Drone Certification TestSnapshot: drone certification and licensing in Ireland

November 13, 2021by helo-10
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Certification and licensing

Basic requirements and procedures

What certificates or licences are required to operate drones and what procedures apply?

Drone operators must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The registration is valid for a set period determined by the IAA and is valid in all EU member states.

A drone operator only has to register once, regardless of the number of drones operated. A drone operator does not need to register if their drone:

  • weighs less than 250g and does not have a sensor that is able to detect personal data (ie, a camera or listening device); or
  • weighs less than 250g and has a sensor that is able to detect personal data but is considered a toy under Directive 2009/48/EC.

 

Remote pilots must complete the UAS Proof of Online Training course available on the IAA’s MySRS platform, which comprises a number of questions. Successful completion of the course allows remote pilots to fly in the A1 and A3 subcategories of the open category.

Remote pilots must complete further training to fly in the specific category or the A2 subcategory of the open category. This UAS Remote Pilot Competency Certificate is provided by a drone training organisation and comprises a theoretical examination of a number of questions and a practical test. Remote pilots in the specific category, depending on the risk assessment associated with the operation, will require a remote pilot licence.

Remote pilots operating in the certified category are expected to hold the appropriate manned aviation pilot’s licence associated with the operation.

Training must be renewed every five years using the IAA’s MySRS platform.

Drone operator organisations may also apply for a light UAS operator certificate (LUC); however, this requires ongoing compliance with a number of additional requirements, including the establishment, implementation and maintenance of a safety management system corresponding to the size of the organisation or the nature and complexity of its activities. 

Taxes and fees

Are certification and licensing procedures subject to any taxes or fees?

Registration as a drone operator incurs a fee of €30 for a two-year operator registration certificate, which is payable at the point of registration via the IAA’s MySRS platform. The UAS Proof of Online Training course is free. Fees for the UAS Remote Pilot Competency Certificate vary depending on the drone training organisation.

Eligibility

Who may apply for certifications and licences? Do any restrictions apply?

The minimum legal age for registering as a drone operator in Ireland under the open and specific categories is 16 years. A legal person (ie, organisation or company) is eligible to apply for a LUC.

Remote pilot licences

Must remote pilots obtain any certifications or licences to operate drones? If so, do the relevant procedures differ based on the type of drone or operation?

To operate drones, remote pilots must complete a UAS Proof of Online Training course, which is available on the IAA MySRS platform and comprises 40 questions. Successful completion of this course allows remote pilots to fly in the A1 and A3 subcategories of the open category.

Remote pilots must complete further training to operate a drone in the specific category or the A2 subcategory of the open category. The UAS Remote Pilot Competency Certificate is provided by a drone training organisation and comprises a theoretical examination of 30 questions and a practical test.

Training must be renewed every five years using the IAA’s MySRS platform.

Foreign operators

Are foreign operators authorised to fly drones in your jurisdiction? If so, what requirements and restrictions apply?

Foreign operators are authorised to fly drones in Ireland in the open category in the same manner as they would be in their home member state, provided that the foreign operator is registered with the competent national authority in their home member atate. Any Irish airspace restrictions must be complied with, and foreign operators should also carry their registration and remote pilot competency details.

Foreign operators are authorised to fly drones in Ireland in the specific category with prior authorisation from the IAA but do not have to apply for authorisation or conduct a risk assessment if the foreign operator holds an operational authorisation from their home member state. In this instance, the foreign operator only needs to provide a copy of the operational authorisation and the details of any mitigation measures specific to the operational risks to the IAA. The operation can only be commenced once the IAA has provided confirmation.

If the operation is covered by a standard scenario, the foreign operator only needs to provide the IAA with a copy of the declaration submitted to their home member state and a copy of the verification of completeness received from their home member state.

Non-EU drone operators are regulated by the competent national authority of the first member state in which they intend to operate. 

Certificate of airworthiness

Is a certificate of airworthiness required to operate drones? If so, what procedures apply?

All unmanned aircraft must comply with standards of airworthiness except for those that are privately-built, used in model aircraft clubs and organisations or meet the requirements as an open category aircraft. Certificates of airworthiness are required to operate certified drones, in which case the drone itself is registered.



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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.

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