Following drone manufacturer Holy Stone’s use of C1 EU class identification label on the HS720E GPS aircraft, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has provided an update on the market availability of drones with C0-C6 labels.
According to EASA, the presence of a class identification label on a drone available to buy today does not guarantee its compliance to Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945) that comes into effect on January 1, 2023.
Drones compliant with the new European regulations are expected to appear on the market only toward the end of 2022.
More specifically, EASA says it will not be possible to have compliant drones of classes C1, C2, and C3 in the EU markets until “at least” March 2022. This is because the procedures necessary to demonstrate their conformity have not been determined yet.
The agency explains:
The absence of standards supporting the requirements of R945 until at least the end of the year makes it difficult for manufacturers to ensure compliance of their products. This is especially the case for classes C0 and C4 to C5. Therefore, we recommend great caution at least until the end of the year when buying drones with a class identification label.
How do EU drone pilots determine valid class label for drones?
Typically, you’d expect market surveillance authorities to make sure that the drones placed on the EU market with a class identification label are compliant with R945. However, EASA says that drone pilots should also take measures to get sufficient confidence that they’re operating a compliant drone. This is what the agency recommends:
- Buy the drone in a reliable shop or online marketplace. In particular, you should avoid buying a drone online directly from outside Europe, since it may not be compliant with EU legislation
- Verify the presence of a valid class identification label as per R945: the logo must have the exact shape defined by the drawing below, where ‘X’ is replaced by the number of the class (e.g. ‘1’). Any other logo will not constitute a valid class identification label allowing the drone to be operated in the open category or under declaration
- Verify the CE mark on the drone and the presence of the EU declaration of conformity in the package
- Verify that the declaration of conformity refers to R945 and bears the drone serial number
- Verify that the drone provides the following:
Remember that, starting next year, if you operate a drone in the open category without a class identification label or if it is not compliant with R945, you may expose other people to risk and you may be persecuted by the law.