Contributor: Dr. Crenguta Leaua
1. Are UAS considered as “aircraft” in your country?
Yes, UAS are considered as “aircraft” in Romania. They are defined as “aircraft without pilot” by the law (article 3.81 from the Aviation Code). They are also referred to as UAV in secondary legislation. Generally, the law makes distinction between various UAS in accordance with their weight and technical characteristics.
Mainly, there are two UAS classes:
- Class A: UAS with maximum weight when taking off below 25 kg, with the following restrictions:
- UAS with piston engine: total cylindric capacity less or equal with 150 cm³,
- UAS with electrical engine: total power less or equal with 15kW;
- UAS with turbo engine: total power less or equal with 15kW,
- UAS with reactor engine: total traction less or equal with 30daN, with a fraction for traction/weight without fuel less or equal with 1.3;
- UAS with warm air: total mass of gas less or equal with 5 kg,
- UAS with inert gas: structural maximum mass less than 25 kg.
When a UAS class A has several types of propulsion, the limit is established pro-rata with the maximum values above.
- Class B1: any UAS which does not fall under the limitations set forth for class A and which has a weight of less than 150 kg.
2. Which bodies regulate the remotely-piloted and/or unmanned aircraft operations in your country, under what basic laws?
The Ministry of Transportation and the Romanian Civil Aeronautical Authority (“RCAA”).
The basic laws regarding the use of UAS are the Code of civil aviation from 1997, as amended, the Ministry of Transportation Disposal no. 8/2014, the Ministry of Transportation Disposal no. 1338/2016, the Government Decision no. 912/2010, Civil Romanian Aeronautic Regulation “RACR-IA” – “Civil Aircraft Registration” from 25 October 2016, 1st Edition/2016, Regulation (EC) no. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators, Regulation (EC) no. 376/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation.
3. Is there a distinction between “State UAS” and “Private UAS”?
There is a distinction between the state aircraft and private aircraft, in general, but no legal distinction regarding precisely the UAS. The State aircraft are defined at Art. 3 para. 3.8 form Aerial Civil Code, respectively: “state aircraft – the aircraft used by state institutions for services regarding defense, public order, national security and also for custom services”.
4. Is there any distinction between public, leisure and commercial UAS? What regulations are provided for UAS operations in each group?
There is no distinction between these three categories.
5. Is there a distinction, in terms of regulation, between completely autonomous UAS and remotely-piloted UAS?
No, the legal definition of an “aircraft without pilot” (article 3.81 from the Code of civil aviation) refers both to the completely autonomous UAS and to remotely-piloted UAS.
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Operations - Safety
6. How are UAS operations regulated in terms of safety?
The UAS holder must keep at least the following registrations in order to allow the RCAA to verify them before issuing the relevant authorizations: the maintenance and operation registrations, the changes performed on the UAS, a copy of the technical file sent to RCAA. Also, RCAA keeps track on registrations of any issuance, suspension, revocation or renewal of a national flight permit. Thus, provided that the specific terms applicable to UAS are observed, the general rules on aircraft safety apply:
The relevant regulations in this area are: Chapter IX: Flight safety from the Aerial Civil Code, Minister of Transportation order no. 1182/27.09.2016, National Safety Plan of Civil Aviation 2017. There is also specific legislation with respect to licensing or identification or registration, as the case may be. Further, there are several limitations as to operation areas (see also answers below).
7. Is the applicable regulation considering the rule of 1 UAS = 1 pilot?
There is no reference to this rule in the national legislation.
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") Operations - Licensing
8. What procedures are there to obtain licenses or the rights to operate UAS?
- licenses or the rights to operate UAS?
There are different procedures depending on the weight or technical characteristics of a UAS.
For the UAS under class A that have a maximum take-off mass less or equal to 500 grams there is neither registration nor other permit required to allow their operation.
For UAS class A between 0,500 kg and 15 kg it is required to have an identification certificate (issued by RCAA).
For UAS under class A over 15 kg or class B1 (provided their weight is less than 150 kg) it is required to have an identification certificate as well as a national flight permit issued by RCAA when such are used for air working operations for industrial, agricultural, health, environment, search and saving, scientific research, photography, monitoring, advertising, as well as for other purposes by air operators.
