The European Drone Regulations

Are you coming to Austria on Holiday and you want to take photos with your drone?
Are you a professional drone operator and you already have an authorization?
Here is what you need to know:

On 31 December 2020 a European Framework for the operation of drones entered into force, introducing a uniform regulation for flying drones in all EU Member States, including Norway and Liechtenstein (it is expected that it will soon become applicable in Switzerland and Iceland too).

You can find extensive information on the European Framework for drones, the different categories and frequently asked questions on the EASA Website.

No-Fly-Zones

Be aware that drone flights are not allowed in certain areas or a special authorization is necessary before conducting a flight. You can find these areas here and in the Austro Control Dronespace App.


 

The ‘open’ category

The ‘open’ category is the main reference for most leisure drone activities and low-risk commercial activities.
If you comply with the relevant requirements of the subcategories (A1, A2 and A3), no operational authorisation is required before starting a flight.


The following conditions must be met:

  • The drone operator has to be registered.
EU residents: Please register in the EU member state of your main residence (or principal place of business), contact the Aviation Authority in your member state for further details.
Non-EU residents: Please register in the EU member state in which you intend to operate your UAS first. If the first drone operation will take place in Austria, please register here .
 
  • All operated drones need sufficient insurance coverage.
Make sure that the sum insured is not below 750.000 SDR and your insurance is valid in Austria.
 
  • The drone pilot needs a proof of competency.
Depending on the subcategory of your drone operation (see table below), you need a certificate for A1/A3 and/or A2.
 
  • The drone must be maintained in visual line of sight (VLOS) at all times.
  • The drone is flown at a height of no more than 120 meters.
  • The drone must not carry any dangerous goods or drop any material.


Depending on the weight of your drone and the area of the operation, different requirements apply:

More detailed information on the ‘open’ category, including frequently asked questions, can be found here.


The ‘specific‘ category

The ‘specific’ category caters for riskier operations not covered under the ‘open’ category. To operate in this category, the drone operator needs an operational authorisation from the National Aviation Authority where they are registered before the operation takes place, taking into account the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment.

Authorisation for EU residents:

  • By 31 December 2020, any authorisation given by one member state will be valid in the rest of Europe. The drone operator is required to first receive an operational authorisation from the National Aviation Authority of the state of registration.
  • If you want to operate your drone also in Austria, you must ensure that the mitigating measures submitted in your original risk assessment are appropriate to the new environment you plan to operate in or update them if necessary.
  • Send an application with a copy of the operational authorisation granted by the National Aviation Authority of the Member State of registration, including the location (s) of the intended operation and the updated mitigation measures, to .
 

Authorisation for Non-EU residents:

  • As a non-EU resident, you are also required to register with the National Aviation Authority of the first EU country where you intend to operate (see above).
  • If you intend to operate in the ’specific’ category, you must apply for an operational authorisation to the National Aviation Authority of the EU Member State where you registered.
  • If you registered in Austria, you must send your application (the relevant forms can be found in the download section) to .

More detailed information on the ‘specific’ category, including frequently asked questions, can be found here.