Multi-drone mapping for construction planning

GPS SUL Agrimensura, a Brazilian service provider, was commissioned to survey a coastal area of 676 ha / 1,670 ac and gather insights for construction planning.

The goal of the Municipality was to check the industrial development potential and to have enough data for the preparatory and exploration construction phase.

Although the mission seemed simple, the area presented strong and constant winds during the day, so the flight window was 2 hours per day.

GPS Sul Agrimensura team selected the eBee Geo fixed-wing drone because of its great performance even in windy conditions. The reduced flight window per day made them decide to fly multi-drone and collect all the data in just 2 hours.

Results:

Learn more about the challenges and the ROI of the project in this webinar.

U.S. drone regulations – Operations Over People explained

Introduction

In April 2021, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a rule allowing drone Operations Over People (OOP) and Moving Vehicles (OOMV). With the new rule, approved UAS don’t need a waiver to conduct these operations.

AgEagle’s eBee X series drones are the first and only UAVs to date approved by the FAA for OOP and OOMV in the United States under the new rule.

In this guide, AgEagle’s Head of Regulation, Pierre-Alain Marchand, explains the current U.S. regulations for flying over people and over moving vehicles.

Overview U.S. drone regulations for Operations Over People and Moving Vehicles

Drone regulations in the United States. Rule for flying over people (OOP)

The U.S. rule Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Over People is divided into four categories that determine the eligibility and operational conditions under which it is permitted to fly certified drones over people and over moving vehicles:

Category 1

Eligibility

Fly over people (OOP)

Fly over moving vehicles (OOMV)

Drone example

Category 2

Eligibility

Fly over people (OOP)

Fly over moving vehicles (OOMV)

Drone example

Category 3

Eligibility

Fly over people (OOP)

Fly over moving vehicles (OOMV)

Drone example

Category 4

Eligibility

Fly over people (OOP)

Fly over moving vehicles (OOMV)

Drone example

Drones approved for Operations Over People in the U.S.

Drones that can fly over people and conduct operations over people in the United States.

Approved

Currently, AgEagle’s eBee X series drones are the first and only approved sUAS by the FAA for Operations Over People (OOP) and Moving Vehicles (OOMV) in the United States. Moreover, they are Remote ID approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Not eligible

Other professional drones, such as Wingtra, Quantum-Systems, or the DJI M300 RTK drone are not eligible for OOP and OOMV until a change in their design is made (for example, adding a parachute).

Note, however, that adding a parachute increases the weight and hence decreases the flight time. Moreover, parachute mitigation can fail, while mitigation on drone design doesn’t.

Currently, the only assessment protocol approved by the FAA is the one from Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), which doesn’t allow parachutes for impact testing.

Getting a waiver vs. OOP approved drones

Waivers are granted case-by-case for a specific drone, flight location, mission, and more unalterable parameters. If something in the mission changes, a new waiver is needed.

With the new rule, once the aircraft and its potential risk of injury are assessed according to an FAA-accepted method (MOC) and get the OOP approval, the complex waiver process is no longer necessary.

Getting a waiver is still technically possible. However, the number of approved waivers in the U.S. for OOP (107.39) was low in 2022 – only 19, mostly for delivery drones – and it’s expected to continue decreasing in 2023.

Waivers already issued and still in the process are valid. Nevertheless, the renewal procedure can be complex now that a new rule is in place and that the FAA has shown a clear preference for OOP certified drones. 

Moreover, with a waiver, flights over people are generally limited to sparsely populated areas.

WaiverOOP approved drone
GrantedCase-by-case for a specific drone, flight location, mission, and more unalterable parameters.To the drone for all types of flight locations, missions, and parameters within the operational conditions of the rule.
DocumentsSubmit documentation and testing to the FAA and wait for their approval.
 
The paperwork usually takes months. 
An official body assesses the drone.
 
If the aircraft passes the tests and proves no potential risk for people, the drone is OOP approved by the FAA and no longer needs a waiver. 
Need to renew itYes, when the waiver expires or if there are any changes in the mission. No, if drone design remains the same.
DronesWingtra, DJI M300 RTK, Quantum-Systems and many otherseBee X, eBee TAC, eBee Geo

Testing process

eBee X testing process to be the first OOP certified drone in the U.S.
eBee X testing process to be the first OOP certified drone in the U.S. Image: Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership

To be an OOMV and OOP approved drone, the aircraft must undergo thorough testing to demonstrate operational safety around people.

