EASA chiarisce: dopo il 1/1/2024 i vecchi droni non marcati voleranno ancora in Open Category -3Digital | Droni e Stampanti 3D

EASA clarifies: after 1/1/2024 the old unmarked drones will still fly in the Open Category

News travels quickly on social networks and since yesterday afternoon nothing has been done but talk about the good news we talked about in the title of this article.
We were immediately made aware of the publication that triggered this pleasant word of mouth, but we waited to publish our note so as not to get caught up in emotions and to analyze the facts carefully.

For those who are in a hurry we can summarize by saying that EASA The European Aviation Safety Agency which promoted the current European regulations on drones, has published on its official pages a series of information That they say that the drones without class marking, placed on the market before January 1, 2024, will be able to continue flying in the Open Category .
In the under category A1 if of weighing less than 250 grams and in the second category A3 if of weight equal to or superior to 250 grams but less than 25 kg.

We report with EASA credits the infographic on their website relating to situation applicable after 1 January 2024.

All ok, but still with some doubts

Now entering the topic and wanting to analyze carefully, we realized that there are still a series of doubts that unfortunately remain.

In the meantime we must make a first consideration, in the EU 945/2019 and EU 947/2019 regulations in the definitions section we find two different explanations. Not that it can make a big difference in substance, but we believe that a definition should be such and possibly unique.

(28) 'maximum take-off mass' ('MTOM') means the maximum mass of the UA, including load and fuel, defined by the manufacturer or constructor, at which the UA can be operated ; 947/2019
(22) 'maximum take-off mass' ('MTOM') means the maximum mass of the unmanned aircraft, including payload and fuel, as defined by the manufacturer or constructor, at which the aircraft is permitted to be operated without crew;

The question arises precisely from the definition: " MTOM [omissis] defined by the manufacturer or constructor" . Almost all drones without class markings currently on the market, with one exception for the DJI MINI 2SE, do not report the MTOM value, but only talk about weight.

In recent days Dronezine had a clarification on the MTOM issue sent to EASA's email inbox. Which in English means Maximum Take Off Mass.

This is EASA's response to our requests, which arrived yesterday 20 December in our inbox.

Basically they tell us that they have published a page to this link:
and whether we are satisfied with the answer.

As we said at the beginning of the article we are partially satisfied because on the pages in question it is written that:

How can a drone without a class identification label be used after January 1, 2024?

According to EU Regulation 2019/947, from 1 January 2024, you can fly a drone without a class identification label if you operate in the open category:

Subcategory A1: if the drone has a maximum take-off mass of less than 250 g, including the payload;
Subcategory A3: if the drone has a maximum take-off mass of less than 25 kg, including fuel and payload.

For class-marked drones only, manufacturers are responsible for declaring the drone's maximum take-off mass .
This means that when using a drone without a class identification label, the maximum take-off mass is not available.
In this case the remote pilot has the ability to weigh the drone before flight and make sure it is within the limits indicated above.

In the parts we have highlighted we read that ONLY for drones placed on the market with the Classe brand it is the manufacturer's responsibility to declare the MTOM.
In the section where they suggest that the pilot should weigh the drone, we have some doubts.
In the meantime, let's get started this obligation would fall to the manufacturer and not to the pilot who in any case must check before each flight not to exceed the Maximum Take-Off Mass value, but what if it is not known?

Also leaving aside the question of the accuracy of the home scales , let's imagine that even during any field checks during a flight operation, no police officer arrives with his own precision scales and weighs the drone.
If anything, it will verify that all the other requirements exist, but it will certainly not carry out an on-site measurement.
The situation is different in the event of seizure of the drone for other crimes or violations; it could be verified in court and in that case the official scales will be compared with those available to the " pilot " (as EASA writes).
Of course we are speculating, but it is also our job to make all the assumptions.

Then there is the delicate one question relative at insurance which in order to comply with current legislation, practically always report the definition of MTOM and not simply weight.
We at 3Digital in relation to group policies for hobby use offers in agreement to our subscribed members, we will try to speak with the insurer for ensure , pardon the pun, that in unfortunate hypothesis of accident, there are no problems of interpretation and maybe they make it easier for the partner to " quibble " about the weight and MTOM issue.
As soon as we know more, we will be sure to keep you informed.

In fact, this problem will only remain valid for a few years, then the majority of drones will all be placed on the market with the class marking and therefore the interpretation between TOM (Take Off Mass - take-off weight) and MTOM (Maximum Take Off Mass - maximum at takeoff) will end up in a soap bubble.

Speaking of interpretations, on the EASA page in question there is also this disclaimer which we are sure will still leave you with a doubt:

The information contained in this article is to be understood purely as a summary of the Drone Regulations.
It has no legal effect and should not be interpreted as official guidance from the Agency under Article 76 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139.
The Union institutions and the Agency assume no responsibility for its contents. The authentic versions of the relevant acts, including their preambles, are those published in the Official Journal of the European Union and available in EUR-Lex.

In short, what they write on their official website, despite coming from an authoritative source, does not have the force of law. Please refer to the regulations published in the European Official Journal and related regulations.

So will unmarked drones be able to fly like now after January 2024?

If EASA itself doesn't take responsibility for what it writes, I don't see why we at 3Digital should do it.
Wanting to make a logical analysis on the issue, we could state that in fact the take-off weight of a drone with MTOM declared by the manufacturer or the take-off weight of a drone without this value will ultimately be similar both from the point of view of Safety Aerial towards other aircraft in the sky), both from the point of view of Security (Ground Security to safeguard people or property).

In essence, if it is true that the regulator's intentions were to fly drones without class marking in the Open Category, we at 3Digital can also state with some caution that if accidents do not occur, there should be no problems.
Furthermore, the A3 subcategory presupposes a flight at least 150 meters away from residential, recreational, industrial complexes and people, therefore a low-risk operation even if with drones potentially weighing up to 25 kg.
For drones under 250 grams that will be able to continue their activities in the A1 category, the weight considerations made above apply.

Source: dronezine.it
Back to blog