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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 but this depends on the drone's manufacturer. For example, DJI drones require the full license number to be added to the configuration.

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.


Can I fly a drone at night?

I couldn't find any restrictions on flying drones at night in the EASA documentations and the Netherlands' local regulations refer to the EASA documentations. So to the best of my knowledge, there's no restriction on flying drones at night.

Do I need a license to fly a C0 drone even if it has a camera?

No, according to the EASA documentations you don't need a license to fly a C0 drone. You only need to register as an operator.