DJI has announced that it has received the first-ever C1 drone certificate for its Mavic 3 drone series that allows them to be flown in the new A1 Open Air Category without first having to pass the complex and expensive A2 Remote Piloting License exam.
In early 2021, the European Union Avaiation Safety Agency (EASA) passed a set of drone regulations that centralized and blanketed the whole of the European Union (in addition to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom) under one set of rules.
Part of those rules broke drones into three subcategories: A1, A2, and A3. A1 drones are those that weigh less than 250 grams and were allowed to be flown over people. A2 drones weigh more than 250 grams, but less than two kilograms, and therefore must be flown at least 50 meters away from people. A3 drones weigh more than two kilograms and must be flown “well away” from people.
Additionally, A2 drone pilots were required to pass the Remote Pilot Licensing exam to show “proof of competence” which cost as much as 230 euro (or $230). But as reported by DPReview, German-based research and testing facility TÜV Rheinland has granted DJI Mavic 3 drones the C1 certificate, which means pilots are no longer required to pass that exam in order to operate the drone in certain areas.
This is the world’s first C1 EU-type examination certificate for drones under the new European Drone Regulation.
In its announcement, DJI explains the difference between operating with and without a C1 certification:
|Operating Area||Operational Restrictions||Pilot Competence|
|With C1 certificate and C1-compliant firmware (flying in the A1 Open Category from now on and after 31 December 2023)||– No flying over uninvolved people (if it happens, should be minimized)
– No flying over assemblies of people
|– Read user manual
– Obtain A1/A3 “Proof of Competence” basic drone certificate by taking an officially-recognized theoretical online exam with no limitations on attempts before passing
|Without C1 certificate and without C1-compliant firmware (flying in the A2 Open Category until 31 December 2023; or in the A3 Open Category after 1 January 2024)||– No flying over uninvolved people
– Keeping a minimum 50 m horizontal distance from people until 31 December 2023
– After 1 January 2024, flying in areas free from people and 150 meters horizontal distance or more away from properties
|– Read user manual
– Obtain A2 “Remote Piloting License” by taking an officially- recognized theoretical online exam, and declaring self-practical training. When failing, the customer has to reapply for the exam with possible additional costs involved
The Mavic 3 series is C1-certified compliment with the following four mandatory changes to its firmware:
- The Mavic 3 series meets the new noise reduction level of 83db.
- When the ActiveTrack Intelligent Flight Mode is used to film people or objects, the distance from the person/object will be limited to 50 m. Beyond 50 m, ActiveTrack will be disabled.
- The Auxiliary LEDs will be turned on or off automatically during use, based on the actual environment, and
- The LEDs at the front arms of the drone will blink by default for the duration of the UAV being powered on.
These changes are active whenever any C1-certified Mavic 3 series drone is flown in the European Economic Area (EEA). DJI says that the application for obtaining the new C1 class identification label for Mavic 3 drones will be available to all owners starting in the fourth quarter of 2022. Users will be able to request it voluntarily and it will be provided at no cost. DJI says the process will just require owners to provide their drone serial number and confirmation that they have updated to the firmware needed to obtain C1 certification.
DJI says that once the C1 application process has been launched, all future firmware updates of the Mavic 3 series will include the technical changes required by the C1 certificate and cannot be reversed.