Drone laws in Germany


In the follow up to our previous blog, on which drones are the best in the market for you, we are here to address the next pressing question on every drone owners mind.

‘What are the laws for flying drones in Germany? Can I fly this bad boy with no stress?’

You can either search the internet and expend lots of time and energy or you can do the smart thing and just read our blog and save yourself the hassle.

Sadly, the answer to the above question is No..

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as they are called in official jargon, have become subject to tight scrutiny and observation since their exponentially increased use.

Status quo

So here goes.

On the 7th  April 2017, The Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur) Mr. Alexander Dobrindt, issued new sets of rules governing drones.

Below are the rules effective from the day they were released:

  • Going forward, special permission will no longer be required to operate a UAV weighing less than 5 kg, coupled with this the existing ban on beyond visual line of sight operations shall be removed for vehicles weighing more than 5kg.

Federal state aviation authorities have the rights to grant permits for drones 5kg and above and for night time flying.

Certain things are still off limits though, for example:

  • Flying drones weighing less than 5 kilos, outside line of vision is not allowed.
  • Flying over residential property, if your drone weighs 2.5 kg or more, OR is capable of transmitting and/or recording optical, acoustic or radio signals.
  • Flying higher than 100 meters (it is allowed in model flying sites for which general permission has already been granted and a supervisor has been appointed, or if the UAV is not a multi-copter. However, if the operator is a licensed aircraft operator, then you may do so.
  • In and over sensitive areas are off-limits such as sites of Police, emergency and service operations, hospitals, large gathering of people, Industrial plants, Federal or State authorities and Natural reserves etc.
  • Above certain traffic routes.
  • In airfield zones (landing and take-off areas included).

To note: Competent authorities are allowed to permit exemptions to the above. Whether they do or don’t is up to them.

Further rules by October 2017

It doesn’t end there.

From the 1st October, this year the following will also come in effect.

  • Your drone needs to be marked, by means of (aluminium) stickers, plaques etc. with the name and address of the owner. It must be as permanently/firmly attached as possible and must be fireproof.
  • If your UAV weighs 2kilos or more, then you must have a Certificate of knowledge. This could be:
      1. Valid piloting license.
      2. The competent authority has permitted an exemption from the prohibition.
      3. Certification after examination by a body that is recognised by the Federal Aviation office (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) (which is possible via online also); minimum age 16 years. Or,
      4. A certification after admission by an air-sports association [Luftsportverein (only valid for flight models)]; minimum age 14 years.

Certificates mentioned in C and D will be valid for 5 years.

Also, it goes without saying that it is the duty and obligation of every drone owner and operator to avoid other manned or unmanned aerial vehicles so as to reduce the probability of accidents. Basically, don’t play chicken with your drones!!

Since this is a matter of the law, and we don’t want you to get into trouble due to some misunderstanding or misinterpretations. We highly recommend that you take a look at the below links to the official statements/rules released on the Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur website.

We wish you safe and incident free flying!