If you are passionate about drones and wondering how you should identify your drone in 2023, you are in the right place. In this article, we’ll break down the importance of the drone registration number, the current regulations and some recommendations from our expert in the field of unmanned aviation. But if you want directly a professional consultancy with us to solve all your doubts on this topic, contact us and we will help you!
What is the “identification plate” of a drone?
The identification plate of a drone, also known as the drone registration plate, is an element that allows to identify the unmanned aircraft and the operator.
What data should it include?
This plate used to include data such as the pilot’s name, ID number, contact details and even some information about the drone, all in order to be able to identify the owner in case of loss or accident. The identification plate had to be made of a metallic and fireproof material.
Current regulations focus on the operator registration number. According to Regulation 2019/947, the operator registration number must be included on all drones that comply with the established conditions.
The regulation does not specify a specific way to place the registration number on the drone, so the operator is given some freedom to choose how to do so. This means that identification plates, stickers, vinyls, QR codes or even writing the number directly on the drone can be used.
Is it mandatory to carry this plate in 2023?
The obligation to carry an identification plate on a drone varies depending on the type or concept of the operation and the legislation, at this point, they are defined as EASA Operations, and NON-EASA Operations.
The new European regulation (Implementing Regulation 947/2019) establishes that drone operators must indicate their registration number on all unmanned aircraft that meet the conditions described in the EU regulation (EASA operations). This means that it is not mandatory to expressly carry fireproof plates as before, but it is necessary to carry the operator registration number on the drone.
In the past, the national regulations in Spain (RD 1036/2017) before the entry of the EU Regulations, all drones weighing less than 25 kg were required to carry fireproof identification plates, along with an equal one on the aircraft’s transmitter. Currently, it is still mandatory to have a fireproof plate with the content and information required by RD1036/2017 in operations that are not covered in the EU Regulations (NON-EASA operations) and are the activities excluded from the scope of Regulation (EU) 2018/ 1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Basic Regulation), among which are activities or by military, customs, police, search and rescue, fire-fighting, border control, coastal surveillance or similar services, under the control and responsibility of a Member State, undertaken in the general interest by or on behalf of a body vested with public authority.
Which drones must be identified according to the regulations?
In most cases, all drones that meet the conditions indicated by the regulations must have the operator’s registration number. Generally, they must have an identification plate on their drone with the operator number:
1. Unmanned aircraft used in the “open” category:
- With an MTOM of 250 gr or higher, or those drones capable of transferring a kinetic energy greater than 80 joules to a human being in the event of a collision.
- Those equipped with a sensor capable of capturing personal data, unless in compliance with Directive 2009/48/EC (“Toys Directive”).
2. Unmanned aircraft used in the “specific” category, regardless of their mass.
If you have doubts about whether you should identify your drone, or about which is the best way to do it, keep in mind that in Grupo UAS we offer aeronautical drone consultancies for pilots, where an expert will advise you in your case.
Where to place the identification on the drone?
Although the regulations do not specify the exact location, it is important to place the identification in a visible and accessible place on the drone. It is most common to place the registration number in an area of the drone where it will not interfere with any moving parts, such as the outside of the body or the landing gear. Some drone manufacturers, such as DJI, provide guidelines for proper placement of the identification.
What material to use?
As we have already mentioned, only for operations that do not belong to air operations linked to EU Regulations, i.e. NON EASA operations, and that still remain mandatory the use of identification plates, these must be made of metal and fireproof material, there are different options and formats in the market, becoming very light, economical and durable. These plates usually allow the inclusion of additional information, such as the pilot’s name and contact number, which can be invaluable in case of loss of the drone.
However, for EASA operations, the Regulations do not strictly define how the format should be, some operators opt to use stickers, vinyl or QR codes. The choice of material depends on personal preference, but durability and visibility are key factors to consider.
In summary, a drone identification plate is an essential element in NON EASA operations. With the implementation of EU Regulations the operator registration number has to be included on the drone. The location of the plate depends on the operator’s preference, but it is important to ensure that it is visible and accessible. With these proper practices, drone operators can enjoy safe and responsible flights. If you still have questions about your drone’s nameplate or would like help with any other issues, please contact us. Aeronautical Drone Consulting].