Last week, on 5-6 March 2015, the „Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Framing the future of Aviation” conference took place in Riga, Latvia. The EC Communication on opening the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) market was decisive for process and contents of the event.
The Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Agency of Latvia organized the two-day conference in cooperation with the European Commission. On the conference, the main players involved in the development of RPAS in Europe came together: Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission, civil aviation and data protection authorities and experts of the EU Member States and leaders of the manufacturing industry. The participants worked out principles to guide the regulatory framework for civil RPAS operations in Europe and summarized them in the Riga Declaration on Civil RPAS (Drones).
The main principles listed in the Riga Declaration:
- Drones need to be treated as new types of aircraft with proportionate rules based on the risk of each operation.
- EU rules for the safe provision of drone services need to be developed now.
- Technologies and standards need to be developed for the full integration of drones into the European airspace.
- Public acceptance is key to the growth of drone services.
- The operator of a drone is responsible for its use.
Additionally, Anrijs Matīss, Minister for Transport of Latvia, pointed out that promoting affordable civil RPAS is a project of great opportunity for the European economy, bringing new jobs and innovative services. In conclusion, he emphasizes the importance for EU Member States to work on RPAS regulations for bringing more certainty in the development of the RPAS industry. EU Commissioner Bulc’s speech and the “Drones infographic” provide an impression on the future challenges, but also chances that remotely piloted aircrafts bring for regulators, engineers and businesses in this sector.