EASA Prototype Rules for Unmanned Aircraft – Update

The rulemaking team at EASA have asked me to notify members that the deadline for feedback on the Prototype Rules was 15th October.  We understand that they are still receiving dozens of emails per day, mainly from the U.K!  Thank you to all those members who provided constructive feedback.

The formal feedback response submitted to EASA on behalf of FAI & Europe Air Sports has been published here: http://www.fai.org/news/42436-eas-fai-response-easa-unmanned-aircraft

The level of response from the model flying community (especially from the UK) has taken EASA by surprise and they now concede publicly that the Protoype Rules do not adequately address the needs of established model flyers.  In an effort to resolve this situation, EASA have now announced the formation of a small ‘Expert Group’ which will include representation from the European model flying community.  EASA hope that working with the ‘Expert Group’ will allow them to refine their proposals and incorporate amendments which will make the regulations more acceptable.  It is envisaged that the ‘Expert Group’ will provide their input over the course of four meetings at EASA’s headquarters in Cologne.

The four proposed amendments to the Basic Regulation prepared by Europe Air Sports and submitted to the European Parliament were deferred from the October meeting of the TRAN Committee.  There were over 1000 amendments proposed in all, with 50-100 of them relating to unmanned aircraft.  Key MEP’s have been in discussion and have been working to ‘distill’ the amendments down to a more manageable number.  They have developed a proposed ‘compromise’ amendment which stops short of removing model flying from EASA’s competence altogether which is dissapointing.  However, the proposed ‘compromise’ would add a statement on model flying to the ‘Recital’ of the Basic Regulation which would be legally binding and would serve to compel EASA to develop regulations which would allow model flying to continue to operate as it does currently.  If the ‘compromise’ is adopted, the amendments proposed by Europe Air Sports will fall.  The vote on the amendements is likely to take place on the 10th November.

The timescale for the publication of EASA’s formal regulations for feedback is now slipping and is now scheduled for the end of March 2017 rather than before the end of 2016 as originally intended.

In an initiative lead by Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the UK, a number of model flying associations are meeting in Friedrichshafen on the 28th October to embark on the process of forming the European Model Flying Union (EMFU) to co-ordinate efforts to defend the rights of the 500,000+ model flyers throughout Europe.  EASA have already confirmed their agreement to meet with representatives from the EMFU in the near future.