Regulation 2021/664 U-space Regulatory Framework

Regulation 2021/664 U-space Regulatory Framework

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/664 of 22 April 2021 on a regulatory framework for the U-space - text published in the Official Journal of the European Union

Objective

To lay down rules and procedures for the safe operations of UAS in the U-space airspace, for the safe integration of UAS into the aviation system and for the provision of U-space services.

Summary

Applicability

This Regulation applies within the zones designated as U-space airspace to:

  • operators of UAS;
  • U-space service providers;
  • providers of common information services.

Some UAS operation are not subject to this Regulation, e.g. those of model aircraft clubs and associations that have received an appropriate authorisation or privately built UAS with MTOM of 250 g or less and speed of 19 m/s or less.

U-space Airspace

U-space airspace is designated by EU member states following a risk assessment. For each such airspace, requirements to UAS, U-space services and operational conditions are defined. All UAS operations in the U-space airspace are subject to at least the following services:

  • Network identification service. It allows the continuous processing of the remote identification of the UAS throughout the duration of the flight.
  • Geo-awareness service. It provides geo-awareness information (e.g. operational conditions and airspace constraints) to UAS operators.
  • UAS flight authorisation service. It provides UAS operators with the UAS flight authorisation for each individual flight.
  • Traffic information service. It is provided to UAS operators and contains information on any other conspicuous air traffic, that may be in proximity to the position or intended route of the UAS flight.

Additional services may be provided in the designated U-space airspace. This is decided by the individual EU member state based on the risk assessment. These services are:

  • Weather information service. It provides UAS operators with weather forecasts and actual weather information.
  • Conformance monitoring service. It enables the UAS operators to verify whether they comply with the requirements of this Regulation and the terms of the UAS flight authorisation.

If U-space airspace is designated within controlled airspace, dynamic reconfiguration of the airspace must be ensured, i.e. manned aircraft provided with ATC service and UAS remain segregated.

Common Information Services

The common information services are the means to disseminate static and dynamic data that enables the provision of U-space services. This data is provided by information service provider(s), designated by the EU member states and includes:

  • geographical data, e.g. horizontal and vertical limits, adjacent U-space airspaces, etc.
  • specific requirements applicable to the airspace, e.g. UAS capabilities and U-space services performance requirements
  • a list of certified U-space service providers as well as pertinent information about their services
  • static and dynamic airspace restrictions 
  • traffic information regarding manned aircraft and data related to dynamic reconfiguration of the airspace
  • terms and conditions of U-space service providers

The common information services must:

  • be provided on a non-discriminative basis
  • be available to relevant authorities, air traffic service providers, U-space service providers and UAS operators
  • comply with the applicable data quality, data latency and data protection requirements

Requirements for UAS operators and U-space service providers

The Regulation defines general requirements applicable to UAS operators. These include provisions for:

  • compliance with UAS capability requirements, airspace constraints, etc.
  • requesting and adherence to UAS flight authorisation
  • contingency measures and procedures

An UAS operator may provide U-space service to themselves.

The Regulation defines general requirements applicable to U-space service providers. They must:

  • be certified as such
  • provide the applicable services to UAS operators on a non-discriminative basis
  • exchange information related to flight safety with other U-space service providers and ATS providers 

Certification and Competent Authorities

U-space service providers and single common information service providers must hold a certificate issued by the competent authority of the relevant EU member state or by EASA. In order to be granted a certificate, they must demonstrate compliance with the relevant conditions. The certificate remains valid as long as compliance is maintained but may be invalidated if the provider does not start operations within 6 months of issuing or ceases operations for more than 12 months. In addition, the provider's operational and financial performance are to be assessed, and, specific measures may be imposed based on the results of this assessment, e.g. suspension, limitation or revocation.

The Regulation defines:

  • the required capabilities of the competent authorities
  • the tasks of the competent authorities

Annexes

The Regulation contains seven annexes and an appendix, detailing various provisions:

  • Annex I provides criteria for the definition of capabilities, performance requirements, operational conditions and airspace constraints
  • Annex II contains provisions for publication of the common information
  • Annex III contains data quality, data latency and data protection requirements
  • Annex IV details the content of UAS flight authorisation request
  • Annex V contains provisions for the exchange of relevant operational data and information between U-space service providers and ATS providers
  • Annex VI contains a model certificate for U-space service provider
  • Annex VII contains a model certificate for single common information service provider
  • the Appendix contains a table that shows the services related to U-space airspace provided in each airspace class

Entry into Force

The Regulation entered into force in May 2021 and will be applicable from 26 January 2023.

Regulation 2021/664 U-space Regulatory Framework (OJ, 23.04.2021)

Further  Reading

European Commission

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