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Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Use Grows in Ireland

20 Nov 2014

RPAS

The use of Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) is becoming more and more prevalent in Ireland and prospective operators should be aware of their responsibilities to ensure safety.

First and foremost, any person who wishes to operate a RPAS for commercial purposes must obtain a permission to fly and an aerial work permit from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), before commencing operations in Irish airspace.

The operation of RPAS in Irish airspace is subject to regulation by the IAA as set out in Aeronautical Notice O.63 and supporting guidance material contained in Operations Advisory Memorandum 02/12.

The above contain the following regulations regarding the use of RPAS:

  1. The aircraft shall not be operated beyond Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) and not further than 500 metres from the point of operation;
  2. The aircraft shall not be operated within 150 metres of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the aircraft operator; during take-off or landing however, the aircraft must not be flown within 50 metres of any person, unless that person is under the control of the aircraft operator.
  1. The aircraft shall not be operated at a height of more than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level;
  2. The aircraft shall not be operated over or within the confines of a congested area except with the written permission of the Authority;
  3. The aircraft shall not be operated within controlled airspace except with the permission of the Controlling Authority and the written permission of the Authority;
  4. The aircraft shall not be operated within an aerodrome traffic zone or closer than 8 kilometres (5 nautical miles) from an aerodrome boundary, whichever is the greater distance, except with the permission of the Controlling Authority and the written permission of the Authority;
  5. The aircraft shall not be operated over any assembly of persons on the ground nor closer than 150 metres laterally from such an assembly except with the written permission of the Authority;
  1. The aircraft shall not be operated closer than 2 kilometres from an aircraft in flight;
  2. The aircraft shall not be operated unless there is in place a third party liability insurance policy covering the operation of the system which is acceptable to the Authority.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and prospective operators of RPAS should familiarise themselves fully with Aeronautical Notice O.63 and the supporting guidance material contained in Operations Advisory Memorandum 02/12.

It is also important to differentiate RPAS from model aircraft. ICAO and EASA define RPAS as:

“Any aircraft and its associated elements, other than a balloon, kite or small aircraft which is intended to be operated with no pilot on board”.

Whereas model aircraft are defined as:

“Any small aircraft which is being used for the sole purpose of recreational flying.”

For further information on the regulations governing the operation of RPAS, please contact rpas.fod@iaa.ie.


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