More and more drones are popping up and in the meantime there are many flying models available at different prices for beginners, advanced and professionals. Since a large number of people had the opportunity to fly to great heights with a flying object, it was only a matter of time before tightening drone laws in the USA. In this article, we want to touch on the most important points of the 2017 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Ordinance.
It has been in effect since October 1, 2017, and every drone pilot must adhere to it. Pay particular attention to what you are allowed to do and how you should behave during the flight. Some violations can lead to serious fines.
The regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles consists of amendments to the air traffic licensing regulations (LuftVZO) and the air traffic regulations (LuftVO). This is to ensure that flying drones are protected by law so that in the event of damage there is a clear legal basis based on well-defined laws.
The first thing to do is to make flying with a drone safer!
The most important points of drone regulation:
- Drone identification
- Flight altitude, radius and prohibitions
- FPV flight tips
- Flight permit and drone license
- Flying over land and people
- Drone insurance
The labeling requirement stipulates that each drone pilot must label their drone that weighs over 250 grams.
This commitment came into effect on October 1, 2017.
Purpose of the labeling requirement
In the event of damage by a third party, the drone owner should be able to easily find and prosecute.
For example, if you are flying over a field next to a road and the drone has a technical defect, gets carried away and crashes into a car, you will have to pay for this damage. This is why drone insurance is so important. For the victim to find you, you need a drone license plate that looks like a vehicle.
What does a drone license plate look like?
The drone license plate will not be issued to you by the aviation authority, etc. You can just buy a badge for little money, but it must be fireproof. Then you write your details on a sticker and affix it, clearly visible above the plane.
- Name and surname
- Current address
- Phone number
Drone license plate requirements
The Drone Ordinance states that a drone license plate is fireproof and must be affixed to a model’s takeoff weight of over 250 grams, and that is exactly what it is. that it is clearly visible.
A metal drone badge engraved with your name and address is ideal.
Drone takeoff weight plays an important role in new drone regulations.
The Drones Ordinance divides drones into the following weight categories:
- Up to 0.25 kg
- 0.25kg to 2.0kg
- 2.0 kg to 5 kg
- More than 5 kg
In any case, you need to take out civil liability insurance for at least € 1 million, regardless of the weight of your drone.
Starting at 0.25 kg, you will need a permanent fire-resistant label that is clearly visible and should include your name and address.
With a takeoff weight of 2 kg, in addition to the marking requirements, proof of knowledge is required, the so-called drone driver’s license! (Advertising according to paragraph 21d LuftVo and for hobbies according to paragraph 21e LuftVo)
If your drone weighs more than 5 kg, you will not only need a license plate and driver’s license, but also a climbing permit, which you must submit to the State Aviation Administration!
Most of the drones we tested can move in the range of 0.25 to 2 kg. You don’t need any proof of knowledge or driver’s license to use these drones!
Unmanned aerial vehicle regulation goes hand in hand with all kinds of flight bans.We have listed them briefly for you.
Do not operate the drone if …
- the drone is out of sight of the controller (applies only to drones weighing up to 5 kg).
should be performed over people, places of incidents, disaster zones, over the locations of authorities and organizations, as well as over the troops of the Bundeswehr.
- The lateral distance to crowds of people, industrial enterprises, correctional institutions, military facilities, penitentiary facilities and electric power facilities does not exceed 100 meters. Overflight is also prohibited!
- should fly over reserves.
- over residential buildings (valid with a take-off weight of 0.25 kg).
- you want to rise above 100 meters above the ground if you do not have the appropriate certificate!
- you want to use a drone to transport explosives such as pyrotechnic or radioactive substances and mixtures.
- you want to fly with your drone over federal waterways, rail systems and federal highways. The distance to them must be at least 100 meters!
- your drone weighs more than 25 kg (from 2.5 kg a confirmation of knowledge is required, from 5 kg a climbing permit is required)!
In addition, when using the drone, you agree, among other things, to comply with the following points:
When flying and accidental contact with a manned aircraft, you should always avoid this!
If your drone has a camera function or can transmit audio signals, flying over objects is prohibited, even with a takeoff weight of 0.25 kg!
You can read these points again in detail in paragraph 21n of LuftVO: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/luftvo_2015/__21b.html
FPV flight tips
There are a few more things to consider when flying in first person view!
According to the rules for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, flights out of sight are prohibited! As a result, FPV flying, such as with FPV goggles like the one on the Parrot Beboop 2, is prohibited.
However, there are a few exceptions:
With a takeoff weight of less than 250 grams, you can fly in FPV mode, but only up to an altitude of 30 meters.
With an airplane take-off weight of 250 grams, the second person must always watch the drone, stand directly next to the controller and point out possible dangerous situations!
If the takeoff weight of your drone exceeds the total weight of 5 kg, you can obtain an ascent permit with which you can fly out of sight.
Compulsory drone insurance has been in effect in the USA since 2005.
It doesn’t matter if you want to use the drone for commercial or personal purposes, it is imperative to insure it! Whether commercial or private, the only difference is the cost of insurance!
In the event of an accident, the drone can cause minor damage to foreign objects, but it is also worth millions, such as in a serious car accident!
Consequently, the drone must be insured for at least € 1 million.
Drones’ liability for personal use
Private liability insurance covers property damage, personal injury and financial loss caused by the drone, depending on the tariff!
However, in the event of damage, insurance is paid only if the drone was actually used only in private! If you intentionally violate the drone regulation and applicable laws, insurance probably won’t pay off either! So take a look at exactly what the insurance policy says and get the right advice again!
Responsibility for a commercial drone
Unfortunately, commercial flights do not fall under the responsibility of private drones!
To do this, you need to take out commercial liability insurance with an insurance company. Insurance premiums for private liability are lower than for commercial!
You can also fully insure your drone. Thus, in the event of theft, water damage or other loss of the drone, you will be reimbursed for the purchase price, as well as possible repairs!
You will need a drone driver’s license or proof of knowledge with a takeoff weight of 2 kg!
For most of the drones we tested, this proof is not required as they are usually less than 2kg!
To obtain a drone license, you must meet several criteria.
To obtain a certificate you will need:
- Minimum age 16
- Police clearance certificate (clause 1 of article 30 of the Federal Central Register)
- Copy of ID
- registration form
You can choose between the online exam and the face-to-face exam. It consists of theoretical and practical parts, the content of which is regulated in a uniform manner.
For example, a drone license can be obtained from Kopter-Profi GmbH! Since 2012, you can take such training at Copter Profi. With their online tutorial, you can prepare yourself especially well for the exam.
Conclusion of the drone regulation
We believe that the new drone regulations are somewhat limiting the enjoyment of flying. In cities, it is practically not allowed to fly without permission. There are huge limitations. However, it is clear that such regulation is important if more and more people own and fly with a drone.
It is necessary to give up part of freedom for the sake of safety. Drone laws are of course important, no one wants to be spied on by neighbors or to have a drone crash into the windshield while driving.
You can clearly say: “Where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge.” However, in the coming years and decades, people will increasingly focus on this new technology.
In the event of damage, violation of the drone ordinance could have fatal financial consequences!
This article is not legal advice, but only describes our personal opinion! If you have any serious questions about the current legal situation, you should contact a lawyer!