Open Category Rules

The open category requirements apply only to model aircraft activities outside the “framework of model aircraft clubs and associations”. What this means is for each Member State to decide. Some include only members of national associations and their operations on recognised airfields. Other Member States have a broader application. Our implementation pages may help you find out how a particular Member State applies this.

If your operation is not within this “framework” then you must comply with the open category requirements. These requirements are highly complex and depend on the weight of the aircraft and the location where it is flown. A detailed overview of these rules can be found through the website of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). More information may also be available through the website of your national aviation authority.

In summary, the open category rules include the following requirements that are most relevant for model aircraft operations:

  • A weight limit of 25 kg;
  • Flying in visual line of sight only, flown at a safe distance from people and not over assemblies of people;
  • A maximum distance of 120 meters from the closest point of the surface of the earth or, a height limit of 120 meters above the pilot for sailplanes up to a maximum of 10 kg (allowing for height-limited slope soaring under the open category)(see graphic below);

  • A minimum age requirement of 16 years, which a country can choose to reduce to 12 years, with the possibility for younger persons to fly under the supervision of a pilot of at least 16 years old;
  • All pilots flying unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 gr or with a camera need to be registered and the registration number must be displayed on aircraft;
  • All pilots will need to complete an online theoretical knowledge training course and pass an online examination (valid for five years).