Please read carefully the text below translated from Finesse+ webpage.
EASA issued in 2017 a "NPA" (Notice of Proposed Amendment). Following the many comments (more than 3000!) From stakeholders, including those issued by Finesse Plus, the EASA published early 2018 a document (Opinion No. 01-2018) less constraining for model aircraft than the NPA initial. This summer, the European Parliament also passed an amendment to the Basic Regulations for Aeronautics to include unmanned aircraft.
Now the European Commission is asking EU citizens for their opinion on the draft regulation before its finalization and final adoption. Make no mistake, unmanned aircraft (Unmanned Aircraft, abbreviated to UA) include both drones and model aircraft. We are therefore directly concerned ...
To read it, go to https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-1460265_en and download the two documents relating to the Implementing Regulation which are open to comments until November 5th:
– Implementing Regulation – Ares(2018)5119803 (Fichier PDF: PART-2018-221538V4)
– Annex – Ares(2018)5119/1 (Fichier PDF: PART-2018-221538V4 (1))
Finesse+ experts analyzed these documents in detail and detected two real risks for the sustainability of our activity outside the club grounds (classified in category OPEN A3 according to the EU regulations), in particular for mountain flying, of which One is a clear step backwards from the EASA Opinion:
1 / The height (not the altitude) of flight of the model is limited to 120 m above ground level (Article 4 (1) (e) page 5 & UAS.OPEN.10 (2) Annex, page 1). Problem in VDP, as soon as you take off, you are above the hole ... and the 120m / ground can be reached very quickly if the hole is deep or as soon as you take altitude ... If the altitude difference is 120 m or more to fly in front of you while remaining at the level of the slope becomes totally impossible.
Note: Beyond slope soaring, Finesse Plus had proposed to EASA in early 2018 to increase this height to 240m / ground if an observer was present to inform the pilot of the possible arrival of manned aircraft in the area. DMFV (Germany) and FSAM (Switzerland) also made similar proposals. Unfortunately, this has not been retained by the Commission in the text we are asked to comment on.
2 / The flight of slope or plain off land declared will be made very difficult because the draft regulation indicates (UAS.OPEN.040 (2) Annex, page 3): "be conducted in an area where the remote pilot reasonably expects that will be present in the range where the UA will be flown during the entire time of the UAS operation ".
In summary: no flights possible if walkers are likely to be present in the area of evolution. However, to date, it is the pilot who analyzes the risks vis-à-vis the walkers or other observers and who ensures the security. The EASA Opinion was more pragmatic because it mentioned "... in an area where the pilot will not be able to go anywhere". That is to say, to make sure that there will not be on the site of the uninvolved people endangered, which is what we already apply for 50 years ....
a/ Article 4(1)(e) & UAS.OPEN.10 (2): Requiring that in OPEN Category the UA shall remain at a maximum distance of 120 meters from the surface of the earth even when starting from a natural elevation over terrain is not relevant at all for sailplane models starting from top of a hill or a cliff to perform slope soaring. This would compel the pilot to fly the model below his/her position when the starting point is 120 m or more above the surrounding terrain, as it is the case today for many slope soaring sites in mountainous areas.
Moreover, the remote pilot has no mean to precisely assess his/her model height above a terrain which is below the elevation of the starting point.
To accommodate slope soaring operations with sailplane models, the height limit should extend horizontally from 120 m above the remote pilot position rather than following the terrain contour.
Consequently, UAS.OPEN.10 (2) should be deleted and Article 4(1)(e) amended as follows: « the maximum height shall be no more than 120 meters from the take-off point, except when overflying an obstacle, as specified in Part A of the Annex »
b/ UAS.OPEN.40: Requiring that OPEN A3 operations shall be conducted in an area where the remote pilot reasonably expects that no uninvolved person will be present is unworkable, in particular for flights in mountainous areas where hikers may temporarily pass through the area of operation at any time. This was recognised by EASA in Opinion 01-2018 where the word « present » was replaced by « endangered », taking in consideration this ensures better consistency with the related Acceptable Mean of Compliance (AMC1 UAS.OPEN.040(1)) requiring that « when a person incidentally enters the visual range of the remote pilot, the remote pilot should avoid overflying the person, and discontinue the operation when the safety of the UAS operation is not ensured », as model aircraft flyers are already usually doing today.
Consequently, UAS.OPEN.40 should be amended in line with EASA Opinion 01-2018 as follows: « «…in an area where the remote pilot reasonably expects that no uninvolved person will be endangered within the range where the UA will be flown »
How you can help ? By giving your feedback to the European Commission.
Step 1: Create an ECAS account (EU login):https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-1460265_fr
Click on "register" or "give feedback" and follow the usual procedure of creating an account with password and validation by email. This ECAS account (EU login) can be used to participate in any European Commission consultation on any subject.
Step 2: Once logged, give your feedbackGo back to the home page and in the section where you downloaded the documents (Draft Act - Draft Implementing Regulation), click on the yellow square "Give feedback". Here is the type of support message we suggest you enter:
"As a citizen of the EU having more than xx years of experience in flying glider models safely, I fully support the comments posted by the association Finesse Plus, namely:
– The need to amend Article 4(1)(e) in order to extend the height limit horizontally 120 m above the remote pilot instead of following the terrain contour
– The need to amend UAS.OPEN.40 in order to allow the possible presence of uninvolved persons in the area of operation provided they are not endangered."
Of course, you are free to make a comment using your own words, the main thing being to ensure a good level of consistency between all the comments made by our community. Please note that your comments will be immediately posted on the Commission's public website and thus visible to all. Other commentators can also react online to your own comments.
Due to our aeronautical culture, we have demonstrated a high level of safety for more than 50 years. Even if EASA and the European Commission agree, as much remind them once again ..
Time is running ! Don't let burocrats and politicians to kill our hobby !