Safe use of drones

Published by: Roderick Rischen posted on 16 November 2015 reading time

Regulations on the use of drones are still evolving, at the European level and at the national level. At the moment, European regulations apply to drones weighing 150 kg or more, while national governments can regulate the less heavy (and most common) drones.

The regulations refer to a drone as an RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), an RPA or a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). A distinction is made between the commercial use of a drone and the use by a private individual who considers flying a drone his hobby.

In October 2015, the European Parliament gave indications to the European Commission about the things that will have to be taken into account in the new legislation. Think for example of a compulsory ID chip and registration, but also clear rules about safeguarding privacy.

In the Netherlands, the following currently applies.

Private persons are allowed to fly with certain drones. The drone must always be visible to the pilot during daylight hours. It is not permitted to fly in built-up areas. You may not fly higher than 120 metres above the ground or water. It is not permitted to fly in the vicinity of airports and in certain other designated areas. The model flying regulation applies to the private/recreational use of RPAS.

For professional use, the Regulations on Remotely Piloted Aircraft apply, among other things. Companies or professional pilots may only use an RPAS if they have a pilot licence for the RPAS, a certificate of airworthiness issued for the RPAS and the company must have a licence which states that the air operator concerned has the professional competence and organisation to operate the RPAS safely. When the RPAS weighs more than 25 kilograms, there are further requirements.

The regulations have changed several times in recent months and it looks like there will be no final regulation for the time being.

If you own a drone for private or professional use and you are wondering about the exact requirements, please contact us.