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CE Marking and Class Marking for Drones

Do you know what CE marking is? After the latest changes in the regulations, it has become a factor to be taken into account for those who fly drones and use them in their projects. Drones must be equipped with a direct remote identification system (DRI).

Here we tell you everything you need to know about it and how these changes will affect you from January 1st 2024.

If you still have doubts, we can have a personalized advice with an expert professional, please contact us.

The CE mark is required to classify products sold in the European Economic Area (EEA). The mark is used to verify that a product meets the health, safety and environmental standards required to be marketed throughout the EU. Only products that have been issued the CE mark can be sold in the EU.

EASA Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 will be mandatory for all drones in Europe as of January 1st 2024. This document develops the regulatory framework required for all open category unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) intended to operate within European airspace and describes the rules and conditions under which UAS can be operated depending on their type and the required remote identification specifications. This defines what level of Class C the drone will require.

Drone Categories and Classification

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, published on May 24th 2019, defines UAS into three main categories – Open, Specific and Certified. These categories identify the operational level of risk within the airspace. 

In a classification based on operational risk, three categories of UAS are differentiated:

  • Open: Low risk, operations without prior authorizations or declarations. Divided into 3 subcategories (A1, A2 and A3).
  • Specific: Medium risk. Operations requiring prior authorization from the authority or prior declaration from the operator in the case of standard scenarios.
  • Certified: High risk. Operations requiring prior certification of the UAS and the operator, in addition to remote pilot license.

Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 divides drones into 7 classes (C0 – C6). These classes determine the certification requirements for Class Marking and notify the operator whether remote identification is required in each case.

How to define the category

Open category

Drones in the open category are classified by the identification labels C0, C1, C2, C3, C4. The open category applies to all drones with a total weight of less than 25 kg. Drone operators must keep the UAS in line of sight (VLOS) and maintain a safe distance from people depending on the aircraft and Class marking. During flight, the UAS must remain at a maximum height of 120 m above the ground surface and may not overfly crowds or gatherings of people. Drones in this category are prohibited from carrying dangerous goods or dropping any materials. All drones in the open category must be CE marked.

As of January 1 st, UAS marketed to operate in open category will belong to one of the following classes:

  • C0 with MTOM < 250 grams
  • C1 with MTOM < 900 grams or < 80 Joules of impact
  • C2 with MTOM < 4 kg
  • C3 and C4 with < 25 kg

The rest of drones without class marking, with certain restrictions, may be operated in subcategory A1 provided they have a MTOM < 250 g or in A3 if they are less than 25 kg.

Specific category

The specific category comprises those UAS operations with a medium risk that cannot be performed in the open category.

Prior to the performance of aerial operations in specific category with drones it is necessary for an operator registered in Spain to request and obtain an operational authorization issued by the Spanish Aviation Safety State Agency (hereinafter AESA) or to submit a Declaration regarding an operation that fits a standard scenario.

European standard scenarios. There are two classes of UAS for European standard operational scenarios (STS) in specific category, both with MTOM <25kg:

  • C5, which allows operations in STS-01: VLOS (pilot line of sight) over a controlled ground area in a populated environment).
  • C6, which allows operations in STS-02: BVLOS (beyond visual range of the pilot) over a controlled ground area in a sparsely populated environment.

As of January 1st 2024, UAS operators will be able to submit declarations of conformity with the European standard scenarios listed in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, but there are currently no aircraft with Class C5 marking in marking, thus allowing them to operate in national standard scenarios.

National standard scenarios. From January 1st 2024 until August 30th 2024, UAS operators may continue to submit declarations of compliance with the national standard scenarios (STS-ES) published by EASA. These declarations will be valid and may be operated in accordance with the declarations until December 31 th 2025, when the European STS scenarios will definitely enter into force in a generalized manner.

Direct Remote Identification System (DRI)

Those operators who wish to fly drones in open category (A1, A2 and A3) with class marking (C1, C2 and C3) as well as those who wish to operate in specific category (under national and European standard scenario or under authorization) as of January 1st 2024, must be equipped with a Direct Remote Identification system (DRI). 

In connection with this requirement, drones must have a unique serial number according to ANSI/CTA-2063-A-2019. 

As of January 1st 2024, the direct remote identification system (DRI) requirement already applies, which shall:

  • Allow uploading of the UAS operator’s registration number.
  • Transmit periodically, at a minimum:
    • UAS operator registration number.
    • Unique serial number of the drone.
    • Timestamp, the geographical position of the UA and its height above the surface or takeoff point.
    • Trajectory measured clockwise from geographic north and the speed of the UAS relative to the ground.
    • Geographic position of the remote pilot.
    • Indication of the UAS emergency situation.
  • Reduce the ability to manipulate the operation of the direct remote identification system.

Some companies have already put on the market modules that offer a direct remote identification system, providing the “EU Declaration of Conformity”.

We have for sale and distribution the devices of the manufacturer DRONETAG. To request information on these devices, please contact us.

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