The European Cockpit Association (ECA) has called on the EU to step up its efforts in introducing a safety framework for drones and to set up a mandatory register. EurActiv Spain reports.
In a joint statement, the aviation industry urged Brussels to establish a “robust harmonised EU-wide regulatory safety framework for drones”. The signatories included airline pilots, helicopter operators and air-traffic controllers.
They also insisted that a mandatory register would facilitate the tracking down of non-compliant owners and machinery when safety guidelines are breached.
Within weeks, the European Commission is expected to conclude the first EU rules for all types of unmanned aircraft, in which the ‘geofencing’ of airports and city centres will come as a top priority.
The ECA also proposed mandatory courses in piloting the devices and a licence for certified operators, depending on what the drones will ultimately be used for.
The association also urged EU lawmakers to establish limits on where drones can be used and the altitude at which they can be operated.
The statement also called for investigations to be made into the effects of drone collisions with manned aircraft, as well as integrating the recreational use of the devices into national aviation laws, so as to be able to apply the same safety standards.
The director of the EU maritime safety agency said civil drones are most needed to monitor hotspots and detect refugees arriving to Europe by boat.
In order to make enforcement of the rules more effective, the ECA also asked the member states to provide training and technical equipment to its relevant national authorities.
The signatories of the statement underlined that the security risks posed by drones “are being seriously underestimated and need urgent attention”.
The ECA’s president, Captain Dirk Polloczek, said that “Drones are such an attractive piece of technology that users are tempted to use them to their limits or even beyond.”