It will take less than a year before the first drones with a Cx label can appear on the European market.
What is a Cx label?
For a Cx label , the drone must meet the ‘essential requirements’ from the European regulation (2019/945 and 2020/1058). The ‘essential requirements’ are described in the appendices to the regulation: which requirements are set for drone classes C0 to C6. The regulation also states that products that comply with harmonized European standards are considered to comply with the ‘essential requirements’.
There will be five different Cx labels for drones flown in the Open category: C0, C1, C2, C3 and C4. For the Specific category there will be the C5 and C6 labels.The higher the label, the higher the requirements are.
Below you will find a very brief summary that shows the relationship between the Cx label and the category in which you fly:
Subcategory A1: You may fly over people but not over gatherings of people (Class C0 and C1);
Subcategory A2: You are allowed to fly close to people (Class C0, C1 and C2);
Subcategory A3: You need to fly far away from people (Class C0, C1, C2, C3 and C4).
STS-01: VLOS flights over populated area (Class C5);
STS-02: BVLOS flights over uninhabited area (Class C6).
Why is it taking so long?
However legislation is ready, further requirements have still to be formulated into specific standards. Subsequently, these standards must be officially published by the EU, in the Official Journal (OJEU). The deadline for creating the standards for class C0 to 4 is June 30, 2022.
Standards for two special, extra labels, C5 and C6 (necessary for STS operations in the specific category), will be released in the second half of 2022.
Until then, all aircraft without a Cx label fall under the current transition period. This period will end after December 31, 2022. In 2023 so-called legacy drones from 250 grams fall under subcategory A3.
Can Cx labels be assigned to existing models?
Unfortunately, labels cannot be assigned to a drone afterwards: the drone must bear the label at the time of sale. This aspect in particular is currently causing a lot of confusion, especially because new drones are now being offered for sale that do not yet have a Cx label (including the new Air 2S ).
It is possible that manufacturers register certain existing models for a Cx label in 2022, but this is not compulsory.
Does it make sense to obtain the additional A2 certificate?
If you want to fly in built-up areas with your legacy drone, from 500 grams to 2 kilos, this is the most obvious reason to get A2 certificate.
Even if you want to operate in the specific category, you need the additional A2 certificate.
Last update: 06/12/2021