For UAS over 150 kg it is required to hold a registration certificate, an airworthiness certificate and a certified operator. This operator must always have the airworthiness certificate when operating the UAS.
Possessing an insurance policy for damages suffered by third parties, for UAS with maximum take-off mass over 20 kg is mandatory.
The flight permit is obtained based on an application filed with RCAA together with the technical file of the UAS (description of the UAS, characteristics, engine, remote control system, safety measures for third parties, mitigation of risk in case of impact, use of UAS, and manufacturer’s conformity statement).
RCAA issues the national flight permit if the UAS fulfils the conditions set forth by the law, the technical file contains all the data required by the law, and the UAS was verified both on land and in flight by the RCAA inspectors in accordance with a testing program established by RCAA. A metallic plate easily visible shall be applied to the UAS indicating the number of the flight permit.
The identification certificate is issued by RCAA following an application together with information on the owner, operator, UAS (manufacturer, colour, manufacturing number, colour of the insignia, design and layout of the insignia), and history of previous identification procedures.
9. Are there any kind of taxes or fees regarding the licensing procedure?
Yes, the cost for obtaining the identification certificate is 90 EUR + VAT, while the flight permit is 540 EUR + VAT. For the identification certificate to be prolonged, an additional 300 EUR + VAT fee must be paid.
10. Is a Certificate of Airworthiness mandatory to operate a UAS?
A certificate of Airworthiness is necessary to operate UAS over 150 kg.
11. Is access to the market for the provision of UAS operation services regulated and, if so, how?
It is not regulated.
12. What requirements apply in the areas of financial strength and nationality of ownership regarding control of UAS?
There are no requirements in the area of financial strength of the owner. Regarding the ownership of UAS, according to Art. 21 from Aerial Civil Code the right of ownership is recognized, without discrimination, to the natural and legal persons.
13. Is drone transport permitted / regulated in your country?
It is not regulated at this moment.
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") - Operations - Others
14. Is there a specific Data & Privacy Protection regulation applicable to UAS operations?
There are no specific data and privacy protection regulations applicable to UAS operations. However, it is to be noted that for photography, movies or topo geodesic measurements at a scale bigger than 1:20000 it is required to have a permit from the Ministry of National Defense. The general rules apply in this field as well.
15. Is there a specific control-link interference regulation applicable to UAS operations?
It is mandatory to obtain the authorization of the National Ministry of Defense if (i) the UAS is equipped with photographic/video cameras, (ii) the UAS performs topo geodesic measurements at a scale bigger than 1:20000, (iii) the UAS is used for VFR traffic information, (iv) the UAS is to fly under 3,000 m height above Bucharest (except for those which are within the control zone of Baneasa aerodrome and flights after take-off or for landing on any of the other authorized aerodromes in Bucharest area).
It is mandatory to obtain the approval from RCAA for flights below the limits imposed by the law: (i) 300 m over the highest fixed obstacle above areas with dense population, (ii) 150 m in the other areas, (iii) acrobatic flights, (iv) technical flights.
Special authorization is also required for flights over border areas and Delta Danube Biosphere.
16. Do specific rules regulate UAS manufacturers?
17. What requirements must a foreign UAS operator satisfy in order to operate to or from your country?
There are no special requirements applicable only for foreign UAS operators, if they have obtained the identification certificate for the UAS they are using. When a UAS has a registration or identification certificate issued by the relevant authority in another country it may be recognized by RCAA.
18. Are fares or pricing of UAS operations regulated and, if so, how?
No specific regulation is applicable.
The Aircraft (“UAS”)
19. Must UAS be registered in any particular register?
Yes, the UAS must be registered in RIAC (Registrul Unic de Identificare al Aeronavelor Civile -Section RPAS), except for those which require no certification (Class A UAS under 0,500 kg).
20. Who is entitled to be mentioned in the UAS register?
It is mandatory to mention the owner as well as the operator.
21. Do requirements or limitations apply to the ownership of a UAS listed on your country’s register?
22. Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of UAS?
No. The general rule is that the national flight permit for a UAS may be obtained only if the owner/ operator demonstrates that the UAS was designed and manufactured accordingly and that it respects the requirements for safe operation. Also, the owner/ operator has the obligation to keep the record of the maintenance and operation registrations, the changes performed on the UAS, a copy of the technical file sent to RCAA.
