Luxembourg’s National Aviation authority (DAC) public consultation on U-Space

As Covid-19 is the more formal synonym for the Corona virus, the same is valid for drones. The official wording is UAS, which stands for unmanned aerial system.

A UAS is sometimes is a sophisticated military technology but also a hobbyist’s tool, such as of the DJI brand,  for capturing images of landscapes or events. But businesses across industries realize that drones have multiple commercial applications, some of which go beyond basic surveillance, photography, or videos and they are already using them to transform daily work in some industries.

All the reports we’ve seen predict an explosive growth in the next couple of years in the commercial UAS, which even looks to be accelerated as besides business applications of all kind, there drone-delivery services for retail stores and air taxis for commuters are in the pipeline. As the skies risks to be crowded, the EASA is working on a specific legislation to cope with all this new air traffic. The piece of draft regaulation is the so called U-Space. On March 13th 2020 an Opinion on the upcoming European U-Space legislation has been published, which can be found here .

This U-Space legislation aims to create a legal framework to organize the air traffic of these UAS. As Gartner predicts than more than 1.5 million commercial drones will be flying the Western European skies by 2028, it is clear that a tight set of rules and procedures have to be created. The U-Space legislation is an ambitious project to manage all of this. The impact for Airplane Owners and Pilots is likely to be important, reason why we’ve been with the International Council of AOPA, actively  involved in the decision making processes at all stages.  

The Luxembourg National Aviation Authority, Direction de l’aviation civile , better known as DAC, has been proactively preparing themselves for the U-Space by creating a new department, for UAS and Innovation. This department is led by the experienced Gauthier Pierlot, a Civil engineer in aerospace. As an airworthiness inspector, he has a sound understanding of these new technologies. Gauthier Pierlot now organized with  DAC a public consultation on this upcoming U-Space legislation in order to have a broad view from aviation, environmental and business perspective. A well-appreciated initiative, typical for the Luxembourg way of doing, whereby views are exchanged. For the aviation sector, both the FAL and AOPA Luxembourg were consulted. We reached out to FAL to join forces as the arrival of UAS impacts every person in the sky, be it a child playing with his kite, or a balloon, or a rescue helicopter or a glider or private pilot. There’s only one sky, reason enough to collaborate.

Please find hereby attached our joint positioning of AOPA Luxembourg and FAL on U-Space and the comments that we submitted this week to the DAC

In our opinion, this piece of new aviation legislation is not ready yet to be released. There are too many dark spots remaining which need to be addressed. On top of what is mentioned in our feedback on the public consultation (hereby attached), feedback from our members added that the topics of IT security, risk assessment and insurance policy are not properly covered yet prior that “mass deployment of drones” is allowed in our skies.

Peter Sodermans