The only approved drones to fly over people in the U.S. are the eBee X series sUAS. The assessment was done by Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (VT MAAP), and it consisted of:

  1. Determination of the Worst-Case Typical Failure (WCTF)
  2. Impact testing
    • 6 crash tests from different angles/directions and comparing the results with the rigid object
  3. Laceration testing

If you want more details about the testing regime, read VT MAAP’s article.

OOP requirements for operators

Pilots that would like to fly over people in the United States must have the following:

Drone geo-zones in the U.S.

Drone geozones in the United States
eMotion, the flight planning software for eBee drones, has the U.S. geo-zones integrated

Drone pilots are responsible for checking outside conditions when planning a mission. The airspace is shared with other aircraft, and the ground has restricted zones, such as prisons or airports, which prohibit flyovers.

In eMotion, the flight planning software for eBee drones, U.S. geo-zones are integrated, making it easier to plan your mission.

For air traffic awareness, the eBee X Ping USB accessory is an ADS-B device that allows the operator to view live air traffic data directly within eMotion.  

Before buying a drone in the U.S.

Purchasing a drone that matches your operational needs while bearing in mind U.S. drone regulation compliance can greatly simplify your operations. We strongly recommend that you check:

For more information about the U.S. or other drone regulations, contact us directly at regulatory@ageagle.com

Drone vocabulary for U.S. OOP

OOP – Drone Operations Over People

OOMV – Drone Operations Over Moving Vehicles

BVLOS – Flights Beyond Visual Line of Sight

sUAS – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Synonyms: UAS, UAV, drone.

FAA – Federal Aviation Administration of the United States. The agency regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country.

Remote ID – UAS remote identification. A drone with Remote ID built-in and approved by the FAA, like the eBee X, provides identification and location information during the flight. This electronic license plate ensures public safety and reduces security risks by notifying other aircraft of the UAV’s identity, position and altitude. All drone pilots are required to fly Remote ID-compliant drones from September 2023.

Waiver – Official document issued by the FAA which approves certain aircraft operations. You may request to fly specific drone operations not allowed under Part 107 or when the drone is not OOP certified by requesting an operational waiver.

Part 107 – The FAA Part 107 is the regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. In order to fly your drone under the sUAS Rule (Part 107), you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.

MOC – Means of Compliance. Testing method to prove operational drone safety around people. The FAA must approve the MOC. The method evaluation process includes drone failure mode and safety defect assessment, impact and laceration testing, and more. 

DOC – Declaration of Compliance. Form submitted to the FAA page where the manufacturer declares that the drone complies with the MOC. Besides the form, the manufacturer must submit the testing report (received by the testing center) and the user manual for OOP. The DOC is necessary for final OOP drone approval.

Geo-zone – Information on the geographical zones that a drone can fly over. Generally excluded geo-zones are prisons, airports and other national security key points.  

ADS-B – Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast technology. Live air traffic device.   

DISCLAIMER

AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc provides this information for informational purposes only. The texts, graphics, images, and references don’t constitute legal advice. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no guarantees. AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. is not liable for the actions taken based on this document’s information.

European Union drone regulations explained

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of the current European drone regulations
  3. In detail – Operation categories
    1. Open Category
      1. Transition period: Limited Open Category
      2. Open Category
      3. Main differences Limited Open Category vs. Open Category
      4. eBee drones C2 certified and non-certified
    2. Specific Category
    3. Certified Category
  4. Before buying a drone
  5. Additional content on EU drone regulations

Introduction

On 1 January 2021, the European Commission harmonized civil drone regulations across the following countries: European Union’s 27-Member States + Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland (process ongoing), and United Kingdom (partially).

The regulations require all operators of drones above 250 g to register with their country’s National Aviation Authority (NAA). This can be where the operator lives or at their principal place of business. This registration is valid for the period defined by the NAA.

Once registered, the operator receives a registration number that must be displayed on all its drones and uploaded onto the remote identification system. This number is recognized in all European Union member states.

