Contribution by the KNVvL-modelvliegsport (Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging voor Luchtvaart / Royal Dutch Association of Aviation) and the FLRCV (Federatie van Limburgse RC Vliegers / Federation of RC pilots in Limburg) (last updated on 13/5/2022)
In The Netherlands, the recreational operation of unmanned aircraft is covered by the law “Regeling Modelvliegen” (Model Flying Regulation). This law will remain in force during the period until 01-01-2023, although slightly expanded. The major change on 31-12-2020 will be the requirement of registration of the operator: pilots or clubs. Pilots, when not flying at clubs, will have to follow a dedicated training and examination under EU-regulation. Working groups will be established between the government and the associations to further detail the Article 16 authorisation that will become valid from 01-09-2023 onwards. There is no provision to fly hobby model aircraft over 25 kg.
Implementing the new EU rules
Situation until 31-12-2020
(This part refers to the national law that will also remain valid in the period until 01-01-2023 with only minor adaptations)
Flying model airplanes recreationally is in principle allowed anywhere in airspace class G, provided permission of the owner of the terrain.
Flying model airplanes is covered by national law, the “Regeling Modelvliegen”, which will remain valid until 01-012-2023. According to this law it is not allowed to:
- fly hobby model aircraft over 25 kg.
- fly higher than 120m AGL in airspace G (except on sites of member clubs of one of the two Associations KNVvL or FLRCV: there the height limit is 300m AGL in class G)
- fly over assemblies of persons, over residential, industrial or port areas and 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).
- fly during the “aeronautic night”
- fly within a 3km radius from an uncontrolled aerodrome
- fly outside Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), so no First Person View (FPV)
- all other air-traffic has right of way
- 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)
- Inside Air Traffic Zones (ATZs) of military aerodromes (Airspace Class D) that allow flying model aircraft the height limit might be increased to 450m above ground provided separation has been agreed.
- A map with current flight restrictions can be consulted at: https://www.godrone.nl
When using cameras or recording equipment privacy rules must be respected.
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 until the maximum allowed weight of 25kg.
In the Netherlands, we do have a backlog in registering the model airfields: all model airfield sites need to be registered as model airports, allowing model aircraft to be operated according an agreement with the local municipality. This should cover 99 % of all model flying at any site. The agreement must 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.
Situation between 01-01-2021 and 01-09-2023
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.
The government agreed to use Article 16 as the basis for further implementation.
Pilots who fly at model airfields and at dedicated sites need to register themselves from 01-01-2021 onwards and put their registration number on their models. Model airplane clubs can also register as operator and their members can fly under this umbrella. The registration cost will be € 23 per pilot and then € 13 for a yearly prolongation thereafter.
Until 31-12-2022 flying model airplanes will still be covered by national law, the above-mentioned “Regeling Modelvliegen”. An adaptation to this law is expected early 2021, allowing First Person View (FPV) and lifting the height limit to 300m AGL in class G for all clubs, regardless their association.
Starting early in 2021, working groups will be established between the government and the associations to further detail the authorisation that will become valid from 01-09-2023 onwards.
Discussion points will be:
- Conditions of the Article 16 authorisation
- Safety (our government aims for a safety-manager per club)
- Guest pilots
- Activities like float flying and ad hoc contests, or shows during festivities within and around cities
Situation from 01-09-2023 onwards
Before 1-9-2023 the model airports will have to have obtained an authorisation from the government in order to be allowed to operate model aircraft.
Flying in the framework of clubs or associations will not be restricted to their model airfields but will be allowed anywhere in the Netherlands
Flying outside this framework will only be possible in the “open category”, requiring a dedicated training and examination. Costs for these are in between € 60 and € 100, depending on which recognized training institute one chooses.
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: