Following the fact that a Chinese drone manufacturer has launched a drone with an unauthorized C1 label, the European aviation organization EASA has released a statement stating that the presence of a Cx label ‘does not guarantee’ that a drone actually complies meets the new product requirements. Consumers are requested to check for themselves whether a drone meets the requirements.
Statement from EASA
From January 1, 2023, newly sold drones must bear a Cx label, also known as a class identification label. Such a label may only be placed on the drone by the manufacturer if it has been demonstrated that the drone meets certain product requirements. These requirements have not yet been fully developed. Yet there is already one example of a manufacturer marketing a drone with a Cx label, and there may be more.
“Drones with a class identification label are gradually coming onto the market. However, the presence of a class identification label on the drone does not guarantee its compliance with Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (R945). Compliant drones are expected to appear slowly towards the end of the year.
It will not be possible to have compliant drones of classes C1, C2 and C3 on the market until at least March 2022, due to the lack of the procedures necessary to demonstrate their compliance. In addition, the lack of standards supporting the requirements of R945 until at least the end of the year makes it difficult for manufacturers to ensure compliance with their products. This is especially the case for classes C0 and C4 to C5. Therefore, at least until the end of the year, we recommend great caution when buying drones with a class identification label.
Market surveillance authorities should ensure that drones placed on the Union market with a class identification label comply with R945. However, you as an individual also need to take measures to gain sufficient confidence that you are operating a compliant drone.”
In other words: as a consumer, you can unfortunately not rely on the presence of a Cx label for the time being. Until the end of 2022, you would be wise to be critical of any Cx markings on drones, especially if they are marketed by lesser-known manufacturers.
The table below can help with this:
The above does show that surveillance of the drone market is at an embryonic stage and that there is work to be done for both EASA and the European Commission and national market surveillance authorities (such as the NVWA in the Netherlands) to ensure that the Cx label does not develop into an administrative wax nose, resulting in a false sense of security.
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