- DJI has become the first drone manufacturer in the world to receive the C1 Class Rating.
- DJI Mavic 3 granted C1 Class certification by TÜV Rheinland, an official Notified Body permitted to certify unmanned aerial vehicles for EASA.
- C1 Class rating currently only applies in the European Economic Area (EAA) and a firmware update will be required.
- UK CAA does not have the infrastructure necessary to move to class marked UAS by the end of the transitional period, and an extension is to be expected.
DJI has just become the first drone manufacturer in the world to receive the C1 Class certification under new European drone regulations, with the DJI Mavic 3 being the first drone to receive this class rating.
This new C1 class rating will allow the Mavic 3 to be flown within subcategory A1 of the Open Category while operating in EU countries.
TÜV Rheinland is the official Notified Body who certified the Mavic 3 for A1 Operation on behalf of EASA. The UK CAA currently lacks the necessary infrastructure and has no official assessment bodies to certify drones, so this C1 Class rating will not be valid for operation in the UK. - heliguy™ are reaching out to the CAA to ascertain whether or not they will approve this in the UK but we are currently awaiting comment.
Drone Flight Categories
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) developed new European drone regulations when the UK was part of the EASA, and the UK Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) has also adopted very similar drone flight classification rules based on the existing EU regulations, and while the certification is not valid yet, we would expect a similar C1 Class rating from the CAA once the infrastructure and assessment bodies are in place.
Current UK regulations separate drone flights into 3 different categories, based on the risks involved in any given flight.
Open: Presents low risk to third parties. An authorisation from the CAA is not required.
Specific: More complex operations or aspects of the operation fall outside the boundaries of the Open Category. Authorisation is required from the CAA.
Certified: Very complex operations, presenting an equivalent risk to that of manned aviation. UK regulations relating to the Certified Category are still being developed and are not yet published. Until unique UAS regulations are available, the principles set out in the relevant manned aviation regulations for airworthiness, operations and licensing will be used as the basis for regulating the Certified Category.
Mavic 3 flights in A1 Subcategory
The new C1 classification allows for flights with the DJI Mavic 3 within the A1 Subcategory of the Open category, where it would previously have been operated in either the A3 or A2 Subcategory.
The A1 Subcategory also allows greater freedoms in terms of pilot certification, with only drone registration and an online test required to operate within this category. Previously the Mavic 3 drone would have to been limited to the A2 Subcategory, even with a relevant A2 Certificate of Competency Drone Training qualification.
UK CAA Class Markings and Extension to the Transitional Period
When the UK left the EU, it also left the EASA, with the UK CAA adopting many of the same rules and regulations, and adopted the same transitional period from non-class marked UAS which ends 1 January 2023.
The UK CAA does not currently have the necessary assessment bodies or infrastructure in place to move away from non-class marked UAS, to class marked UAS, by 1 January 2023, and because of this, has recently launched a consultation process on a proposed extension to the transitional period, which asked for public feedback on changes and extensions to the transitional period.
The result of this consultation was that an overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of extending the transitional period, and wanted to extend that period for 24 months or more.
To that end, the UK CAA have recommended to the DfT (Department for Transport) that:
- All provisions should be extended indefinitely and the class marking scheme should be re-evaluated
- A larger investigation into the current UAS Open Category regulatory framework and what is most suitable for the United Kingdom
- An extension should be indefinite at least until the consumer can purchase Class Marked UAS on the open market
- At that point, consideration could be given to the re-introduction of a transitional period to ensure that the regulated community has a suitable amount of time to naturally phase out older UAS whilst at the same time having the option to purchase Class Marked UAS
Read the full consultation response on the CAA Website: CAP2367: Consultation Response: Extending the provisions for Legacy and Transitional Category UAS
Learn more about UK Drone Laws on the blog, or browse and buy DJI Mavic 3 drones and accessories online at heliguy™.