New EU rules for unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft)

On 11 June 2019 the European Union published its new legislation on the certification and operation of unmanned aircraft. The new rules, which also cover the operation of model aircraft, are now being implemented in the EU Member States (as well as non-EU countries that are members of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that will apply these rules, such as Norway and Switzerland).

The new rules allow each EU Member State to choose to continue its current national rules for the operation of model aircraft without any major changes. To allow the current national rules for model aircraft to continue to apply, the national authorities of each EU Member State need to provide an authorisation for “activities in the framework of model aircraft clubs and associations”. Without such national authorisation, pilots will fly under the EU-wide rules for unmanned aircraft under the “open category” from 1 January 2023 onwards. In many countries these “open category rules”, which include age limits and a height limit of 120m, are stricter than rules that currently apply to the operation of model aircraft.

This section of our website provides the following information: