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Focus on Regulation

China Launches First Operational Rules for Civil Unmanned Aircraft

China’s civil flight authority, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, has issued new regulations applicable to civil unmanned aircrafts, or UAS, weighing no more than 116 kg. The regulations are called the Provisions for the Operation of Light and Small Unmanned Aircraft (for Trial Implementation) (the “UAS Operation Rules“) and were issued and became effective on 29 December 2015.

The UAS Operation Rules distinguish between different types of light and small UAS, mostly based on differences in weight and use, classifying them as seven different basic types (Type I to Type VII).

A key component of the UAS Operation Rules is the set up of an online real-time supervision system including the “electronic fence” and the “UAS Cloud”. For certain types of UAS, the installation and use of the electronic fence and the connection to the UAS Cloud are required, and operators must report to the system at different frequencies according to different operating areas. There are also requirements for UAS Cloud providers which are aimed at better standardizing the industry and which will offer more opportunities for industry players.

Specific regulations for UAS pilots and pilots-in-command, mandatory insurance coverage, and flight specifications are set forth in the UAS Operation Rules as well.

The UAS Operation Rules are the first set of operational rules for UAS in China, and they demonstrate the Chinese regulators’ determination to standardize UAS operations and provide more favorable and normalized conditions for players in the industry.