senseFly eBee X: first drone with a C2 label
A week after DJI announced that the Mavic 3 would be the first drone to receive the C1 label, senseFly came out with the News that drones from their eBee X series may be the first to carry the C2 label. This means that the eBee X, eBee Geo, and eBee Ag in the Open category can be used close to people. The certificate was issued by the German inspection body NavCert GmbH.
Near populated areas
The eBee X, eBee Geo, and eBee Ag will be the first commercial drones with a C2 label, as defined in the European drone regulations. It states that from January 1, 2024, all newly sold drones must have a class designation. Otherwise, they may not be flown in open category A1 or A2 (except for drones weighing less than 250 grams).
Thanks to the award of the C2 classification, the eBee X-series drones in the Open category A2 can be used up to 30 meters away from uninvolved people on the ground. This means that the drone can be used for professional purposes close to populated areas without further authorization.
The eBee X-series is based on a fixed-wing platform. The aircraft cannot take off vertically and must therefore be launched manually. Thanks to the wing profile, the drone can stay in the air for a long time and cover great distances. This makes the device very suitable for mapping flights, agricultural applications, and inspections, among other things.
C2 rating for senseFly eBee X
To qualify for a C2 classification, drones must not weigh more than 4 kg and must have geofencing, Remote ID, navigation lights, and a return to home function. Furthermore, devices in this category must be designed so that there is a minimal risk of injury in the event of a collision with a person. Requirements are also set concerning the maximum noise production. According to NavCert GmbH, the eBee X-series meets all these requirements.
Barrett Mooney, director of senseFly parent company AgEagle, is proud of the scoop: “When you consider the weight and safety profiles of competing commercial drones, only the eBee is allowed to conduct commercial operations near people thanks to its C2 class designation. . This is a major benefit for our customers in Europe, who will be able to operate around populated areas without any formal authorization or regulatory waiver.”
Marcel Visser, Managing Director of NavCert GmbH: “We are grateful that NavCert has been selected as the Notified Body (NB 2603) to assess the eBee X-series fixed-wing drones for the CE mark. Our background in the aerospace industry and the development of the EN 4709 standard have been essential to carry out the technical assessments required in the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 on unmanned aircraft systems.”
Availability of the senseFly eBee X
All eBee X-series drones will come standard with the C2 label from September 2022. Existing users may be able to apply for the label retroactively, although AgEagle hasn't communicated about that yet.
The Open category has the disadvantage that no exemption is possible from flying in no-fly zones such as ports and industrial areas. In the Netherlands, users in the Open category are also not allowed to fly in controlled airspace or to cross roads where people drive faster than 60 km/h. There are other exceptions in the other Member States, despite the “uniform” nature of the European regulations.
This article first appeared on Dronewatch and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.
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