220924 – UAS Remote Crew Training
EU Harmonization: An Urgent Necessity
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) embody the technological progress made in several key technology areas (i.a. IT, electronics, telecommunications, artificial intelligence) and the constantly growing number of potential applications hold the promise of supplying substantial societal benefits. The design, production, and the use of UAS, and the associated ecosystem, represent a significant financial sector and have the potential to create a wide variety of jobs in all 27 European Union (EU) Member States. This prompted most EU Member States to create national UAS regulations and guidelines. However, they have not been harmonized on the European level.
Taking the aforementioned into consideration, the European Commission (EC), through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), has developed, in cooperation with multiple stakeholders, a European UAS regulation and the relevant implementation rules are already applicable in all EU Member States. This enormous effort has given the EU Member States a common and harmonized basis. The EU Member States have requested the EC to coordinate the harmonization of the national approaches by means of European regulation.
In the context of UAS operations in the “Open” category (A1, A2 & A3 subcategories) (<400 ft.; VLOS), the National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) have actively addressed the issue of Remote Pilot training, and the required courses and examinations are already available online. The only remaining matter is harmonization and enlarging of the multiple choice questions (MCQ) database.
UAS Operators in the “Specific” category will be required to employ Remote Pilots and Crew Members that are often required to be qualified in conformity with pan-European recognized proficiency “certificates”, in order to be able to operate in all EU countries. This requires a coordinated effort by UAS Operators, recognized and/or designated training entities, subject matter experts, in coordination with national and EU regulatory authorities. They urgently have to address a significant number of issues:
- Standard scenarios (STS) and Predefined Risk Assessments [PDRA (S-)]: STS will become applicable in all EU Member States on 1st January 2024, but there are no training and examination guidelines available, and model documents regulatorily defined by EASA are not physically available, nor harmonized.
- Predefined Risk Assessments [PDRA (G-)] and Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA): additional endorsement modules for specific operational conditions (e.g. night flight, hilly environment, carriage of dangerous goods (DGs), flight over water, etc.) shall be defined.
Note: Those currently published by EASA are not detailed enough.
- Instructors and Examiners: these roles and their associated responsibilities, training and qualifications requirements shall be defined.
In summary, operational documents & processes defined in the EU Regulation (training and examination syllabi and guidelines, progress booklets, assessment reports, etc.) are not physically available nor harmonized at EU level.
United Systems Europe (USE) is a non-profit association registered in The Netherlands focusing on the interests of UAS Operators. In view of the afore-going, and taking into account the limited resources of the NAAs, USE has initiated the Working Group (WG) 2205-1 on Training, Qualification & Examination for Remote Pilots, Instructors & Examiners in the “Specific” operational category.
WG 2205-1 is a group of recognized industry experts that intends to operate in total transparency, in coordination with all relevant stakeholders and regulatory authorities on national and EU level, without duplicating any existing efforts and taking existing national resources and specificities into account.
WG 2205-1 projects to tackle, amongst others, the issues stated above by producing the documents required for common use across Europe. It also has the intent to create and administer a centralized online document library, as well as a listing of all nationally approved flight training organisations for the “Open” and “Specific” categories.
All subject matter experts with relevant expertise are invited to participate in WG 2205-1 and contribute to tackling the task indicated above.
220723 – What, Why & How
In the European Union (EU), the employment of certified remote pilots by operators to conduct flight missions (BVLOS; below 400ft) in the “Specific” operational category, is a legal requirement and conditions the validity of the applicable insurance and the operator’s liability.
A remote pilot certificate covering all activities likely to occur in the ‘‘Specific’’ operational category, and duly recognized by all EU Member States, currently does not exist. Consequently, it is problematic for an operator to conduct flight missions in any EU country other than his own.
The learning objectives of remote pilot training organisations in the EU Member States are not harmonized. In addition, the relevant examination criteria and the examination processes have not been defined at EU level, and the standards relative to the aforementioned only partially exist.
In this context, it is to be noted that the examination aspect, even if managed by each National Aviation Authority (NAA), is inseparable from training and qualification. It requires the development of guidelines (e.g., practical skill assessment for standard scenarios is to be conducted by declared operators and/or entities recognized by NAAs, but the applicable Implementing Regulations contain limited guidelines to this extent).
Instructor and examiner roles have been sidelined in the EU Regulations and absolutely require detailed attention.
Motivation & Start-Up
If the indicated problems are not resolved, the European professional drone operations market in the “Specific” operational category will not be able to develop, which obviously will have a negative effect on the entire drone ecosystem. Hence, the need for urgent action.
