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European Commission Adopts Regulatory Package for U-Space

L2b Aviation member Francesco Paolo Ballirano, Associate with Studio Pierallini, discusses U-Space. 

By way of background, the U-Space is a set of new aviation services relying on a high level of digitalisation, functions and specific procedures designed to support a safe and efficient access to airspace for large numbers of drones. The U-space is designed to facilitate any kind of routine mission, in all classes of airspace and all types of environment – even the most congested – while addressing an appropriate interface with manned aviation and air traffic control.

On such basis the European Commission has recently adopted the new U-Space regulatory package, composed of three regulations which establish the requirements for the safe operation and co-existence of manned and unmanned aircraft in the U-space. Through this regulatory package new services for drone operators are now in place, increasing the distance for them to perform their operations, especially in congested airspaces. Such regulatory developments were largely expected from the aviation industry, in light of the large potential of drones for cargo and delivery services, as well as other innovative applications, including drone flights with passengers on board in the future. The U-Space package is an important step towards creating a well-functioning, trusted and safe enabling environment and may provide a clear added value in terms of achieving the decarbonisation, digitalisation and resilience ambitions of the European Union.

The U-Space regulations entered into force in 23 April 2021 and the transition period will be completed in January 2023. The acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material (GM) to support these regulations are currently being developed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

This article was originally published by Studio Pierallini in Aviation Journal, July 2021, no. 2.

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