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Source: Fotolia / nesterenko_max

The new rules governing drones, which were initiated by the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt, have entered into force.

Mr Dobrindt said:

There is great potential inherent in drones – both private and commercial. More and more people are using them. As the number of drones being flown increases, the risk of collisions, crashes or accidents also rises. We have established clear rules governing the use of drones. Drones are an emerging technology. With this recast, we are opening up new opportunities for them while at the same time enhancing airspace safety. We are improving not only safety but also privacy.

The following rules are effective immediately:

  • Opportunities for this emerging technology: in the future, permission will normally no longer be required for the operation of unmanned aerial systems weighing less than 5 kg. In addition, the existing prohibition on beyond visual line of sight operations will be lifted. In the future, federal state aviation authorities will be able to permit this type of operation for devices weighing 5 kg or more.
  • Operation prohibited, for instance

    • over residential property if the device weighs 0.25 kg or more or is able to transmit or record optical, acoustic or radio signals
    • at altitudes over 100 metres (prohibition does not apply at model flying sites or if the operator has a certificate of knowledge – unless the device is a multicopter)
    • in and over sensitive areas, for instance sites of police and emergency service operations, gatherings of people
    • in aerodrome approach and take-off areas

      The competent authority may permit exemptions from the prohibitions.

  • Permission required for devices weighing 5 kg or more and for night-time operation. The permission will be granted by the federal state aviation authorities.

The following rules will apply as of 1 October 2017:

  • Marking required for devices weighing 0.25 kg or more, for instance by means of (aluminium) stickers, available from specialist shops, stationers or the Internet. They must include the name and address of the owner. They must be permanently and firmly attached to the device and be fireproof.
  • Certificate of knowledge required for devices weighing 2 kg or more, by means of

    • The competent authority may permit exemptions from the prohibitions.
    • examination by a body recognized by the Federal Aviation Office (also possible online), minimum age: 16 years, or
    • certificate issued by an air sports association after a briefing has been given, minimum age: 14 years.
      The certificates referred to in 2. and 3. will be valid for 5 years.

More information can be found at