It is increasingly common for drones to fly over the world for different reasons, such as security and video recording , among others. However, there are many companies that are considering using this medium to send their correspondence or those that use them to take photographs from different points of view. In this way, this device is becoming one more that we can see on a daily basis, whether for leisure or professional reasons. However, few really know the current regulation on the use of drones . Taking into account how they are used and that there are certain risks regarding this fact, it is important to analyze how we should act in the case of handling one . In order to make it easy for you, throughout this article we are going to explain everything you need to know.
- Current regulation on the use of drones
- Drone pilot license
- Limitations when flying a drone
- Regulations for drones weighing less than 250 grams
- Drone registration, key point in the regulation on the use of drones
- Flying the drone with common sense
- Type of categories
- Drone flights in a specific category: a special section in the regulation on the use of drones
Current regulation on the use of drones
The State Agency for Aviation Safety (AESA) is in charge of developing the regulation on the use of drones. In Spain, the European Regulations RE 2019/947 and RD 2019/945 have already begun to be applied. Likewise, it should be noted that Royal Decree 1036/2017 , of December 15, will continue to be in force until 2022. However, you must always be aware of possible variations that can be decided in a matter of weeks or months. As in other areas, depending on the circumstances, the regulations change. And it is exactly the same that can happen in the world of drones.
One of the novelties of the latest drone regulation in Spain is that the distinction between flying drones for work or for leisure has been eliminated . The requirements are now joint, regardless of the purpose of the activity.
Drone pilot license
Regarding the Official Drone Pilot License , this will continue to be applicable for Security Forces and Bodies; But, in the case of not belonging to this last group, those who want to use a drone of more than 250 grams will have to have a certificate that proves a minimum knowledge .
In this way, those who want to fly drones in the open category must take and pass an exam at AESA . This may be Level 1 or Level 2 depending on the risk of the activity to be carried out. However, if we talk about the specific category, it is essential to pass the exam corresponding to Level 3. In this way, it will be possible to operate in all those scenarios that are contemplated in it.
Limitations when flying a drone
First of all, the pilot when flying the drone always has to have it within his visual range , except in a specific category under STS BVLOS. Also, this device cannot be used within five miles of an aerodrome, airport or controlled airspace. Nor can it exceed 120 meters in height regardless of where it is being used.
On the other hand, liability insurance is not mandatory . However, it is highly recommended to have one. The reason is that the pilot will be solely responsible for the damage caused by this device, whether to a building, a vehicle or a person, among others.
Likewise, it is necessary for the drone to have a fireproof identification plate affixed to it, stating the model, the manufacturer’s name, the serial number and the pilot’s contact details. Of course, the right to privacy of all the people who may appear in the images made by the drone must always be protected. Therefore, great care must be taken when disclosing the latter so as not to violate the Data Protection Law .
Regulations for drones weighing less than 250 grams
There are those who think that if the drone weighs less than 250 grams there is no need to follow any regulations, but without a doubt it is a mistake. It is true that in these cases the regulation is more permissive, but, even so, there are a series of points that must be applied if you want to comply with the law and with security.
For example, you must take the AESA Level 1 exam at least. In the case of exceeding it, the user will be able to fly the device in subcategories A1 and A3 of the open category. On the other hand, you can never exceed 120 meters in height in vertical distance or 50 meters in horizontal distance. It is totally forbidden to fly the drone in National Parks , in Biosphere Reserves, in wildlife conservation areas and in other protected natural spaces.
On the other hand, as we have explained before, you cannot fly within eight kilometers of controlled airspace. And, in addition, if the drone has a camera, you must always take into account the Right to Honor and Privacy of people .
Drone registration, key point in the regulation on the use of drones
In case the drone is certified, it is not necessary to register it. Of course, you always have to do it at AESA . The registration is valid for five years and will be recognized in all countries that are members of EASA. You will not need to do so if the device you use is considered, according to directive 2009/48 / CE, a toy.
Flying the drone with common sense
Without a doubt, it is not only necessary to take into account the regulation on the use of drones , but the use of common sense is also essential. The safety of people and the airspace must always be taken into account, flying the device responsibly and prudently . Of course, it is important to use the drone when the weather conditions allow it, without fog, rain or wind, and you cannot lose sight of the aircraft at any time.
Type of categories
Taking into account the existing risk with the drone flight, three operational categories have been defined. The first one is the open one . It has been designed for low-risk flights that do not require any type of authorization. On the other hand, we find the specific category , intended for medium risk flights in standard scenarios without declaration or, otherwise, with authorization. Finally, there is the certified category , which is the one that includes those operations with high risk. This requires a regulatory regime similar to that of manned aviation.
Drone flight in open category
Within the open category , you must always fly the drone within visual range, unless you have an observer or you are using the “follow me” mode. Likewise, in the event that a person encounters a manned aircraft, it is essential to reduce the height and land the drone as soon as possible . In this category the overflight of groups of people is not allowed and, of course, the transport of dangerous goods is prohibited.
Drone flights in a specific category: a special section in the regulation on the use of drones
The specific category regulates those uses of the drone in which there is a medium risk. Includes drones over 25 kilos, urban flights with drones over 4 kilos or without CE marking; or the throwing of materials.
Drone flight in certified category
For a category to be considered certified, there must be a high risk , for example, flights over crowds of people or transport of dangerous goods. Also operations impossible to mitigate without the certification of the operator, the drone or without requiring a license.
After reading all this information, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the fact that you cannot use your drone freely . As we have explained before, at the end of the day everything is based on common sense, protecting people and being responsible with all your actions when using a device of these characteristics.