More and more drones are rising and meanwhile there are lots of models for beginners, advanced and professionals at different prices. With a large number of people with the possibility to fly with a flying object to high altitudes, it was only a matter of time until the drone laws were tightened in Germany In this article we want to go into the most important points of the UAV regulation 2017.
It has been active since 01 October 2017 and every drone pilot should adhere to it. Pay attention to what you are allowed to do and how you should behave when flying. Some violations can result in severe penalties.
The UAV Ordinance consists of renewals of the Air Traffic Licensing Regulation (LuftVZO) and the Air Traffic Regulation (LuftVO). This is intended to provide legal protection for drones flying, so that in the event of damage there is a clear legal basis on the basis of clearly defined laws.
Flying around with a drone should therefore be made safer in the first place!
The most important points of the drone regulation:
- Marking of the drone
- Flight altitude, radius and bans
- Guidelines for FPV flights
- Flying permit & drone driving licence
- Flights over property and persons
- Drone insurance
Marking of the drone
The marking obligation provides that every drone pilot whose drone exceeds a weight of 250 grams must mark it.
Since 01.10.2017 this obligation has come into force.
Purpose of the labelling requirement
In the event of external damage, the owner of the drone should be easy to locate and legally prosecute.
For example, if you fly over a field next to a road and the drone has a technical defect, drifts off and crashes onto a vehicle, you must pay for the damage. That’s why a drone insurance is quite important. In order for the injured party to be able to locate you, you will need a drone license plate, similar to a car.
What does the drone registration plate look like?
However, the drone license plate is not issued to you by an aviation authority or similar. You can simply buy a badge for little money, but it must be fireproof. Then write your data on the sticker and attach it clearly visible above the aircraft.
- First and last name
- Current address
- Phone number
UAV identification requirements
The drone ordinance stipulates that the drone identification mark is fireproof and must be affixed in such a way that it is clearly visible when the take-off mass of a model aircraft exceeds 250 grams.
A metal drone badge with your engraved name and address is ideal.
Weight of the drone
The take-off weight of a drone plays a major role in the new drone regulation.
The drone regulation divides unmanned aircraft into the following weight classes:
- Up to 0,25 Kg
- 0,25 Kg to 2,0 Kg
- 2,0 Kg to 5 Kg
- Over 5 Kg
In any case it is mandatory to take out a liability insurance with a coverage of at least 1 million €, no matter how heavy your drone is.
From a weight of 0.25 kg you need a permanent, fireproof marking, which is clearly visible and must contain your name and address.
From 2 kg take-off mass, a proof of knowledge, the so-called drone driver’s license is required in addition to the marking obligation! (Commercial according to paragraph 21d LuftVo and for the hobby according to paragraph 21e LuftVo)
If your drone weighs more than 5 kg, you will not only need a license plate and a drone driver’s license, you will also need an ascent permit, which you must apply for at your national aviation authority!
Most of our tested drones are in the range of 0.25 – 2 kg. For these drones you don’t need a proof of knowledge or a drone driving licence!
The drone regulation is accompanied by all kinds of flight bans. We have listed them for you briefly and concisely.
The operation of a drone is prohibited if…
- the aircraft is out of sight of the controller (only applies to drones under 5 kg)
the aircraft is to be flown over people, places of accidents, disaster areas, places of operation of authorities and organisations and over troops of the German Federal Armed Forces.
- the lateral distance to crowds of people, industrial plants, prisons, military installations, law enforcement facilities and power generation plants is less than 100 metres. A fly-over is also not permitted!
- to be flown over nature reserves.
- to be flown over residential properties (valid from 0.25 kg take-off weight).
- you want to climb higher than 100 meters above the ground, unless you have a corresponding certificate!
- you want to transport explosives with your drone, for example pyrotechnic or radioactive materials and mixtures.
- you want to fly with your drone over federal waterways, railways and federal highways. You need a distance of at least 100 meters to these!
- your drone weighs more than 25 kg (from 2.5 kg you need a proof of knowledge, from 5 kg you need an ascent permit)!
Furthermore, you commit yourself to the following points when using your drone:
When flying and accidental contact with a manned aircraft, you must always avoid it!
Should your drone have a camera function or be able to transmit audio signals, it is forbidden to fly over property even with a take-off weight of 0.25 kg!
You can read these points again in detail in paragraph 21n LuftVO: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/luftvo_2015/__21b.html
Guidelines for FPV flights
When flying in First Person View mode, there are still some things to consider!
According to the drone regulation, flights out of sight are prohibited! Consequently, FPV flights, for example with FPV goggles like those used on the Parrot Beboop 2, are not allowed.
However, there are a few exceptions:
Under 250 grams takeoff weight, you may fly in FPV mode, but only up to a height of 30 meters.
From 250 grams take-off weight of the aircraft, a second person must always keep a direct eye on the drone and stand directly next to the controller and point out possible dangerous situations to him!
If the take-off weight of your drone exceeds a total mass of 5 kg, you can obtain an ascent permit with which you can then fly out of sight.
The compulsory insurance for drones has been in force in Germany since 2005.
It doesn’t matter if you want to use the drone for commercial or private purposes, you have to insure it in any case! Whether commercial or private only makes a difference in the insurance costs!
A drone can cause slight damage to foreign objects when it crashes, but also costs millions of dollars, for example in a serious car accident!
The drone must therefore be insured with a minimum sum insured of 1 million euros.
UAV liability for private use
Depending on the tariff, private liability insurance covers property damage, personal injury and financial losses caused by the drone!
In case of damage, the insurance only pays if the drone was really only used privately! If you deliberately violate the drone ordinance and applicable laws, the insurance probably does not pay either! So take a look at the policy of the insurance company and get the right advice again!
The commercial drone liability obligation
Commercial flights are unfortunately not covered by the private drone liability insurance!
You must purchase commercial liability insurance from an insurance company. The insurance premiums for private liability insurance are lower than those for commercial liability insurance!
It is also possible to insure your drone fully comprehensive. In case of theft, water damage or other loss of the drone, the purchase price as well as possible repairs will be refunded!
Drone driving licence
A drone driver’s license or proof of knowledge, you need from a take-off weight of 2 kg!
For most drones tested by us, this proof is not necessary, as they usually weigh less than 2 kg!
In order to get a drone driving licence, you have to meet a few criteria.
Here’s what you need for appearances:
- Minimum age of 16 years
- Clean police clearance certificate (§30 para. 1 Federal Central Register)
- Copy of identity card
- Registration form
You can choose between an online and a presence test for the exam. It consists of a theoretical and practical part, the contents of which are uniformly regulated.
You can get a drone driving licence for example at the company Kopter-Profi GmbH! Since 2012 you can do such a training at Kopter Profi. With their online tutorial you can prepare especially well for the exam.
UAV regulation Conclusion
We find that the new drone ordinance limits the flying fun quite a bit. In cities, you’re almost never allowed to fly without proper authorization. The restrictions there are massive. However, it is clear that such a regulation is important if more and more people own a drone and fly around with it.
For safety reasons you have to give up a piece of freedom. Drone laws are of course important, nobody wants to be spied on by the neighbour or that while driving a car a drone suddenly crashes into the windscreen.
Sure you can say: “Where no plaintiff, there no judge.” However, in the coming years and decades, people’s attention will be increasingly focused on this new technology.
In case of damage, a violation of the drone regulation could have fatal financial consequences!
This article does not represent legal advice, but only describes our personal opinion! If you have profound questions about the current legal situation you should consult a lawyer!