such operation
- Submission of a risk assessment identifying hazards and the mitigations to be put in place on how to protect aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and property.
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