In this article, we're going to take a look at the A2 subcategory of the open category and if some drones with a tripod mode are C2 certified drones.
Tripod mode does not mean low speed mode
If your drone has a tripod mode or another mode where it reduces the aircraft speed, this does not mean that it is a 'low speed mode' or automatically make the aircraft a C2 Class of unmanned aircraft.
The low speed mode
The ‘low speed mode’ that is referred to in the A2 subcategory of the Open Category is a mode that is specifically designated for the C2 Class of unmanned aircraft. Any other ‘reduced speed operation’, whether electronically or physically limited, cannot be ‘automatically’ used in the Open category.
Unless the Unmanned Aircraft has been marked as a ‘C2 class’ Unmanned Aircraft, then these capabilities are not relevant (nor is any form of ‘skilful manoeuvring’).
Existing unmanned aircraft (such as the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Mavic Air 2 etc.) will not be able to operate at the low speed mode distances.
These drones are classed as 'legacy drones' and therefore you can only operate them in either the A1 Transitional Provision (if the drone is between 250-500g) or the A2 Transitional Provision (if the drone is between 500g - 2000g).
Can my drone be retrospectively marked with a 'C' class?
In the CAP 1789, the CAA has point blank said that no, the 'CE' Class markings do not work retrospectively.
So, a current 1kg aircraft, for example, will never become a C2 model; it will only ever be ‘a legacy unmanned aircraft that weighs 1kg’. In the same fashion, a current 800g aircraft will not become a C1 model; it is just ‘a legacy unmanned aircraft that weighs 800g’.
In order to be given a particular Class marking, the aircraft must have been designed and manufactured to the relevant standards of that class marking. The only way you can get an aircraft with a ‘CE class marking’ is to buy one that has this marking.
Still don't believe us, or you're convinced by someone on a forum? Check out page 44 of the CAP 1789, it's there in black and white.
The only way your aircraft will be a 'C2' or a 'C1' drone is if the the aircraft has been designed and manufactured to the relevant standards of that class marking and has a physical marking on the aircraft. If you aircraft doesn't meet the criteria AND doesn't have a CE 'Class' marking on it, it's not certified I'm afraid and you can't use the tripod mode to get closer to uninvolved people.
You can learn more about the Open Category by doing our A2 Certificate of Competency drone course.