On June 20 the first Commercial UAV Expo Europe will open its doors to its attendees in Brussels, Belgium. The complete program was announced last week and I must admit that the list of presenters and exhibitors promises a very exciting event.
Of particular interest are the presentations related to BVLOS and the regulatory framework on the different European countries and the challenges of having a coherent pan-European set of rules and regulations. In previous articles we have addressed the pressure that the FAA is receiving in this country from manufacturers and user’s groups alike to extend current Part 107 to include flights BVLOS and to move one step closer to full integration of manned and unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace.
The European situation is no different. The specific case presented by Fabrice Vollux and Francois Gervaix, “BVLOS Mapping of a Pipeline Corridor” is a clear example of what can be done when UAV technology is allowed beyond artificial constraints. Regulators will be paying attention to this case and many others that illustrate the benefits of a safely integrated airspace.
To this effect, Commercial UAV Expo Europe will gather an impressive group of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems associations) representatives from Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Portugal. It is important to note that on June 13, just a week before Commercial UAV Expo Europe, the European association of RPAS will hold its 19th consecutive annual “RPAS Regulatory, Policy and Innovation Forum” in the same city of Brussels.
This gathering of European UAV associations and regulators will focus mainly on safety and the current state of the regulatory framework by country and in Europe in general. In attendance will be RPAS associations from every country in the continent but also UAV associations from other countries as far away as Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Canada, South Africa and South Korea.
Apart from these private organizations, there will be representatives from government agencies such as the European Space Agency, The European Parliament and EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency which on May 5 published a formal proposal to operate small drones in Europe. The proposal provides a clear framework for the safe operation of drones while still allowing the industry to remain responsive to innovation and growth. The proposal makes emphasis on the risk to people on the ground and to manned aircraft in the vicinity of the drone flight.
With these two important events happening within a week of each other we can be assured that at the end of June the international UAV community will have a better picture of the status of the regulatory framework in Europe in particular and perhaps the world, given the multi-continent nature of the events.