AgEagle’s Head of Regulation Pierre-Alain Marchand explains the current European drone regulations in this blog post.

Overview of the current European drone regulations

EU drone regulations overview

The European regulatory framework (2019/945 and 2019/947) takes an operation risk-based approach, which considers the drone’s weight, technical and safety specifications and the type of operation being conducted.

There are three categories of drone operations in the EU regulations:

Certified Category

Specific Category

Open Category (including transitional Limited Open Category)

In detail – EU drone regulations operation categories

Open Category

The Open Category for low-risk operations is composed of:

Both are for UAS under 25 kg and have the following operational limitations: max. flight altitude 120 m AGL and visual line of sight (VLOS) flights.

Operations in the Open Category do not require authorization from a National Aviation Authority (NAA) because they are considered low risk.  ​

Transition period: Limited Open Category
European drone regulations Limited Open Category overview

To give drone manufacturers time to certify their drones for the Open Category, a Limited Open Category transition period is in effect until December 2023.

This Limited Open Category is composed of three subcategories based on the drone’s maximum take-off weight including payload (MTOW):

A1 subcategory – For drones below 500 g MTOW

A2 subcategory – For drones below 2 kg MTOW – eBee X series

A3 subcategory – Drones between 2 kg and 25 kg MTOW – WingtraOne GEN II VTOL, Quantum Trinity F90+ eVTOL and DJI Matrice 300 RTK

Open Category
European drone regulations Open Category overview

The drone entries this category once assessed by a Notified Body and granted with one of the class identifications C0, C1, C2, C3, C4. The higher the class number, the greater the operational limitations. The drone manufacturer is responsible for certifying the drones.

The Open Category is subdivided into:

COMPARISON: C2-A2 vs C3-A3

The most common class identifications for professional drones are C2 and C3, operating in Open Category A2 and A3.

C2 class drone flying in subcategory A2 – e.g. eBee X series

  • Drones between 900 g and 4 kg.
  • No flight over uninvolved people.
  • 30 m horizontal distance from uninvolved people.
  • Can fly in residential, commercial, and industrial areas.

C3 class drone flying in subcategory A3 – e.g. WingtraOne GEN II VTOL, Quantum Trinity F90+ eVTOL and DJI Matrice 300 RTK

  • Drones between 4 kg and 25 kg.
  • No flight near people nor residential, commercial, and industrial areas.
  • 150 m horizontal distance from uninvolved people.
  • Operational capability limited to remote areas.
European drone regulations comparison VTOL and fixed-wing
Main differences Limited Open Category vs. Open Category
Limited Open CategoryOpen Category
DatesUntil December 2023January 2021 onwards
Operational subcategoriesA1, A2, A3A1, A2, A3
Class identification labelsN/AC0, C1, C2, C3, C4
Classification procedureOperational subcategory assigned automatically based on:

– Drone’s maximum take-off weight including payload (MTOW)

Classification label obtained following conformity assessment by a Notified Body based on:

– Drone weight with payload
– Operation risks
– Drone safety & technical requirements
eBee X seriesFor eBee X series drones on the market that have not undergone the C2 update.

A2 subcategory
Do not fly over uninvolved people. Maintain a horizontal distance of 50 m from uninvolved people.

All eBee X series drones C2 certified shipped in Europe by AgEagle from September 2022.

C2 class flying in A2 subcategory
Do not fly over uninvolved people. Maintain a horizontal distance of 30 m from uninvolved people.
Drones above 4 kg
e.g. Wingtra, Quantum Systems and DJI Matrice 300 RTK

A3 subcategory (>2 kg)

Do not fly near or over people. Fly at least 150 m away from people and residential, commercial, or industrial areas.

C3 class flying in A3 subcategory (>4 kg)

Do not fly near people. Fly outside urban, residential, commercial, and industrial areas, at 150 m distance.
eBee drones C2 certified and non-certified

All eBee X, eBee Ag and eBee Geo drones shipped in Europe by AgEagle from September 2022, include the C2 label at no extra cost.  

For eBee X series drones already in the market, we will provide customers with an option to be C2 compliant by December 2023, when the Limited Open Category concludes.

