The Importance of a Certificate – The Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC)

Earlier this year Nordic Unmanned was granted the Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) by the Norwegian CAA (Luftfartstilsynet). The certificate covers our entire fleet of drones, which makes us able to self-approve our operations according to our own operation manual. We asked our Senior Vice President of Airworthiness & Certifications, Bruno Boucher some questions about it.

What is the Light UAS Operator Certificate?

The LUC has been issued by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority under the new EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), which allows Nordic Unmanned to be recognized as a drone operator. This is similar to what an AOC represents for a normal airline, and means that Nordic Unmanned is recognized as a safe operator.

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Bruno Boucher, Senior Vice President of Airworthiness & Certifications at Nordic Unmanned

What is the main difference between the old system and the new system with the LUC implemented?

The previous certificate held by Nordic Unmanned was issued also by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority. This was a so called RO3 certificate, which means we were able to operate BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight), but it was limited to Norway, under Norwegian regulation. The new certificate also allows us to operate BVLOS for the complete fleet, which is more than 7+ systems, in all EASA member countries, which are mostly European countries. The difference is that we are not only allowed to operate in Norway, we are allowed to operate in all European countries, and we follow a European regulation, which is uniformed across all countries in Europe, so the certificate is recognized in every EASA countries, which eliminates the need to ask for recognition.

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Picture taken before a BVLOS flight at Mongstad base for Equinor in August 2020.

How big of a step is an implementation like this for the future of the European drone industry?

Before talking about the future, let's look in the past. Manned aviation regulation has been existing for 75 years, directed by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). Drone regulation is pretty new compared to that. So it is a very big step to have uniformed regulation across European countries and it will also help all operators to increase the safety of their operations, and lastly, it will help the customer to understand who the real operators are. We are very happy to be one of them, as the first in Norway, and one of the few ones in Europe, who has a LUC at this time.