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European agency sets up drone task force

The European Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, has set up a task force to assess the risk of drones colliding with aircraft.

Measures have been announced as concern grows over a potential drone incident. One of the most recent involved an alleged drone collision with a commercial BA flight near Heathrow airport.

According to the EASA website, the new task force will review all such reports from European member states, analyse existing studies on the matter of drone collisions, and study the vulnerabilities of various categories of aircraft.

It will also “Consider the possibility to do further research and perform actual tests (for example, on windshields),” which sounds a little non-committal to us.

The actual task force will be made up of representatives of aircraft and engine manufacturers, and will consult with European authorities as part of the proceedings.

Related: Flying a drone: Everything you need to know

EASA says that it’s already developing a regulatory framework for the operation of drones in Europe, which will include such nuggets as “operate in visual line of sight, fly under 150m height above ground, be equipped with identification and geo-limitation functions and be registered.”

Perhaps more meaningful would be the insistence that “Any operation of drones close to aerodromes would require a specific authorisation from the national aviation authority based on a risk assessment.”

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Results of the EASA investigation are expected to be published at the end of July.

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