The European Cockpit Association (ECA) has outlined what it feels are a number of prerequisites for the safe integration of light remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS)/unmanned aircraft into Europe's low-level airspace.
Some of these regulatory standards, outlined in a new position paper, are the following:
- Introducing approved automatic detection-and-avoidance equipment on RPAS;
- Placing the responsibility to see and avoid manned aircraft on the pilot of the RPAS;
- Training and licensing RPAS pilots so that knowledge and skills – but also awareness and airmanship – are on a comparable level as manned aircraft pilots;
- Compulsory registration for all RPAS; and
- Informing the public about the dangers of recreational RPAS (do’s and don’ts).
“We face an immense challenge to safely integrate RPAS,” says Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA secretary general. “The Riga Declaration spells out important principles. But we need to be meticulous in our assessment and way forward when it comes to the details.
“We simply cannot afford to fail,” he continues. “This would be disastrous both for the RPAS industry and for aviation safety. As such, we hope that Europe’s future drone rules will be a leading example worldwide when it comes to safety and security.”
With the Riga Declaration, signed recently by the European Commission and various stakeholders, and the European Aviation Safety Agency’s proposed Concept of Operations, Europe has taken a decisive step to open its skies for RPAS, according to ECA.