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Drones

Latest update 11 November 2019

OVERVIEW

Please see the download section on the top right hand corner of this page to read the overview of this section and scroll down the page to read the latest updates on ERA's activities and position.

CONTACT

For further assistance please contact christopher.mason@eraa.org

UPDATE

Latest update 11/11/19: ERA, along with other European aviation associations, has published a joint paper setting out the principles to support the safe integration of unmanned aircraft (drones) into European airspace.

The ‘We are ALL ONE in the Sky’ initiative brought together representatives from airlines, airports, air navigation services, manufacturing, staff associations and beyond, setting out five key principles that the ‘U-Space Regulation’, currently under development by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Commission, should meet. The principles cover aspects such as the importance of information exchange between all airspace users, the need to ensure the safe integration of drones in the airspace, as opposed to purely segregating them from other users of the airspace and the fundamental importance of ensuring that today’s exceptionally high safety standards are maintained. The paper is available to download from the top right of this page.

09/07/19: The threat of drones to airline operations remains a serious safety issue and high on the agenda for ERA’s safety department. Participating at the Countering Drones Global Conference in London this month, ERA joined a panel of industry experts to discuss this high focus topic. The event featured experts from government, defence, law enforcement and civil aviation organisations with panel discussions zoning in on the unique challenges of countering drones, particularly at airports, where there is a serious threat to both safety and security.

15/04/2019: ERA stands with fellow European aviation stakeholders in a bid to encourage EU regulatory authorities to produce a robust, harmonised, EU-wide regulatory safety framework that enables the safe, secure, efficient and fair integration of drones in the aviation system, and fosters broad public acceptance. There is only one sky and all stakeholders, new and traditional, need to collaborate to keep it safe, secure, efficient and fair. The Drones Helsinki Declaration in 2017 called for simple and performance-based rules for drones, and over the past two years, significant progress has been made in developing and delivering a regulatory framework that will support the safe and sustainable growth of the drone industry. However, in order to facilitate the integration of drones in very low-level airspace (i.e. below 500ft) and preserve the high level of safety in the entire European airspace, ERA, in collaboration with other EU aviation stakeholders jointly call to accelerate the implementation of eight critical measures. Download the joint statement from the downloads section at the top right of this page.

21/12/2018: Events at London’s Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom during December 2018 highlighted only too clearly the threat and disruption that drones can have on the aviation community.  Whereas there can be little argument that drone operations in a regulated and monitored environment can have vast commercial benefits, the use of drones by an individual with little knowledge of airport/airspace infringement and/or disregard to aviation safety in general can cause both major disruption and pose a serious threat to the safety of an aircraft. 

The use of airport geo-fencing systems which triangulate and track the trajectory of a drone will go some way to combating this menace, although further development of this method is required.  In the meantime it is imperative that all governments take the necessary steps to expedite the regulation process of drone operations, both commercial and recreational.  Additionally, at the last meeting of the ERA Air Safety Group in December 2018 it was agreed that Drones will be one of the ‘Top 5’ Critical Safety Concerns that the group will focus during the next two years.

During 2016 the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) created a Task Force (involving aircraft and engine manufacturers) which assessed the risk of collision between RPAS and aircraft, including all relevant occurrences, analysis of existing data and a study of the vulnerabilities of aircraft components.  In June 2016 EASA published a ‘Prototype’ Commission Regulation on unmanned aircraft operations that proposed actual rules providing the necessary clarity, notably on the responsibilities of the Member States and the flexibility offered to them.

Following an inaugural high-level conference in Warsaw during November 2016, the ‘Warsaw Declaration’ was agreed which will establish directive and development of the drone sector within the EU for the future. A copy of the Declaration can be viewed in the downloads section on this page. A second high-level conference will be held in Amsterdam on 5–6 December 2019 that will again discuss the future of drones sharing civil airspace and also examine the availability of airport counter-drone technology.