Operational advantages of C2 drones:

If your business operations require flying BVLOS, OOP, or near residential, commercial, industrial, or recreational areas – not accessible to heavy VTOLs and quadcopters – you can now benefit from the regulatory advantages of C2 lightweight drones by upgrading to an eBee fixed-wing UAS.   

For more information contact us at regulatory@ageagle.com.  

Specific Category

This category applies to drone operations which pose a level of risk not covered under the Open Category, such as extended visual line of sight operations (EVLOS), beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), operations over people (OOP), or package delivery.

One of four procedures should be followed to operate in this category, for all of which the drone operator is required to obtain a National Aviation Authority (NAA) authorization:

Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA): The suggested method for eBee users, as they benefit from a simplified process thanks to eBee X series drones M2 Ground Risk Class (GCR) mitigation. Drone operators are required to perform a risk appraisal using the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) methodology. This 10-step process defines the risk of the mission, that will be assessed by the NAA. For more info on SORA, read here.

The eBee X series drones are the industry’s first UAVs to receive a Design Verification Report from EASA on the M2 Ground Risk Class (GRC) mitigation, a step in the SORA process to obtain BVLOS and OOP approval.

As a result, eBee X operators benefit from a simplified SORA authorization process by having a lower ground risk score without needing additional verification from EASA.

Predefined Risk Assessment (PDRA): This is an assessment to conduct basic advanced operations (such as EVLOS at 120 m / 150 m) in Europe, with a scenario already covered by one of the EASA published PDRAs. Because the risk of the operation is lower, instead of conducting a full risk assessment, the operator will have to provide some documentation to support the application for NAA authorization.

Standard Scenario (STS): Upcoming. Analogous to the PDRA, but the drone must have a class marking (C5 or C6). The mission is conducted under a predefined operation published by the EASA. The operator must submit an operation declaration to the NAA where he/she is registered and await confirmation.

Note: Upcoming class identification C5 and C6 will be available for Standard Scenarios. When available, the eBee X series will apply to obtain C6 certification for BVLOS operations with airspace observers over a controlled ground area in a sparsely populated environment (STS-02).

Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC): Rare certificate to which only organizations can apply after filling the requirements. It’s mainly for repetitive missions with the same operational characteristics. Organizations with a LUC certificate can self-assess the operation’s risk and self-authorize it under their responsibility.

Certified Category

Operations that fall under the Certified Category are those that are believed to pose the highest risk because they would likely involve the transportation of people or dangerous goods, envisioned for air taxis or cargo drones.

Before buying a drone

Purchasing a drone that matches your operational needs and with EU drone regulation compliance in mind can simplify your operation processes. We strongly recommend that you check:

For more information about the EU or other drone regulations, contact us directly at regulatory@ageagle.com

DISCLAIMER

AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc provides this information for informational purposes only. The texts, graphics, images, and references don’t constitute legal advice. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no guarantees. AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. is not liable for the actions taken based on this document’s information.

Additional content

Video

EU drone regulations – SORA explained

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Introduction
  2. New EU drone regulations framework
  3. Three operational categories
  4. What is SORA?
  5. Ground Risk Class (GRC)
    1. Reducing your final Ground Risk Class
  6. Air Risk Class (ARC)
  7. Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL)
  8. Operational Safety Objective (OSO)
  9. Helpful resources
  10. SORA approved customers
  11. Additional content on EU drone regulations

Introduction

In Europe, new regulations and processes are being established to ensure Flights Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and Operations Over People (OOP) are conducted safely and responsibly. These advanced drone operations are very efficient options for collecting large amounts of data quickly, but they also come with extra safety and logistical considerations.

AgEagle’s Head of Regulation Pierre-Alain Marchand explains in this blog post the main steps to achieve a SORA authorization to conduct BVLOS and OOP missions under the European drone regulations.

Do you prefer to watch it online? European drone regulations – SORA explained

New EU drone regulations framework

On January 1, 2021, the European Union (EU) started standardizing civil drone regulations across the continent. Prior to this date, drone regulations differed from country to country. By standardizing the rules, the EU aims to make drone operations easier and safer for everyone.

The new rules replace each European Union state’s existing laws and apply to all drone operators. This allows a drone pilot to operate in all the member states, once he or she is registered in one of these countries.

The EU drone regulation is applicable in these 27 European Union member states:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden

Plus: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland (ongoing), UK (partial adoption).

