DJI recently announced that they are the recipient of the first-ever C1 drone certificate. Granted by German-based research and testing facility TÜV Rheinland for the European Union Safety Agency (EASA), this C1 EU-type examination certificate for drones applies specifically to DJI's Mavic 3 series. What this means is Mavic 3 owners operating in any European Union country or territory will no longer have to pass a complex and costly A2 'Remote Piloting License Exam' to operate in certain areas.

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At the end of 2020, the European Union passed a uniform set of drone regulations for both hobbyist and commercial operators. Three subcategories, A1–A3, were established and they classified which type of drones (sub-250g – 2kg+) could be flown and where they could legally launch and land.

A simple update to C1-compliant firmware on the Mavic 3 series will automatically enable users to operate in an A1 Open Category. This gives them more flexibility to operate in areas where they were previously restricted. DJI broke down the difference, in three areas, between operating with or without C1 certification.

Operating Area Operational Restrictions Pilot Competence
With C1 certificate and C1-compliant firmware (flying in the A1 Open Category from now on and after 31 December 2023) - No flying over uninvolved people (if it happens, should be minimized)

- No flying over assemblies of people
- Read user manual

- Obtain A1/A3 “Proof of Competence” basic drone certificate by taking an officially-recognized theoretical online exam with no limitations on attempts before passing
Without C1 certificate and without C1-compliant firmware (flying in the A2 Open Category until 31 December 2023; or in the A3 Open Category after 1 January 2024)

- No flying over uninvolved people
- Keeping a minimum 50 m horizontal distance from people until 31 December 2023

- After 1 January 2024, flying in areas free from people and 150 meters horizontal distance or more away from properties

- Read user manual

- Obtain A2 “Remote Piloting License” by taking an officially- recognized theoretical online exam, and declaring self-practical training. When failing, the customer has to reapply for the exam with possible additional costs involved

There are other requirements the Mavic 3 series must meet in order to maintain its status as C1-certified when operated in a European Economic Area. It must meet a noise reduction level of 83db. When ActiveTrack, an Intelligent Flight mode which enables users to select a person or object for the drone to automatically follow, is on, operating distance is limited to 50 meters. Beyond that, ActiveTrack will be disabled.

Auxiliary lights will be turn on and off, automatically, depending on the environment (day or night, for example). LED lights on the drones front arms will blink on and off for the duration of the drone's flight.

Though uniform, the EASA's regulations can seem complex to new drone operators. The organization's website has a comprehensive list of FAQs to peruse plus a PDF breaking down all C classes of drones.

DJI says C1 certification will be available for all Mavic 3 series customers by Q4 of 2022. The drone's serial number plus proof of a C1-compliant firmware update is required for certification. The drone manufacturer also plans on making its other drone models C1-compliant in the near future.