DJI just announced that the company has been granted the world’s first C1 EU-type examination certificate for the Mavic 3 series drone under the new European Drone Regulation.
That means with the C1 certificate and C1-compatible updated firmware,
Mavic 3 pilots will be able to fly in the A1 Open category (instead of the more regulated and harder-to-get A2)
from January 2024 onward.
In recent years and with the increasing number of civilian-operated drones, it was clear that drone legislation needed serious updates and unification. In Europe, this happened quite recently, although most changes are currently in the transition period and will be fully effective from 1 January 2024. We have summarized the most important information in our article from January 2021, when the new European Drone Regulation was published. I also recommend checking the official EASA website. Anyway, the C-class certification is a key component for drone flying in Europe in the upcoming years. Either way, C-class certification is a key ingredient for drones flying in Europe in the coming years.
The world’s first C1 certified drone
The DJI Mavic 3 is the company’s current foldable flagship.
Announced in November 2021, the drone boasts an impressive spec sheet with a large gimbal-stabilized camera unit capable of 5.1K 50fps video on an MFT sensor, up to 46 minutes of flight time and so on.
As DJI says, the Mavic 3 now received a C1 certification by the officially recognized notified body of TÜV Rheinland (A global testing service provider based in Germany) and will therefore comply with the new European Drone Regulation. The certification is valid across the European Economic Area (EEA, i.e. EU plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) and applies to all hardware and C1-updated-firmware of the current DJI Mavic 3 series. The certification is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA, i.e. EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and applies to all hardware and updated C1 firmware of the current DJI Mavic 3 series.
Advantages of C1
According to DJI, the C1 certificate for the Mavic 3 series requires users to update to C1-compliant firmware which brings several advantages. Users will be able to fly in the new A1 Open Category and will no longer have to pass the complex and costly A2 “Remote Piloting License” exam (The A1/A3 “Proof of Competence” basic drone certificate, however, is still needed for all drones weighing 250 grams or more).
What exactly is the difference between A1 and A2? DJI summarized the exact differences between flying a drone with and without a C1 certification in three categories:
Operating area: With C1 – flying in the A1 Open Category from now on and after 31 December 2023.
Without C1 – flying in the A2 Open Category until 31 December 2023; or in the A3 Open Category after 1 January 2024.
With C1 – no flying over uninvolved people (if it happens, should be minimized), no flying over assemblies of people
Without C1 – no flying over uninvolved people, keeping a minimum 50m horizontal distance from people until 31 December 2023. After 1 January 2024, flying in areas free from people and at least 150m horizontal distance from properties
With C1 – take A1-A3 online courses through a school & obtain a basic A1/A3 drone certificate ‘Proof of Competence’ by taking an officially recognized online theory test.
No C1 – take A2 online courses through a school and obtain an A2 “Remote Pilot Licence” by taking an officially recognized online theory test and declaring self-practice training. In case of failure, the customer must re-apply for the examination
C1 certificate requirements
C1-certified drones with C1-compliant firmware are also subject to additional mandatory changes under European Drone Regulation:
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 50m. Beyond 50m, 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 will be activated whenever any C1-certified drone of the DJI Mavic 3 series is flown in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Available in Q4 2022
According to DJI, the application process for obtaining the new C1 class identification label for the Mavic 3 series is scheduled to be available to all customers from Q4/2022. From that date, users can request it on a voluntary basis at no cost. The process will require providing the drone serial number and confirmation that the C1-compliant firmware has been installed. 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.
C-class certification for other DJI drones
The good thing is that DJI promises to get the C-class certification for the company’s other drones in time to comply with the new EASA rules. As the company states, it is committed to complying with the new European Drone Regulation for other existing and future drone models, and it will work with notified bodies to obtain additional drone certificates over the coming year.