Belgium

Contribution by the Belgian Aeromodelling League (the Association d’Aéromodélisme for the Walloon region and the Vereniging voor Modeluchtvaartsport for the Flemish region)

Summary

In Belgium, aeromodelling is allowed only on airfields that are permanently or temporarily authorized by the national authorities. There is a height limit of 120m above ground, with the possibility for authorities to temporarily allow a higher limit. Maximum weight is 150kg, and aircraft can be operated in visual line of sight only.

Implementing the new EU rules; state of play

Work on implementation is ongoing. There were various meetings with authorities, including on 10 September and 29 October 2019, to discuss the revision of the current general regulation concerning unmanned aircraft and the recognition of a special status of aeromodelling within these rules.

The Belgian Aeromodelling League (the Association d’Aéromodélisme for the Walloon region and the Vereniging voor Modeluchtvaartsport for the Flemish region) is demanding that activities in the framework of associations benefit from a special status that includes the following:

  • Allowing for a height of more than 120m, if possible 300m;
  • Maintaining the current weight limit of 150kg;
  • The two Belgian associations would be recognised as operators in line with Regulation 2019/947, their members would be their pilots;
  • As a result of this approach it is possible that in addition to the registration number of the operator (the association) also a unique pilot ID number may need to be displayed on the aircraft.

Implementation is expected to be finalised by 1 July 2020.

Who

There are currently no age limits. Following the implementation of the new EU rules it is likely that pilots younger than 12 years may need to be supervised by an adult. For operations under the open category, there is likely to be an age limit of 14 years.

Under the current rules, pilots need to be competent to fly their planes. Competence rules are defined by the associations. This is likely to stay the same following the implementation of the new EU rules.

A liability insurance is mandatory, with a minimum of EUR 2,500,000 for personal injury and a minimum of EUR 500,000 for property damage. This is likely to stay the same following the implementation of the new EU rules.

Under the current rules each member of the recognized associations has a unique ID number. Following the implementation of the new EU rules, the associations are likely to be registered as operators. As a result, it is possible that both the operator registration number and the currently existing pilot ID number will need to be displayed on the aircraft.

What

All models up to 150 kg if operated on authorised airfields, without further technical requirements. This is likely to stay the same following the implementation of the new EU rules. Outside aeromodelling fields open category rules apply.

Where

The authorisation for associations will apply to activities on recognised aeromodelling fields only.

Aeromodelling fields are forbidden in the following zones, unless otherwise authorised by the competent authorities:

  • In air traffic control zones (CTR) of civil and military airports;
  • within less than 1 km from helicopter, paramotors or ULM airports;
  • within less than 5 km from manned aircraft airports.

The minimal distance between aeromodelling fields is 3 km.

The current height restriction is 120m, the associations are requesting this to be increased to 300m following the implementation of the new EU rules (on recognised airfields). Model aircraft should keep a minimum distance of 200m from buildings or other obstacles.

All recognized aeromodelling airfields are in the official Airports index (AIP): https://ops.skeyes.be/html/belgocontrol_static/eaip/eAIP_Main/html/index-en-GB.html

Associations in Belgium

Belgium has two aeromodelling associations, for the Flemish and for the Walloon part of the country:

Further information and useful links