Three operational categories

The EU drone regulation is divided into three categories, Open, Specific and Certified, each detailing accessibility based on the characteristics of the drone platform in use and type of operation.

Certified Category – designated for higher-risk operations such as the delivery of dangerous goods with a drone.

Specific Category – designated for advanced operations such as flying Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS), Operations Over People (OOP), flying multiple drones in fleet, and more.

Open Category – designated for low-risk operations such as Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) flights under 120 m in altitude.

EU drone regulations overview

If your operation can’t be conducted in the Open Category or is not falling under a standard scenario of the Specific Category, you will require approval from your National Aviation Authority (NAA) according to the SORA methodology.

What is SORA?

SORA stands for Specific Operations Risk Assessment. It’s a 10-step risk process within the EU Specific Category to define the safety requirements to conduct your OOP and BVLOS operations.

In this article, we will focus on 4 SORA crucial steps: 

Ground Risk Class (GRC)

SORA contains the following table that you can use to determine the ground risk of your operation.

1. Check the characteristics of your drone, such as size and kinetic energy. This will determine which column of the table your operation will fall.

With its size and cruise speed, the eBee X falls into the first column on the left (1 m / approx. 3 ft).

2. Define the operational scenario (BVLOS / VLOS, populated area / sparsely populated / gathering of people, etc.) This will define in which row of the table your operation will fall.

3. The intersection of the column and row will give you your Ground Risk Class value.

Example: Let’s say you want to do a BVLOS operation over a populated area – your initial ground risk would be 5 as seen in the first column.

Your drone platform of choice can provide you with some benefits through Ground Risk mitigation. See below.

Reducing your final Ground Risk Class (GRC)

It’s possible to reduce the Ground Risk Class with the mitigation M1, M2 and M3.

M1 is a strategic mitigation put into place by the pilot in command before the operation.

M2 – is based on the drone design, you need to prove that the drone has a low risk in case of collision.

M3 – is dependent on the operator’s emergency response plan.

As an industry-leading manufacturer, we have worked with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to get an M2 mitigation of -1 or -2 (depending on the payload) for eBee X, eBee Geo and eBee Ag drones. Through continued work with EASA, we expect to achieve a higher max flight altitude for -2 in the near future.

The EASA design verification report for M2 mitigation demonstrates that the eBee drones meet the highest possible quality and ground risk safety standards and, thanks to its lightweight design, effects of ground impact are reduced. As such, drone operators conducting advanced drone operations in the 27 European Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland can obtain the HIGH (-2) or MEDIUM (-1) robustness levels of the M2 mitigation without additional verification from EASA.

Example: Going back to our initial Ground Risk of 5, with M2 mitigation, you could reach a Ground Risk as low as 3 for BVLOS operations over a populated area.

Air Risk Class (ARC)

The next step in the process is the Air Risk Assessment. You’ll need to determine which Air Risk Class your operation is conducted in:

ARC – a – If you’re operating in restricted airspace (for example, if a NOTAM is in place).
ARC – b – If you operate in uncontrolled airspace over a rural area.
ARC – c – If you operate in uncontrolled airspace over an urban area.
ARC – d – If you operate in controlled airspace.

It’s important to note that for BVLOS operations in ARC categories b, c, or d, you will need a solution to see and avoid air traffic.

Example: A BVLOS operation with the eBee X that will be conducted over an urban area will fall within the ARC – c.

Similar to the Ground Risk, it’s possible to reduce the initial Air Risk to ARC – b (rural) if traffic is lower than expected. For example, because manned aviation is rare at low altitudes above cities.

Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL)

Next, you’ll determine the SAIL level of your operation based on the Ground Risk Class (GRC) and the Air Risk Class (ARC).

Example: Using our earlier designations of Ground Risk Class 3 and Air Risk of ARC – b, you can see that the SAIL level would be II, which remains easy to achieve.

There are alternative methods to approval, however, they are not as simple.

Without our mitigation, the SAIL level would be IV, making it more difficult because it requires several months of work and an expensive review of the design by the EASA.

With a larger drone and without mitigation the SAIL level would be a V, making it extremely difficult because you will require a full certification of your solution.

Operational Safety Objective (OSO)

Once you have your SAIL level determined, you need to prove that you comply with each Operational Safety Objective (OSO).

