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Retrospective Application of EASA 945 on Drone Design

Author - Jamie Sayer

Principal Safety Engineer & UAV Expoert at Ebeni Ltd

Q - How much of the requirement of 945 can be retrospectively applied to products already on the market when the regulation grace period ends?’

A - This is a really good question, and I’m afraid the answer is, I just don’t know!

The devil will be in the detail when the UK DfT produce the UK Scheme to be assessed against, but you can imagine a situation where your drone designer/producer will be assessed against the UK Scheme, and products that fall under that assessment batch can have CE conformity applied - but that will not apply to all previous products because they may not have been designed/produced at a time when the assessment can be validated for them. I think the idea that you can retrospectively apply CE marking, via some modification route, is a flawed assumption. Hence, I have been saying it is important to make your investment decisions with EASA 945 & 947 in mind.

For example, not having the GEOFence capability available as exactly described in 945 for your drones, but then applying this via some form of software update. Whilst this might sound reasonable, the subjective tests that your organisation is likely to be subjected to by a CE Scheme may not be able to be retrospectively applied to previous products as they were delivered ahead of the assessment. This all needs to be worked out. If you are having anxieties about all of this, I suggest you raise a business risk to seek funds to mitigate and then write to your local MP to request guidance from the DfT about what the UK Scheme is going to look like. In the meantime I will take these concerns to the Drone Delivery Group White Paper. Thanks to my network contact yesterday for that food for drone thought!

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