Page 11 - InterPilot Issue 3 2015
P. 11

Europe’s ambition to allow the broad use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and their
integration into the European airspace can pose safety risks. The European Cockpit
Association assesses the situation and offers some recommendations.

Photo by efilpera (flickr)

Europe Aiming
IFALPA EVENTS providing input to all relevant authorities

which are currently drafting rules, i.e. the
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the
High on RPAS Unmanned Systems (JARUS), the European
Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on
Commission and the European Parliament.
Some of the key regulatory standards
promoted by ECA, that should ensure safety in
ith an ambitious timeframe for In addition, RPAS, even the light ones that lower level airspace when integrating RPAS
Wlegislation by the end of the year, are below 1 kg, can cause significant or even with other traffic, are:
chances are that Europe will advance quicker catastrophic damage to helicopters in case of a ■ For RPAS that would be subject to only
than any other region in the world allowing collision due to the number of vulnerable and “light” regulation, their performance
broad use of RPAS and integrating them into critical components such as the tail rotor or capabilities are to be limited through an
industry standard (backed up by a CE
the European airspace. If it was only up to the main rotor head. mark) to ensure they can do no harm;
European Commission to influence this Another major safety threat might be the ■ Compulsory registration for all RPAS and
process, Europe would take the global lead on recreational use of (toy) RPAS operated by their users;
promoting the Remotely Piloted Aircraft people who are many times less aware of the ■ Introduction of approved automatic
Systems (RPAS) technologies. But while potential dangers than professionally trained detection and avoidance equipment on
Europe is aiming high, what are the risks of operators. Many of these untrained operators RPAS;
overlooking some important aspects, have no or limited knowledge about how and ■ Placing responsibility to see and avoid
particularly in lower airspace? With safety and where they can safely operate a RPAS. manned aircraft on the pilot of the RPAS;
security threats already hovering in the air, Security of RPAS operations is also a vital ■ Training and licensing of RPAS-pilots in a
Europe’s pilots’ confidence in this “fast-for- issue, with considerations that are both similar way that knowledge and skills – but also
ward” legislative work is stretched. and distinct from manned aircraft. RPAS could awareness and airmanship – are on a
The technology and abilities of RPAS are be hijacked and used as a weapon against other comparable level as manned aircraft pilots;
changing fast and the commercial demand to airspace users (e.g. by exploiting data) or ■ Informing the public about the dangers of
integrate the systems in the airspace is targets on the ground. One could also jam or recreational RPAS (DOs and DON’Ts).
enormous. But this new technology poses risks spoof the RPAS, thereby seriously compromis-
that must be on the radar screen of ing safety. Only if safety concerns are taken seriously
manufacturers, users and regulators when With these threats in mind, the right way to by Europe’s (and the world’s) lawmakers will
drafting the ambitious rules. guarantee safety (and security) while the RPAS sector be able to unfold its full
To start with, integrating RPAS in low level promoting innovation is to create a strong and potential. A single and high-profile accident
airspace (500 feet AGL), that is very often used harmonized set of rules for RPAS. Right now, could hurt the sector’s growth. Therefore,
by manned helicopters and commercial the commercial use of RPAS is suffering from Europe’s ambitions to become THE leader on
general aviation, is a major challenge. Given the missing or fragmented regulatory RPAS – as evidenced at the High Level
the shape and size of RPAS and the fact that frameworks in Europe and across the world. Conference in Riga – will have a realistic
they are usually much smaller than other And this must change! chance of success if Europe’s regulatory
aircraft, they might not be visible to the other The European Cockpit Association (ECA) framework ensures safe operations for all types
traffic, especially due to the speed difference. is actively engaging in the public debate and of RPAS – from small to large.

InterPilot | The Safety and Technical Journal of IFALPA ISSUE 3 | 2015
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