A different level of justification is required based on the SAIL of your operation:

O = Optional
L = Low 
M = Medium
H = High

Finally, we’re able to leverage our SAIL II classification to determine the level of operational safety objectives.

Example: Referencing the above chart using our SAIL II classification, OSO 7 states that light inspection of the UAS (product inspection) is required to ensure consistency with the Concept of Operations (ConOps).

Helpful resources

You’ll need several documents to request authorization from your National Aviation Authority. We’ve created a comprehensive list of document templates that makes the application process smoother for eBee owners:

ConOps – You’ll need to describe when and where you’ll fly, the procedures, your training and details about the drone you’ll use.

Document templates – To facilitate the process and save you tens of hours of paperwork, we’ve prepared a set of documentation you can adapt for your own SAIL I or SAIL II operation.

Direct contact – For more information or to request document templates, contact us at regulatory@ageagle.com.

SORA approved customers

There have already been some early adopters of SORA, who have taken advantage of the eBee X M2 mitigation when seeking approvals from their National Aviation Authorities.

Safe Drone Academy is based in Ireland and has been approved for VLOS over populated areas.

Romania-based SysCAD Solutions is approved for BVLOS operations over sparsely populated and populated areas.

DISCLAIMER

AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc provides this information for informational purposes only. The texts, graphics, images, and references don’t constitute legal advice. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no guarantees. AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. is not liable for the actions taken based on this document’s information.

Additional content

GuideAdvanced drone operations: BVLOS, OOP, multi-drone

Video

5 reasons to fly a fixed-wing drone
eBee X series drones are world first to receive EASA’s C2 certificate

 AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. announces that eBee XeBee Geo and eBee Ag are the first commercial drones to be designated with the C2 class identification label in accordance with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. As of August 22, 2022, drone operators flying C2 labeled eBees will be able to conduct missions in the “Open Category”, with all the advantages that this entails.  

The C2 certification allows the eBee X series, with correct labelling, to fly at a horizontal distance of 30 meters from uninvolved people. By contrast, heavy drones like VTOLs or quadcopters must maintain a distance of 150 meters from people and any residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas, limiting their operational capabilities to remote zones.  

According to Barrett Mooney, Chairman and CEO of AgEagle, “When compared to the weight and safety profiles of other competitive commercial drones, only the eBee are cleared to fly commercial operations near people with the C2 class identification label. This represents a huge market differential for our customers in Europe, that will be able to operate around populated areas without any formal permission or regulatory waiver”. 

In addition, the eBee X series are also the industry’s first drones (June 2022) to receive a Design Verification Report (DVR) from EASA on M2 Ground Risk Mitigation for the European “Specific Category” to conduct BVLOS and Operations Over People (OOP). The DVR paves the way for European drone operators to seek approvals from their applicable National Aviation Authorities. 

To be designated as a C2 aircraft, eBees underwent rigorous testing and evaluation by the accredited laboratory NavCert GmbH to confirm that they meet specific EASA criteria. C2 class aircraft must weigh less than 4 kg / 8.8 lbs maximum takeoff weight (MTOM), have remote ID and geo-awareness, and be compliant with the safety and manufacturing standards of the European Union. 

Marcel Visser, Managing Director of NavCert GmbH, stated, “We congratulate AgEagle on this important achievement, and we wish them a high market share for the eBee X series drones. We are grateful that NavCert has been selected as the Notified Body (NB 2603) to assess the eBee X series fixed-wing drones for the CE mark. Our background in the aviation industry and the development of the EN 4709 standard has been essential to performing the technical assessments required in the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 on unmanned aircraft systems. We will continue to ensure the required level of quality and safety for drone operations in the European Union”.  

All eBee X, eBee Ag and eBee Geo drones shipped by AgEagle company, from September 2022, will include the C2 label at no extra cost.  

If your business operations require flying BVLOS, OOP, or near residential, commercial, industrial, or recreational areas – not accessible to heavy VTOLs and quadcopters – you can now benefit from the regulatory advantages of C2 lightweight drones by upgrading to an eBee fixed-wing UAS.   

For more information contact us at info@ageagle.com  

About AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. 

