EASA issues first 'Defined Drone Operations to Volocopter 200-2
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has issued the first certificate in a new scheme under which drone manufacturers or operators can request the Agency’s design verification for a drone to be used for a particular purpose initially awarded to Volocopter for its VC200-2. Additionally, with the certificate, the drone can now be operated in a clearly delimited low-risk area, even if this zone is located close to an area where drone operations are at higher risk, such as a city or sports stadium.
A design verification report approves a drone for a particular type of usage, meaning that any European operator may apply to the national aviation authority for an operational authorisation in the specific category to conduct that activity with such drone, without the need for further additional verification from EASA. This process was outlined in EASA guidelines for the design verification of drones published on April 8, 2021.
Similarly, when the national competent authority grants a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) to a UAS operator, they should specify in the terms of the approval when the use of a UAS with an EASA design verification is required. In those cases, EASA performs a design verification. Its scope can cover one or more of the following points:
— the full design of the UAS;
— the mitigation means linked with the design;
— the enhanced containment function. Upon a satisfactory verification of the design, EASA issues a design verification report to the applicant, including the limitations and conditions for its validity. The conditions will be those linked with the
An applicant will be responsible for those aspects of the design which were in the scope of the verification of compliance.
For example, an applicant may wish to install a parachute on a UA manufactured by a third organisation in order to gain credit for the ground risk (according to the M2 mitigation means of SORA). In this case, EASA would only verify that the design of the parachute and its installation provide the operational integrity of the mitigation means. The applicant will show compliance for the mitigation functions and not for the full design of the UAS.
When applying for a design verification, the applicant should provide at least the following minimum set of data:
— a detailed description of the design, including all the configurations to be verified;
— a risk assessment according to SORA and the CONOPS that will include:
— the proposed operating characteristics and limitations;
— the intended use of the product and the kind of operations for which the design verification is requested;
— the relevant parts of the CONOPS that drive design aspects;
— the characterisation of the operational volume and ground buffers in terms of both the ground and air risks;
— the identified ground risk class, air risk class and SAIL; and
— any applicable restrictions, limitations, or assumptions about adjacent areas and design-related mitigation means which may influence the applicable specification or the means of compliance.
— the design verification basis;
— a design verification programme for the demonstration of compliance, including a proposal for the means of compliance (MoC) and the related compliance documents.
— a project schedule, including the major milestones
The Volocopter is designed to be flown as a manned drone, remotely, or autonomously in order to transport people or cargo from place to place. At the heart of its design are 18 rotors that operate on two different circuits. The rotors create an unusually reliable system that contributes to the Volocopter’s ability to take off and land vertically, as well as fly reliably and safely.
These 18 rotors and their accompanying motors, however, are just the beginning of the design features the Volocopter offers. The drone can also be propelled either completely electrically with the use of batteries, or with a hybrid system. To this end, it can be charged in about 2 hours and flown for about 20 to 30 minutes before needing to be charged again. Because of this aspect of its design, the Volocopter flies quietly. The result is an overall more pleasing flying experience.
Parnda Hedima is a Business, Aviation & Research Consultant who is a member of the National Business Aviation Association. Experimental Aircraft Association, & Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association.
For more information on how Business Aviation can support your Operations and Activities please contact us or call us on (239) 227-5768. We can facilitate your Business Aircraft Purchase.