Operations in the ‘open’ category
The regulation to harmonise drone operation throughout the EU entered into force on 31 December 2020. According to the regulation, those using drones with a mass exceeding 250 g or drones equipped with a camera must register as a drone operator, familiarise themselves with drone operation and in most cases pass an examination regardless of whether they use the drone for hobby or professional purposes. Operating in the ‘open’ category does not, however, require a separate operational authorisation.
The registration requirement does not pertain to users (operators) who fly with a mass of no more than 250 g with no camera or other sensor capable of capturing personal data, or operators flying unmanned aircraft systems that are toys as specified in Directive 2009/48/EC or control line model aircraft with a mass of no more than 1 kg. Click here for further information on registration.
THE FOLLOWING GENERAL REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET WHEN OPERATING IN THE ‘OPEN’ CATEGORY:
- The maximum attainable height above ground or sea level must not exceed 120 metres.
- The operation must be carried out on visual line of sight (VLOS).
- The aircraft must have a maximum take-off mass of less than 25 kg.
- During flight, the unmanned aircraft shall not carry dangerous goods or drop items.
- Unmanned aircraft systems must be kept at a safe distance from people and they must not be flown above assemblies of people.
- The operation must take the prohibited, restricted and danger areas of aviation as well as UAS geographical zones into account.
If the operation cannot be performed in accordance with the terms specified above, the operation requires a separate authorisation. Click the link below to find instructions on how to apply for an operational authorisation for ‘specific’ category operation.
Operation sub-categories A1–A3
UAS operations in the ‘open’ category shall be divided into three sub-categories: A1–A3. You can find further information on the rules of each sub-category, boundary conditions and restrictions under the headings below.
The EU drone regulation contains transition periods concerning equipment and operations. New drones must be CE marked in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/945 by the end of the transition period, i.e. by 1 January 2024. The CE marking in accordance with the regulation in question can be identified by the class C0–C6 marking (External link). Drones without class C0–C6 marking may be used during the transition period in accordance with the rules and boundary conditions specified below. As of 1 January 2024, they may only be used in a restricted capacity.