null Reforms to Aviation Act – focus on unmanned and light aviation

Reforms to Aviation Act – focus on unmanned and light aviation

Press release 25.06.2020 13.58 fi sv en

Picture: Shutterstock

Parliament has approved a government proposal on amending the Aviation Act in order to supplement the revised EU regulation. The reforms focus on regulation on light and unmanned aircraft systems. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2021 in line with the EU regulation on unmanned aircraft systems.

The European Union Regulation on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the provisions issued under it are directly applicable in EU Member States. As a rule, the aviation regulation in force in Finland stems directly from EU regulation.

Safety regulation on certain light aircraft has been within the competence of the Member States. In future, light aircraft with no more than two seats and a maximum permissible take-off weight of 600 kg would, as a rule, be included within the scope of the national legislation.

Changes to age limits and insurance obligation in unmanned aviation

The minimum age for remote pilots of unmanned aircraft is a new requirement arising from EU legislation. However, in the EU regulation, the age limits are a matter of national discretion, which in Finland will be used almost in full.

For low-risk drone operations, when remote pilots fly unmanned aircraft systems within their visual line of sight, the minimum age will be 12 years. When risks are higher, for example when there is no visual reference, the age limit will be 15 years, while with the highest risk, it will be 18 years.

According to EU legislation, all unmanned aircraft over 20 kg must be insured. With regard to aircraft lighter than this, the decisions concerning insurance may be taken at national level.

Once the amendment takes effect, unmanned aircraft operations shall be covered with a liability insurance for damages, if the operations involve more risks than usually. The requirement for an insurance applies, for example, when the operation is conducted as a beyond visual line of sight operation. The operations with the lowest risk are exempt from the insurance obligation.

Changes will also be made to the duties of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency. In future, the Agency will be responsible for market surveillance of unmanned aircraft and it has the right to establish airspace zones to facilitate or restrict the use of unmanned aircraft.

On 25 June 2020, the Government proposed that the President of the Republic approve the amendments to the Aviation Act on 26 June 2020.

The Acts would enter into force on 1 January 2021 at the same time as the EU Regulation on unmanned aircraft systems.

Inquiries:

Elina Immonen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2,126, Twitter: @ImmonenElina

Laura Kolinen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 34 2023

Veikko Vauhkonen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 342 113, Twitter @VVauhk