Recognising the looming threat, United Systems Europe (USE) has initiated the start-up of: Working Group 2205-1 on Training, Qualification & Examination of Remote Pilots, Infrastructure & Examiners in the “Specific” Operational Category.
Objectives & Guidelines
By means of 4 Sub-Groups & 19 specialized Focus Groups, WG 2205-1 is undertaking concerted actions to advance:
- The harmonization of:
– Learning objectives and training syllabi;
– Competence assessment criteria;
– Examination processes across Europe;
with the aim of achieving mutual recognition of pilot qualifications in the EU.
- Professional training, qualification & examination of remote pilots & instructors in the ‘‘Specific’’ category, as well as related tools, standards and recommendations.
- Harmonization of the applicable terminology & nomenclature.
- The qualification of flight training organisations.
- The establishment of basic safety rules for flight training sites in the EU.
- The establishment of compliance criteria for pilot training simulators & the related software.
- The establishment of compliance criteria for the possible use of virtual, extended, assisted, and mixed reality.
WG 2205-1 will avoid the duplication of ongoing efforts and will coordinate with the entities deploying such efforts.
WG 2205-1 will take into consideration and review all relevant existing national, European and international documents, standards and best practices.
WG 2205-1 may possibly evolve and address:
- Pilots in the certified category (e.g. on-board & remote pilots for flying taxis).
- Other flight team members in the “Specific” & “Certified” operational categories.
WG 2205-1 has the following 4 Sub-Groups:
Goal: Create a list of commonly used terms and acronyms by industry, especially in the scope of training, and clarify those that are still ambiguous by aligning the corresponding vocabulary to the manned aviation ecosystem (e.g. trainer or instructor?).
- Modules & Training Syllabi
Goal: In addition to those published in AMC3 UAS.SPEC.050(1)(d), define additional operation-specific endorsement modules and write the corresponding detailed training syllabi. For each module, define adequate training and up-to-date requirements for remote pilots, instructors and examiners.
- Model Documents
Goal: Create model documents for the “Practical Skill Assessment Report” & “Progress Booklet” that must be used for practical skill training & assessment of remote pilots.Training & Assessment Guidelines
Goal: Define generic training & assessment guidelines for instructors and examiners, in complement to the existing KSAs (Knowledge, Skills & Attitudes).
Focus Groups (FGs)
SG 1 Terminology
FG 1.1 Database of standards, norms & reference documents pertinent to WG 2205-1
FG 1.2 Terminology applicable to training & examination
FG 1.3 Terminology applicable to UAS operations-related systems, procedures & matters
FG 1.4 Terminology applicable to relevant functions, roles & responsibilities
SG 2 Modules & Training Syllabi
FG 2.1 Prerequisite training organisation guidelines
FG 2.2 Generic theoretical & practical training syllabi for: Remote pilots & other personnel
FG 2.3 Generic theoretical & practical endorsement modules & associated detailed training syllabi for: Remote pilots & other personnel
FG 2.4 Theoretical & practical training syllabi for: Remote pilots & other personnel STS
FG 2.5 Generic theoretical & practical training syllabi for: Instructor
FG 2.6 Generic theoretical & practical training syllabi for: Examiners
FG 2.7 Generic theoretical & practical training syllabi for: Emergency Response Plan (ERP)
SG 3 Model Documents
FG 3.1 Generic progress booklet & examination report models for remote pilots and other personnel (practical training and examination)
FG 3.2 Progress booklet & examination report models for remote pilots STS (practical training & examination)
FG 3.3 Progress booklet & examination report models for instructors (generic practical training & examination)
FG 3.4 Progress booklet & examination report models for examiners (generic practical training & examination)
SG 4 Training & Assessment Guidelines
FG 4.1 General training & examination guidelines for: Remote pilots and other personnel
FG 4.2 Training & examination guidelines for: Practical training of remote pilots & remote pilot examination in the context of STS
FG 4.3 Training & examination guidelines for: The Instructor role
FG 4.4 Training & examination guidelines for: The Examiner role
220707 – Tacking Issues Related to
Remote Pilot Training, Qualification & Examination
Subsequent to the kick-off meeting of its Working Group 2205-1 on Training, Qualification & Examination of Remote Pilots, Instructors & Examiners relative to flight operations in the ‘‘Specific’’ Operational Category, which took place at EUROCONTROL headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 5 June 2022, United Systems Europe (USE) announces the creation of 19 Focus Groups (FGs) with clearly defined deliverables.
The purpose of these FGs will be to contribute to resolving issues that would otherwise hold back the development of the European professional drone operations market in the ‘‘Specific’’ operational category (BVLOS; below 400ft). These FGs are organized in 4 Sub-Groups: Terminology, Modules & Training Syllabi, Model Documents, Training Assessment Guidelines.