Understanding the CE Marking Process for Drones

In our last article we talked about the class marking and CE marking from a manufacturer perspective, we now deal with the significance of this process for consumers.
drone EU certification

Consumers who plan on entering the drone market have many things to focus on and different requirements to adhere to. One crucial aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is understanding the conformity markings that indicate the compliance and class of a drone. So, what is the CE marking process for drones, and why is it important?

Is the CE Marking Process for Drones the Same as the Class Label?

Before we go in-depth about CE marking, it’s important to clarify that CE marking and UA Class Labels are different indicators, and they are not interchangeable. CE mark shows that a product aligns with EU safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. On the other hand, the UA Class Label shows the classification based on factors such as Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), features, and operational nature.

What is CE Marking?

CE marking is a certification mark required for all products that are marketed within the EU. It shows that the product is in compliance with EU directives. It’s an important mark for all kinds of goods – from electronics to toys, and in this case, drones.

This certification is not just a regulatory requirement but also a promise of quality and safety to consumers. It demonstrates that the product has undergone rigorous testing and assessment processes to ensure that it adheres to specific criteria. For manufacturers, obtaining the CE mark is a testament to their commitment to delivering products that meet the highest standards.

When it comes to drones, they are a blend of electronics, aviation, and sometimes even telecommunications. It makes them subject to many safety and privacy concerns. When a drone carries the CE mark, consumers and regulators can be confident that the device aligns with the established standards.

UA Class Marking or C Label in Depth

EU Regulation 2019/947, and it mandates a class marking for drones operated in the open category from January 1, 2024. This classification has many features, and it considers aspects such as MTOW, stability, security, and operational attributes. The complexity or conformity requirements range from C0 to C6, and even accessories might require class labels.

A hand holding a white drone

A Closer Look at Class Markings

Understanding the EU drone regulations is crucial for operators, and they often extend beyond compliance, aiming to ensure safety, privacy, and seamless integration of drones into everyday life. The conformity with the class markings has been guided by the technical specification prEN 4709‑001:2021, established by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and ASD-STAN. They serve as a thorough framework for categorizing drones based on parameters such as weight, operational restrictions, and safety features. They include:

  • C0 class marking – it is tailored for drones under 250g, allowing operation without overflying third parties.
  • C1 class marking – drones under 900g can operate directly near people, providing more flexibility compared to the 150m restriction in the A3 subcategory.
  • C2 class marking – drones up to 4kg can fly at a distance proportional to their altitude or a minimum of 30m from people in the A2 subcategory.
  • C3 and C4 class marking – these markings cater to drones up to 25kg operating in the A3 subcategory.

Open Category Classification as per EASA EU Drone Regulations

The following table shows category classification.

WeightSubcategoryClass markingOperational restrictions
250gA1C0No overflight of third parties
900gA1C1No overflight of third parties
4kgA2C2Min. distance of 30m of third parties (5m with a low speed mode)
25kgA3C3, C4150m from residential and other areas

Who Should Be Concerned With CE Marking?

When it comes to ensuring drones have CE marking, manufacturers, importers, and distributors must ensure their drones comply with EU requirements. However, as a consumer, being aware of UA Class Markings and ensuring the drone features align with its class label is also important. If you are found flying a non-compliant drone, you may face legal consequences. As for privately built drones, they can be operated 150m from people for drones up to 25kg (subcategory A3) and in subcategory A1 for drones up to 250g.

Can I Fly Privately Built Drones in the Open Category?

Privately built drones, based on their weight, can be operated in the open or specific categories. However, operators need to adhere to regulations. For example, in the open category, drones can be operated under subcategories A1 (MTOM less than 250g and speed less than 19m/s) or A3 (MTOM less than 25kg).

Consumer Awareness is Key

As a consumer, understanding these markings and regulations ensures you are compliant with the law. And not only that – it helps in making informed purchasing decisions. Whether you’re a recreational drone pilot or looking into professional applications, these markings serve as a guide to ensure safety and adherence to regional standards.

A white drone flying in the blue sky

A Deeper Understanding of CE Markings Helps Navigate the Sky With Ease

Conformity markings like CE and UA Class Labels play a crucial role in guiding consumers through drone usage regulations. While it might seem overwhelming at first, a deep dive into these classifications empowers consumers to operate drones safely and legally. So, the next time you consider buying or flying a drone, take a moment to understand these markings and ensure you’re soaring the skies compliantly.

Understanding and navigating through the complex skies of drone regulations can be challenging. That’s where UASolutions steps in. Committed to democratizing access to the skies and creating added value, UASolutions offers tailored support to businesses and consumers. Ready to simplify your drone operations and ensure compliance? Contact UASolutions today and take the first step towards unhindered skies.