Distinguishing between categories of operation
As regards the operation of UAS (UAS = Unmanned Aircraft Systems) or drones, as they are called in everyday language, three categories are currently distinguished on the basis of the applicable EU Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (German only):
- ‘Open’ category
- ‘Specific’ category
- ‘Certified’ category
Drone operations are classified in the ‘open’ category, if the drone
- weighs less than 25 kg;
- is not operated over assemblies of people, where ‘assemblies of people’ means gatherings where persons are unable to move away due to the density of the people present;
- is operated at a maximum of 120 m above ground level (AGL);
- is operated in visual line of sight (VLOS) at all times; and
- does not carry persons or dangerous goods.
Drone operations in the ‘open’ category do not require approval and, depending on the specific type of flight planned, are divided into the sub-categories A1, A2 and A3.
Drone operations are classified in the ‘specific’ category, if the drone
- weighs more than 25 kg;
- is operated at an above ground level (AGL) of more than 120 m or in specific airspaces; or
- is operated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Drone operations are classified in the ‘certified’ category if the drone is subject to approval and
- is operated over assemblies of people;
- dangerous goods are carried; or
- persons are carried.