Through its three centers of excellence, AgEagle is actively engaged in designing and delivering best-in-class flight hardware, sensors and software that solve important problems for its customers. Founded in 2010, AgEagle was originally formed to pioneer proprietary, professional-grade, fixed-winged drones and aerial imagery-based data collection and analytics solutions for the agriculture industry. Today, AgEagle is a leading provider of full stack drone solutions for customers worldwide in the energy, construction, agriculture, and government verticals. For additional information, please visit our website at www.ageagle.com.  

About NavCert GmbH. 

NavCert is the first laboratory ever accredited in Europe in the field of GNSS. The firm provides worldwide technical services, verification, validation, and voluntary certification services in the areas of precise positioning, navigation, velocity and timing. NavCert is accredited as certification body for the assessing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS) and is a Notified Body (NB 2603) of the German Federal Office of Civil Aeronautics for the EU Type Examination and Certification of fixed-wing, VTOL and multicopter UAS in classes C0 to C6 in the Open Category according to the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945. NavCert chairs the coordination group of notified bodies for UAS. These activities are complemented by GAP analysis of specification and documentation and pre-testing.   

Advanced drone operations: unlocking the technology’s full potential
Flying multi-drone around the world: customer stories
In this webinar you will learn:

 

Drones as a simple tool? Integrating UAS into advanced operations workflow

It’s no secret that advanced drone operations bring a robust return on investment, but how easy are they to implement into your workflow? We sat down with Michael Blake, AgEagle Product Manager, to discuss if Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) should be considered a simple tool or if in-depth training and education are needed to become a compliant advanced drone operator.

Next level operations

As drones have become more accessible, advanced drone operations are gaining momentum. So, what do we mean by advanced drone operations? Generally, they are operations including flights Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), Operations Over People (OOP), and flying multiple drones as part of a fleet. These operations are very efficient for collecting data, but they come with extra safety and logistical considerations as they are considered more complex.

For instance, you usually need more forward planning and permissions from the relevant authorities to show that your drone can fly safely, in line with local legislation. You also typically need a drone capable of longer flight times. So, the debate on whether drones are a simple tool or require serious piloting skills is more important than ever to ensure safety. 

Airspace and drones: ensuring safety

With more aircraft in the air than ever before, drone pilots need to think outside their operations and be mindful of other air traffic. Knowing how to operate drones is just one aspect of integrating drones into workflows; it is also important to use them safely and responsibly. 

Across the globe, the rules for flying drones vary widely from country to country, often needing different waivers to be completed – to varying levels of training. Drone operators are responsible for learning new skills and understanding the regulatory landscape as legislation evolves.

There are widespread preconceptions in the aviation industry that drones can pose risks to other aircraft in the same airspace. Similarly, without an in-depth understanding, it may appear that no flying skills are needed – since there is not a pilot on board. This makes it more important to break down the barriers to help ensure safety, as well as smooth integration into airspace, allowing drones and other aircraft to comfortably co-exist.

eBee drone training in the field

Choosing drone technology wisely

Operators need to feel comfortable in terms of usage, safety, responsibility, reliability and transportability. Fixed-wing UAVs, like the eBee X, are ideal for BVLOS flights. They’re lightweight and easy to operate, making them safe, with efficient batteries and airframes, which means they can map mid-to large-scale areas with ease. These UAS also have hundreds of thousands of operational flight hours and safety testing, which can help streamline and accelerate BVLOS waiver approvals.

An effective pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight troubleshooting strategy is key to integrating drones into workflows, as well as carrying a high-quality set of spare parts. Not forgetting a consistent level of training to help maintain knowledge and follow any recent updates.

A bright future: overcoming barriers

Drone integration into advanced operations will continue to evolve as regulations change around the world. Currently, limited understanding and commonly held perceptions are barriers for adopting UAVs into workflows. 

With the right system and training, drones are safe, responsible and easy to use, integrating seamlessly into workflows and airspaces with other aircraft well, to provide a range of benefits.

There is still work to be done to increase awareness and improve drone training – both within the industry and wider society. But the positive steps that have been taken in recent years look set to propel fixed-wings into the future for many years to come. 

To continue your training and become an eBee expert with our Certified Operator program, visit: https://www.senseflyacademy.com/

Fixed-wing drone vs. VTOL
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