What Are the Drone Laws in Germany That You Should Know

Before you can use your UAV, you should know and understand what are the drone laws in Germany. Stay informed and fly your drone safely and legally.
drone laws germany

If you are a German resident or you plan on visiting soon and using your drone to take some memorable shots, you should know what are the drone laws in Germany. There are many reasons that you could be interested in German drone regulations. You might be a seasoned enthusiast or you want to capture cinematic shots while your drone soars over stunning landscapes. Whatever motivation drives you, understanding laws and regulations ensures your flights are legal but also safe and enjoyable.

Understanding What Are the Drone Laws in Germany

Because Germany is a member of the European Union, drone users must adhere to EU laws and regulations. However, when in Germany, you should also navigate a set of national directives to ensure safe and responsible drone operations. As a member of the EU, this country adheres to the drone regulations established by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

These regulations include the requirement for pilots to hold the EU Drone Licence, consisting of the basic Licence A1-A3 and the additional Licence A2. What is also integral for responsible drone usage is avoiding geo-zones (unless having a proper geographical Flight Authorization), respecting privacy, and maintaining liability insurance.

General Rules for Drone Operations

Now, let’s explain the general rules for flying drones that encompass a range of requirements designed to safeguard both drone pilots and the public. Drones must stick to specific guidelines, including the following:

  • They must fly below a maximum altitude of 120 meters,
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles must not venture too far but maintain direct line-of-sight with the pilot,
  • The pilot or the entity using the drone should be registered and have a drone operator number,
  • The drones must display the drone operator number and the class marking of the UAS. 

Additionally, all drones above 250 g MTOM require proof of pilot qualification.

Things to Avoid

When using drones, there are some things you should avoid at all costs. First of all, you must refrain from flying above gatherings of people and areas where accidents have happened. On top of that, UAVs should not fly in designated Geo-zones without the necessary permit. Flying over residential premises or over people is allowed only if the drone is marked C0 or C1 but should be avoided for drones with a maximum take-off mass exceeding 250g. Also, if it carries a payload that is capable of receiving, transmitting, or storing optical or audio data, the consent of residents or owners is needed.

A white drone on a metallic surface

Germany Drone Laws for Model Aircraft Operation

If you own a model aircraft, there are specific guidelines and regulations you need to be aware of to ensure responsible and safe drone operation. These regulations can be divided into two categories – what you must do and what you must not do.

What to Do As a Model Aircraft Operator

If you plan to navigate the skies with a model aircraft in Germany, keep in mind that it involves a set of rules and responsibilities. These include:

  • If your drone has a maximum take-off weight (MTOM) exceeding 12kg, you must obtain special authorization from the competent federal state aviation authority to operate it.
  • Direct visual contact with the UAV during flight must be maintained.
  • Ensure you stay at least 1.5 km from residential areas if your model aircraft has an internal combustion engine
  • Adhere to controlled airspace regulations and Geozones zones.
  • Have insurance for your model aircraft unless it weighs less than 1 kg.
  • Respect the privacy of other individuals.

Germany Drone Laws when Operating a Leisure UAV

There are also some things you must avoid as a drone operator.  Firstly, when flying in a city, keep your drone at a safe distance from people. Secondly, adhere to altitude limits, avoiding flying your drone more than 120 meters above the ground. You will also have to obtain the basic Licence A1-A3 to fly a C1 drone. Lastly, when it comes to residential areas, be considerate. Don’t fly a drone weighing more than 250g or equipped with the ability to capture optical or audio data over residential premises unless you’ve obtained consent from the property owner.

Two women sitting on the sand while flying a drone

Drone Regulations in Germany When Operating a Professional UAV

There is a comprehensive set of regulations to ensure safe and responsible drone operations when it comes to operating a professional unmanned aerial vehicle like a surveillance drone. Let’s first discuss what you must do to maintain safety and legality:

  • If your drone has a maximum take-off weight (MTOM) exceeding 25kg, obtaining special authorization after the JARUS SORA is mandatory.
  • Special authorization after the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) is also required for operating your drone within residential areas for drones heavier than 4 kg maximum take-off mass or to overfly people with drones heavier than 900g maximum take-off mass.
  • Drones with an MTOM exceeding 900g (operated in the Open A2 subcategory) necessitate proof of qualification for the pilot from an authorized entity.
  • Drones with an MTOM exceeding 250g must have a fireproof permanent label containing the owner’s name and address at a visible spot on the drone.
  • Maintain direct visual contact with your drone all the time it is in flight. Flying outside of the direct visual contact of the pilot with your drone will require special authorization after SORA. 
  • Special authorization after the SORA is also required when flying above 120 m above ground level.
  • Adhere to regulations concerning controlled airspace and Geozones.
  • Carry appropriate insurance for your drone
  • Always respect the privacy of individuals when operating your drone.

What You Must Not Do While Operating a Professional UAV

Like with general rules and regulations for model aircraft, it’s essential to avoid some things with a professional unmanned aerial vehicle (such as those used for search and rescue). Firstly, steer clear of crowded areas to refrain from flying your drone close to gatherings of people or accident sites. 

Secondly, maintain your drone’s altitude below 120 meters above the ground unless hold the necessary permit. Lastly, be cautious when flying over residential properties, especially if your drone exceeds 250 grams in weight. This also applies to UAVs with equipment capable of recording optical or audio data. In such cases, always obtain consent from the beneficial owner to ensure responsible and lawful operations.

Black quadcopter drone on the green grass field

Stick to Guidelines and Employ UASolutions for All Regulatory Requirements

Operating an unmanned aerial vehicle within Germany’s borders comes with important responsibilities. If you stick to these laws and regulations, you ensure not only your safety but also the privacy and well-being of others. So to use your drone responsibly, you should remember to exercise caution and obtain the necessary authorizations. If you require assistance in navigating these requirements, you should reach out to UASolutions. We are here to support and guide you and make your UAV operations both compliant and successful.