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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Hunt MBE

CAP1789 April Update

The following text is an extract of the introduction to the revised CAP1789. The full version can be found here.

The April update of CAP1789 introduces a minimum 4-month postponement of the applicability of the Implementing Regulation (to ‘not before’ 1 November 2020) as a consequence of the ongoing disruption caused by the Coronavirus/COVID19 outbreak.

It is possible that in the coming months the European Commission will itself decide to postpone to a different date (and the ‘not before’ phrasing has been used to cater for this possibility) but the UK has taken the decision now so that we can provide a reasonable degree of certainty for the UK’s UAS industry. If the applicability date is subsequently postponed beyond 1 November 2020, we will provide notification as soon as this is known.

package of Guidance Material, known as the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to the IR was published by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 9 October 2019, which provides additional information on certain parts within the regulations. The AMC and GM can be found here (AMC to IR cover regulation) and here (AMC to IR Annex). EASA also published (on 4 March 2020) a set of Easy Access Rules for UAS which contains the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft displayed in a consolidated, easyto-read format with advanced navigation features through links and bookmarks. Finally, EASA also published its Opinion No.05/2019 on 7 November 2019 which contained EASA’s proposals to amend the IR and the DR in order to accommodate the future use of ‘standard scenarios’ (see page 9 of this document for further details).

While the proposals focus on the requirements for standard scenarios, EASA also proposed a small number of amendments to the remaining text of the IR, with the intent that they would become applicable on 1 July 2020, and so change the wording of the current IR document. These changes are now in the final stages of agreement within the EC and have been further modified from the Opinion’s text during these discussions. While the final amendment to the IR is not expected to be formally published by the EC until early June 2020, the CAA has had sight of the final text and the relevant changes have been incorporated in this document on the assumption that they will be accepted and published as written. Consolidated versions of the IR and the DR, as amended, will be published by the CAA at a later date. Where necessary, this document now also contains the CAA’s interpretation of certain terms, applications or procedures for cases where we have been unable to obtain further clarification from the EU.

The DR entered into force and became applicable on 1 July 2019. While the IR also entered into force on the same day, the structure of it’s text means that it does not become applicable until one year later (1 July 2020). As part of the ‘Brexit Treaty’ the UK is required by international law to implement any elements of EU regulation that come into force and become applicable within the ‘transition period’ (to 31 December 2020). There is, however, provision within EU regulations for individual Member States to grant exemptions to aviation regulations in the event of urgent, unforeseeable circumstances. Due to the disruption caused by the COVID19 outbreak, the UK has elected to make use of this provision and so will exempt any persons involved in the operation of UAS from the requirement to comply with the IR for a period of at least 4 months. Therefore, the UK will not implement these EU UAS Regulations before 1 November 2020 and all dates within this document have been adjusted where necessary to reflect the effect of this change of date.

The full version of the revised CAP1789 can be found here.

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