Montréal, 1 March 2021 – During its ongoing 222nd Session, the ICAO Council today adopted new and amended Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) driving important progress on the international safety and interoperability of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).
The new provisions will become effective on 12 July 2021, and applicable as of 26 November 2026. The most important pertain to Annex 8 — Airworthiness of Aircraft to the Chicago Convention, and cover certification requirements for remotely piloted aeroplanes and helicopters, in addition to the remote pilot stations (RPS) they are operated from.
The latest RPAS progress required minor modifications to Annexes 1 (Personnel Licensing) and 2 (Rules of the Air) of the Convention, and will eventually be supported by more substantial Annex 2 changes already in development. Previous Annex 1 Standards adopted by the Council in 2018 introduced a regulatory structure for the issuance of remote pilot licences for applicability as of November 2022.
The D&R testing is comprised of test hours and cycles fully representative of desired operating state operations. The D&R testing must also include verification of all operational limits and the entire aircraft flight envelope to ensure testing thoroughly encompasses the possible conditions that will be encountered in service.
D&R Test Hour Requirements
Population density (people per square mile)
Baseline configuration (flight hours)
Reduced probability of injury configuration <30% AIS 3 or greater injury (flight hours)
Up to 100 (Rural)
Up to 3000
Up to 7000
Up to 10,000
Up to 14,000
Up to 20,000
As a rule, the D&R testing must demonstrate safe flight across the entire operational envelope and up to all operational limitations, for all phases of flight and all aircraft configurations.
Applicants will only be certificated to fly within limitations that have been fully demonstrated in test. For example, the D&R testing must encompass the most adverse weather conditions (wind, temperature, density altitude, precipitation, etc.) for which certification is sought.
Environmental conditions should also be considered, such as humidity, sand, dust, salt, particulates or foreign objects that could be ingested such as insects, etc. Additionally, D&R testing should take place in an operationally representative radio frequency and electromagnetic environment to the extent possible.
With 300+ days of flying weather a year, PACI can support Applicants seeking a Determination of Reliability (with third-party oversight) and our affiliated UAS DAR can assist in obtaining operating approval and permission to fly for the needed limitations.