Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 on Common Rules in the Field of Civil Aviation – A Focus on Unmanned Aircraft
The subject regulation (entered into force on 11 Sept. 2018) can be considered as a further step ahead in view of the provision of a widely expected European regulation in respect of drones. Recital 26 of the newly issued regulation indeed states: “Since unmanned aircraft also operate within the airspace alongside manned aircraft, this Regulation should cover unmanned aircraft, regardless of their operating mass. Technologies for unmanned aircraft now make possible a wide range of operations and those operations should be subject to rules that are proportionate to the risk of the particular operation or type of operations”. Afterwards articles 55 to 58 of Section VII set out the conditions under which certain essential requirements provided by the Annexes of the Regulation shall be complied with in relation to unmanned aircraft. Namely: Annex II for airworthiness; Annex IV for aircrew; Annex V for air operations; and Annex IX for the design, production, maintenance and operation of unmanned aircraft, as well as for their engines, parts, equipment to control them remotely, personnel (including remote pilots) and organisations involved in those activities. Article 56 also establishes that depending on the characteristics of the unmanned aircraft and the area of operation concerned, a certificate may be required for the activities and parts of Annex IX mentioned above.