The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is calling for the creation of a body to co-ordinate introduction of routine un­mannned air vehicle operations in the continent’s controlled airspace.

The recommendation is part of an EASA effort to implement regulations to allow “normalised” UAV flights in non-segregated airspace by 2009. The agency says the co-ordination role – which it could theoretically undertake itself – needs to be formalised at a pan-European level because of the complexities involved. It says its own powers are too limited for the task.

A draft type certification basis for UAVs weighing more than 150kg (330lb) being circulated by EASA says “operational use of UAVs is a political decision that goes well beyond the agency’s role and responsibilities”. It adds that EASA “would be ready to go beyond its role if requested and if supported by the European Union, member states and industry”.

EASA plans to launch a rule- making process for UAV type certification in 2007. The draft certification policy proposes UAVs be treated as complete systems, with the certification basis applying not only to the air vehicle, but also to the control station, communication links and launch and recovery systems. However, decisions are still to be made as to whether the air vehicle and control station should be separately certificated in circumstances where one station is controlling a number of UAVs.

The draft policy recommends safety of persons on the ground be used as the near-term guiding basis for the certification. EASA is seeking input on whether this should be based on impact energy considerations developed specifically for UAVs or the redefinition of safety objectives for manned aircraft by creating new weight categories.

EASA says it wants to continue to apply defined airworthiness codes to aircraft design, rather than adopt a generic safety target-based approach.


Source: Flight International