In The Netherlands, the recreational operation of unmanned aircraft is in principle allowed anywhere in airspace class G, provided permission of the owner of the site. Exceptions are: not within a 3km radius from an uncontrolled aerodrome, not over assemblies of persons, over residential, industrial or port areas and not over railway lines or paved public roads. In airspace class C or D specific rules are to be agreed upon in a covenant with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL). The height is limited to 120m above ground with exception of sites of member clubs of one of the two Associations (KNVvL-modelvliegsport (Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging voor Luchtvaart) and FLRCV (Federatie van Limburgse RC Vliegers)), where the limit is 300m above ground in airspace class G. Maximum aircraft weight is 25kg. Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) is mandatory. A personal liability insurance is not required but advisable. There is no provision to fly hobby model aircraft over 25 kg.
Implementing the new EU rules; state of play
The implementation of the new EU rules is still “work in progress”. The associations aim for continuing to operate as they do today with only minimal extra work or limitations.
All model airfield sites, regardless whether operating under the umbrella of KNVvL or FLRCV, need to be registered as model airports, allowing model aircraft to be operated within a radius of 0,5 Nautical Mile (926m). This should cover 99 % of all model flying at any site.
To get the status of an official model airfield, the clubs need to provide a proof from the local municipality that they are aware of the existence of the club at that site. This proof must then be sent to the government who in due time will publish the locations on official aeronautical charts. Furthermore they will publish a few additional areas where model flying will be allowed, f.i. a few dune areas where hang gliding takes place.
It is likely that the pilots who fly at model airfields and at dedicated sites need to register themselves, but not their models.
Flying outside those published model airfields and dedicated sites will be getting more complex as there will be no discrimination between commercial and recreational use. So we expect problems with activities like float flying and ad hoc contests, or shows during festivities within and around cities etc.
There are currently no age restrictions or registration requirements for the recreational operation of unmanned aircraft in The Netherlands. A certificate of competence is not required; the associations however do issue a certificate after a successful flight examination (without a check on theoretical knowledge). A personal liability insurance is not required; the associations however either have a liability insurance for their members or require their members to have a household liability insurance that covers flying with model airplanes.
There is no requirement to be a member of a club or association. This is not likely to change following the implementation of the new EU rules.
No permit is required for the operation of model aircraft up till the maximum allowed weight of 25kg. There are no requirements for a registration number, not for the operator nor on the aircraft. Neither are there any technical requirements. From July 2020 pilots will need to register themselves, but not their aircraft.
Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) is mandatory, so First Person View (FPV) is still officially not allowed. Flying is only allowed during daylight. Flying unmanned aircraft recreationally is in principle allowed anywhere in airspace class G, provided permission of the owner of the terrain. Exceptions are: not within a 3km radius of an uncontrolled aerodrome, not over assemblies of persons, over residential, industrial or port areas, not over railway lines or paved public roads (except roads in 30km/h zones within city-limits and roads in 60km/h areas outside city-limits). In military low-flying areas in airspace class G an observer is mandatory. In airspace class C or D specific rules are to be agreed upon in a covenant with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL). The height is limited to 120m above ground with exception of sites of member clubs of one of the two Dutch associations (KNVvL and FLRCV), where the limit is 300m above ground in airspace class G. Inside Air Traffic Zones (ATZs) of military aerodromes that allow flying model aircraft the height limit might be increased to 450m above ground provided separation has been agreed.
When using cameras or recording equipment privacy rules must be respected.
A map with current flight restrictions can be consulted at: https://kadata.kadaster.nl/dronekaart
In The Netherlands two aeromodelling associations are active:
- KNVvL-modelvliegsport (Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging voor Luchtvaart / Royal Dutch Association of Aviation): (https://www.knvvl.nl/modelvliegsport)
- FLRCV (Federatie van Limburgse RC Vliegers / Federation of RC pilots in Limburg): (https://www.modelvliegers.nl)
Further information and useful links
A list of airfields and clubs can be found under:
- KNVvL-modelvliegsport: https://www.knvvl.nl/modelvliegsport/vlieglocaties
- FLRCV: https://www.modelvliegers.nl/aangesloten-clubs
The government website with current legislation for flying model airplanes can be found under: