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The UK is leaving EASA, what does this mean for the Drone Industry?

March 11, 2020

UK leaving EASA

 

On 06 March 2020, UK State Secretary for Transportation Grant Shapps told the Aviation Week Network that the UK was leaving EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

 

[This article has been updated on 30.04.2020 to reflect the delay to the implementation of the EU UAS Regulation package to 1st November 2020]

 

Although this was a surprise for some, this is not 'new news'. The CAA already has an information page set-up which states that after the transition period ends on 1st January 2021, the UK will leave EASA. During the transition period, there may or may not be a deal struck which helps to align the UK CAA and EASA, however, this is looking unlikely.

 

What does this mean for the Drone Industry and the regulation changes on 1st November 2020?

 

Yesterday we spoke to the head of the UAS Department at the UK CAA, and we can confirm, the UK is continuing with its plan to transition the regulations over to the EASA UAS Regulation Package as described in the CAP 1789. There may be some 'tweaks' over time in regards to the wording in the regulations now we are leaving EASA, however, the plan is to carry on as per the original plan, with the GVC and A2 CofC being the drone qualifications which will be required and accepted in the UK from 1st November 2020.

 

To summarise:

  • You will no longer be able to apply for a PfCO after 1st November 2020 as the CAA will then issue Operational Authorisations.
    • If you currently hold a PfCO, you can renew this after 1st November 2020 and get issued an Operational Authorisation with Standard Permissions.
    • If your legacy PfCO expires, you will not be able to apply for a new PfCO/Operational Authorisation after 1st November 2020, without completing an additional training course with an RAE.
  • NQE Recommendation Certificates will no longer be accepted for approval of an Operational Authorisation after 1st November 2020. You'll have to complete a GVC course and get an RAE Recommendation Certificate.
  • The CAA will release a new version of the CAP 722 by June 2020 with further guidance for Drone Operators.
  • The new Drone courses will be the General VLOS Certificate and A2 Certificate of Competency which UAVHUB are now delivering.

 

For the Drone Industry, nothing is changing and the plan to adopt the new regulations is still happening. All NQE's who wish to transition over to RAE status will by 1st November 2020.

 

UAVHUB is already an RAE and all of our courses are now futureproofed delvering the GVC and A2 CofC.

 

Conclusion

Don't panic! In regards to the Drone Industry, nothing is changing to the original plan that was laid out in the CAP 1789. We are adopting the EASA UAS Regulation Package and the new drone courses will be GVC and A2 CofC.

 

From the 1st November 2020, you will get issued an Operational Authorisation. If you hold a PfCO these will still be valid beyond 1st November 2020, however, you must make sure that you don't let it lapse/expire! When you renew a PfCO (if you haven't let it expire) you will get an Operational Authorisation.

 

The Operational Authorisation is the piece of paper / PDF that states what permissions you have from the CAA.

 

If you let your PfCO expire, you will have to do a GVC conversion course to get a new Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE) and apply for a new Operational Authorisation.

 

If you have an NQE Recommendation Certificate and you currently don't hold a PfCO, then this will expire on 1st November 2020 and you won't be able to apply for an Operational Authorisation. You will need to do do a GVC conversion course and get an RAE Recommendation Certificate.

 

If you're still unsure where you stand, give the team a shout on 0800 033 4400 or email us at hello@uavhub.com.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hold an A2 CofC and an Operational Authorisation?

Yes. You can hold an A2 CofC and an Operational Authorisation gained through doing a GVC Drone course. These are two different certificates that allow you to fly either in the Open Category or the Specific Category.

 

Do I have to renew an Operational Authorisation?

Yes. You have to renew an Operational Authorisation every 12 months with the CAA.

 

When does my General VLOS Certificate (GVC) expire?

5 years after issue from a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE).

 

When does my A2 CofC expire?

5 years after issue from a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE).

 

Can I get a GVC if I have done a PfCO course?

No. The GVC is a different course to the PfCO, unless your training company is an RAE and not an NQE, in which case they may do a Hybrid course where you will be able to get a GVC after finishing the course.