Volume 34 (2009) / Issue 1
In the past UAVs have mainly been used for military purposes. Recently, UAV applications for civil use have been developed, but a clear legal framework is needed so as to permit UAVs to fly outside segregated areas with other traffic, assuring the same safety and security standards as for manned aircraft. Modern UAVs are in effect an entire system, i.e. UAS (Unmanned Air System), which comprises the aircraft and the ground control station. The correct interpretation of EU Regulation 216/08 leads to the conclusion that even UAVs are subject to the same airworthiness requirements as those for manned aircraft. The certification of the system, while a fairly complex exercise, should not penalize this sector with excessive requirements. Beyond the need of a legal framework relating to the airworthiness and operations of UAVs, special attention should be given to further legal implications deriving from the use of these aircraft, such as civil liability regulations for damage to persons or property caused by an incident involving a UAV. The resolution of this problem would be a decisive contribution to increasing the use of UAVs for civil purposes outside segregated areas. One of the aims of this article is to identify the international and European Community legislation established for manned vehicles that could be applied also to UAVs.
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