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HomeTECHNOLOGYattention to the new European Regulation

attention to the new European Regulation

The Regulation came into force this year and covers all civilian use of drones, whether on recreational or professional flights.

THE use of drones in Portugal has been subject since January 2021 to the European Drone Regulation (UAS) created by the European Aviation Safety Agency. In Portugal it is applied by ANAC (National Civil Aviation Authority). The regulation requires pilots of unmanned aircraft to comply with a series of operational and training rules aimed at protecting the safety of everyone, pilots and non-pilots.

Flying a drone professionally or as a hobby is now subject to the same regulations. The rules only vary according to the three operational framework categories that have been defined according to their level of risk.

Use of drones: rules for three different categories

Open category: low risk

This is the category that involves almost all activities usually associated with leisure. It is intended for use on aircraft weighing less than 25 kg, with CE (European Community) or homemade (non-European) construction marking.

Drones in this category cannot fly over crowds of people and must fly at a maximum height of 120 m above the ground. This category is subdivided into 3 depending on the weight of the drones. Learn more here.

Specific Category (Spec): medium risk

For all situations that deviate from the Open Category, such as any flight above 120 m, weighing more than 25 kg, over persons not involved in the flight or carrying cargo. It is also the category that applies to BVLOS flights (beyond line of sight).

In this category, they can only fly with a declaration of operational authorization from ANAC, for which it is necessary to submit to this entity a risk analysis for the flight scenario that is intended to be carried out. Learn more here.

Certified Category: high risk

This class has some requirements already common to manned aviation pilots and drones must be subject to an aeronautical certification identical to that of manned aircraft. It applies, for example, to any operation with drones with dimensions equal to or greater than 3 m or drones designed for the transport of people or for the transport of dangerous goods. Find out more here.

Use of drones: pilot training became necessary

Training for all drone pilots is a requirement of the European regulation also applied to our country. The training course will have the requirement

determined by the level of risk associated with the category of operation in which the flight will be carried out. The certificate of competence issued by ANAC is valid for 5 years, so the pilot must renew it in accordance with the rules of the respective subcategories.

Online training for the Open Category

In this category, training can be done remotely. It has a theoretical and a practical component, carried out at school or with a declaration of practical self-training. The operator/pilot is only certified after carrying out a face-to-face examination at ANAC’s facilities. Candidates must be at least 16 years old to fly in this category.

Training for the Specific and Certified Category: more complex certifications

In these categories, the pilot must add to the training mentioned in the previous category a theoretical training, given by ANAC, and a practical training from an ERF (Recognized Training Entity). For the Specific Category, the pilot must be approved for the Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC).

To do so, you must be able to establish, implement and maintain a safety management system taking into account the hazards and risks associated with the flight you are going to make. For the Certified Category, you must already have training that implies skills identical to those of manned aircraft pilots. Both are more complex certifications, so you should ask ANAC or APDRONE (the Association of Pilots and Operators of Unmanned Vehicles) for help.

Drone flying over field

Use of drones: attention to records and insurance

Operator, pilot and drone registration on the ANAC platform

Operators/owners of drones with equipment weighing 25 kg or more are required to register on ANAC’s electronic platform https://uas.anac.pt. It is also mandatory for smaller drones if they are equipped with sensors that capture personal data such as cameras, video or microphone. This registration is associated with a single European platform that allows pilots to operate freely within the European territory, only with the authorization and registration of the country of origin.

On this platform you can also register the Operator and Pilot of the drone. The Operator record is the record of the equipment owner (such as the owner of a car). He is responsible for everything that concerns the aircraft, such as licenses or authorizations. The registration number provided by ANAC must be visibly affixed to the drone, as a kind of registration and will have to be entered in the remote remote identification systems required in the respective category in which it will fly.

The Pilot’s registration is also important because he is responsible for the safe flight conditions and for complying with the operational limitations of the place where he will operate the equipment, whether he owns it or not. The pilot and operator can be the same person.

Insurance: mandatory for aircraft weighing more than 900g

The insurance is intended to cover the obligation to indemnify third parties for damage caused during an accident or abuse of the drone.

For equipment with lower weight outside Portugal, even in the European area, it is advisable to ask for information to ensure the existence of specific national legislation on this matter.

Since the regulation came into force in January 2021, some difficulties have already been pointed out by national drone users. Operators say they have had difficulties in complying with the new requirements. In the area of ​​training there is little offer and in the area of ​​insurance many companies have refused to take the risk or have insurance premium values ​​equal to or greater than the values ​​requested for cars.

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