23. Which are the operational and distance limitations for an aerial work with a UAS? Is there any kind of certificate or permission to operate beyond those limitations?
UAS with an MTOM lighter than 150 kg are allowed to be used only in the G class airspace. The G class airspace is situated at least 150 meters below the minimum limit of the controlled airspace, at a minimum height of 300 meters from the tallest obstacle in highly populated areas and 150 meters from the soil in the other areas. With a special approval from RCAA the UAS may be operated under these limits.
24. Are UAS obliged to take off from and/or land in specific facilities?
No, according to the Government Decision no. 912 from 2010, it is possible for aircraft (including UAS) to take-off from and land not only in specific facilities, but also from/on other terrains.
25. Which kind of airspaces are UAS permitted to operate with?
The UAS are permitted to fly in the so-called G class airspace, which is a determined airspace situated at least 150 meters below the minimum limit of the controlled airspace.
26. Which airspaces are restricted for UAS?
The UAS are not permitted to fly outside the G class airspace. See also above answers.
27. Which zones are UAS operations banned?
It is forbidden to take off or land from/on urban areas, as well as to fly over places where big crowds of people are gathered. See also above answers.
28. Who provides air traffic control services for UAS in your country?
The main characteristic of the G class airspace is the lack of any traffic control.
Liability and Accidents
29. Are there any special rules in respect of loss or damage to cargo?
Regulation (EC) no. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators, stipulates that for liability in respect of cargo, the minimum insurance cover shall be 17 SDRs (Special Drawing Right as defined by the International Monetary Fund) per kilogram in commercial operations.
30. Are there any special rules about the liability of UAS operators for surface damage?
No, there are no special rules about the liability of UAS operators for surface damage, excepting the general provisions from the Civil Code regarding the civil liability.
31. Is there a mandatory accident and incident reporting system and, if so, how does it operate?
According to Art. 90 from The Aerial Civil Code the aerial operators or other institutions that have technical and operational competences in civil aeronautics are obliged to inform Minister of Transportation for every civil aviation incident or accident.
Further, according to the Regulation (EC) no. 376/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation, in order to improve aviation safety, relevant civil aviation safety information should be reported, collected, stored, protected, exchanged, disseminated and analysed, and appropriate safety action should be taken on the basis of the information collected.
The competent national authority in Romania in the field of civil aviation safety is CIAS.
32. What system and procedures are in place for the investigation of UAS accidents?
There are no specific rules for UAS accidents, the general dispositions regarding the aeronautical incidents and accidents being applied.
According to Art. 87 from The Aerial Civil Code the Minister of Transportation is the state authority for regulation, organizing and development of the activities regarding the administrative inquiry of civil aviation incidents and accidents. In this regard, Minister of Transportation adopted Order no. 305/1995 for approval of instructions regarding the research of civil aviation accidents and incidents.
33. Are UAS operators obliged to have insurance for their operations? If so, which are their main features?
It depends upon the weight of the UAS. According to the Regulation (EC) no. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators, it is mandatory to have an insurance policy for all the aircraft that have an MTOM (maximum take-off mass) exceeding 20 kg.
In the case of a model aircraft with an MTOM of less than 20 kg, the insurance is optional.
Air carriers and aircraft operators shall be insured in accordance with this Regulation as regards their aviation-specific liability in respect of passengers, baggage, cargo and third parties. The insured risks shall include acts of war, terrorism, hijacking, acts of sabotage, unlawful seizure of aircraft and civil commotion.
34. What is insured? The operator, the business or the aircraft?
The European Regulation previously mentioned refers to air carriers and aircraft operators.
Financial Support and State Aid
35. Are there sector-specific rules regulating direct or indirect financial support to companies by the government or government-controlled agencies or companies (state aid) in the UAS sector? If not, do general state aid rules apply?
There are no specific rules regulating direct or indirect financial support to companies operating UAS. General state aid rules shall be applied.
36. What are the main principles of the stated aid rules applicable to the UAS sector?
There are no special state aid rules in this field.
As a general rule, the state aid must comply to art. 107 of TFEU.
37. Are there exemptions from the state aid rules or situations in which they do not apply?
There are no special rules concerning the UAS operations from this perspective.
38. Must clearance from the competition authorities be obtained before state aid may be granted?
The general rule would require for any state aid to be notified to the Competition Council.