The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced its regulatory approach for the commercial and civil operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) on March 12, 2015. EASA's Concept of Operations for Drones details three different operation categories: open, specific and certified.
Open would require authorization by an aviation authority with defined boundaries of operation, visual line of sight and an altitude not exceeding 500 feet.
Specific would require a state-level of operation approval and would entail safety risk assessment for airworthiness, approved operation procedures and a certified pilot.
Certified would be comparable to piloted aircraft for operations that go beyond line of sight where risks are comparable to manned aircraft operations.
The guidelines come quickly after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its own guidance as regulatory agencies around the world look to adapt. Similar to the FAA, EASA is looking to perform more research on UAS sense-and-avoid technology, human factors, security and the associated air traffic management impact of commercial UASs going forward.
Read EASA's Concept of Operations, which takes a risk-based approach to regulation, here.