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Legal Preparations

Flying drones and taking footage with them requires some legal preparations. Here I'm writing about the legal preparations that are needed in EU:


Consumer drones activities are regulated by the EASA under the Open Category section. Take a look at the document to get familiar with the terminology, specially the following terms:

  • A1 to A3 subcategories
  • C0 to C4 drone classes


Flight License

The first step is to get a flight license. The RDW Guide provides links to recognized training organizations that you can choose from. There are also free options available for A1/A3 license:


Your flying license is accepted in all EU countries regardless of where you got it from. You can take a free course from DAC (Luxembourg civil aviation authority) and get your A1/A3 license.

Operator Registration

You need to register as a drone operator at the country of your residence. The EASA website links to the local registration process for each country.

Adding a License to the Drone

You need to add your license number to the drone. Your operator license follows the format something-3letters (e.g. 1X2Y3Z-ABC). The first part (removing the last 3 letters) must be printed and attached to the drone (e.g. via a sticker) and also added to the drone's configuration.


It's been stated in RDW Guide (in the Next steps section) and the EuroControl course content states that the last 3 letters are not needed to be added to the drone's configuration and However, the EASA FAQ doesn't mention this and I'm a bit confused about it. Personally, I'll follow the RDW guide and keep the last 3 letters private.

Final Remarks

The process is pretty straight forward and you can get your license in a few days. Here's my take on the most important points to keep in mind when you're flying a drone:

Before Flying

  • Make sure you're familiar with your drone and its capabilities and limitations.
  • Check the weather conditions.
  • Check the drone.
  • Check the area.
  • Ensure you're in the right geographical areas.

While Flying

  • Maintain VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) with the drone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Give way to other aircrafts, preferably by landing.
  • Do not fly over people or above 120m.
  • Respect people's privacy. Get consent if capturing identifiable individuals.
    • People might be identifiable by their faces, location, or any other means.