At this moment there is more unmanned aerial vehicle traffic than manned, legislation however is widely spread not able to keep the pace with the development of the market.
As you can see in our map, a lot of countries are busy with a regulatory process. These (speaking for Europe in particular) are mainly interim solutions until there is a comprehensive legislation regulating (i.e. for cross-border drone flights). You can see the different stages of legislation in the map below. We put all information into a cluster with the following six stages:
- no progress (blank)
- there is progress but no individual framework
- there are some specific recommendations
- there are specific guidelines
- there are specific regulatory proposals
- there is an individual and substantial framework of regulations
Let’s have a closer look on the European Union and the EASA.
“Drones should be integrated into the existing aviation system in a safe and proportionate manner and this integration should foster an innovative and competitive European drone industry, creating jobs and growth.”
The EASA wrote this referring to the speed of industry growth in the EU referring to the potential for small and medium sized business opportunities. The EASA realizes that drones are developing at a rapid pace worldwide and in particular in EU countries. To accommodate these technological development the EASA proposes three categories of drone operations:
Open: Designed to allow simple operations and to allow small and medium sized businesses to gain experience.
Specific: Assigned for those operations that pose significant aviation risks to persons on the ground or which involves sharing airspace.
Certified: A certification is required for operations that pose aviation risks akin to normal manned aviation operations. These operations and the aircraft involved will be treated like ordinary aircraft in the classic aviation sense.
EASA’s approach is actually very innovative and progressive due to this Forbes statement. The EU is looking to implement a true risk based approach to regulation of drones, from the smallest drones all the way up to Airbus A320 size.
We are really looking forward to the presentation of the final regulatory proposal of the European Commission in December of 2015. Until that publication the European Union delegated the UAV responsibility to their member states. The whole European drone community desires the urgent harmonization of UAV regulation in Europe – hopefully on an appropriate and reasonable level.
Would you like to know more about regulation, e.g. from the FAA, New Zealand or Japan? Find your applicable regulation by clicking on to the relevant country on the interactive map above. This map is not meant as legal advice; verify the accuracy and currency of any regulations we cite before flying a drone.
Would like to operate in foreign countries? If you follow these five things you can’t fail.
Example for current legislative in EU member states
A cameraman and drone operator for aerial videography, cinematography and photography started his UAV business facing an enormous amount of regional regulations, although the formal regulation seemed easy to implement. He and his team mainly get orders for TV and advertising videos in his hometown Hamburg. To operate in Hamburg, a city and country state in the North of Germany, he needs a general permission for every operation with his copters below 5kg (11lbs) MTOW. No problem so far – to operate a GH4 octocopter with 9,4kg (21lbs) a single permission is required. In practice though, he has to apply for every single event personally at the local CAA office (Germany has 16 country states with sixteen local CAA offices). If he would like to operate outside Hamburg in the nearby country state, he needs an additional general and single-event-permission. Furthermore the current legislation says you’re not allowed to fly over crowded areas, which means police has to close the road for the time of operation. As you can see there is quite a massive effort to get your drone up into the German air for commercial purposes and to a maximum altitude of 50m (150ft).
Currently all these rules do not apply if you go out flying for hobby with a maximum altitude of 30m (100ft).