We continue to add questions and answers to the topic “UAS”. On this occasion we provide clarification on the Specific category. The purpose of this article is to promote the knowledge of the requirements and actions to mitigate the risks of drone operations not covered by the Open category, in compliance with the EU UAS Regulation 2019/947.
1 What is the Specific category?
It is a category introduced by the European UAS regulation (2019/947). It includes all the operations not covered by the Open category. The operations in Specific category present more significant risks to persons overflown than those in Open category and involve sharing the airspace.
2 How can I determine if my drone operation falls under the Specific category?
You need to verify if your operation falls under the Open category according to Article 4 of the EU UAS Regulation 2019/947. If even one of the requirements stated in the Article 4 is not met, your operation falls under the Specific category.
3 Do I need to train to operate in the Specific category?
It depends on the operation:
- If your operation does not fall into a Standard Scenario (STS), you need to follow a training course approved by the National Aviation Authority (NAA).
- Conversely, if your operation falls into an STS you must complete and positively pass an online training course in order to hold a certificate of remote pilot and an accreditation of completion of the STS practical skill training.
4 Is the competency certificate for Specific category of the remote pilot recognised throughout Europe?
Yes, in all the EASA Member States.
5 How long is it valid for?
It 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.
6 What I need to fly my drone in the Specific category?
You need to perform a safety risk assessment identifying mitigation measures and then submit the comprehensive portfolio to the National Aviation Authority in order to obtain the authorisation to fly. One possible method to perform the risk assessment is SORA (Specific Operation Risk Assessment) that you can find as AMC1 to Article 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947. SAMWISE can help you to carry out SORA methodology online, in compliance with the European UAS Regulation 2019/947.
7 Do I need to validate my authorisation in other EASA Member states?
By 31 December 2020, any authorisation given by one EASA Member state will be valid in the rest of Europe.
8 Is there an alternative to the authorisation processes?
Yes. You may ask the National Aviation Authority to evaluate whether your organisation is capable of assessing the risk of an operation and whether it is compliant with the requirements defined in Part C to Commission Implementing Regulation EU 2019/947. In positive case, the NAA issues to the operator the Light UAS operator certificate (LUC), that means the right to self-assess the risk of your operation and self-authorise. EuroUSC Italia having extensive experience in Safety Management Systems (SMS) implementation and evaluation, helps UAS operators in establishing the required processes and procedures to apply for obtaining the LUC. Visit our website for more information.
9 What is a PDRA?
The PDRA (Pre-Defined Risk assessment) is a risk assessment performed and provided by the authority. For those operations that are the most common in Europe, EASA has published, as an acceptable means of compliance with the drone regulation (EU) 2019/947, the list of the actions that the drone operator needs to put in place in order to conduct the operation safely. The PDRAs are published by EASA as AMC to Art 11 to Regulation (EU) 2019/947; more are already under development. Moreover, in each country there are local PDRAs provided by the National Aviation Authority. The NAAs are working in JARUS WG-6 to develop some European PDRAs. An application for an authorisation to the NAA is always needed.
10 If I am a Non-EU citizen, do I need to comply with the requirements of the Specific category?
All UAS operators operating in Europe must comply with the EU UAS Regulation 2019/947, whatever it is his nationality.