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
- Drones - National Aviation Authorities: It's a collection of links to each country's local licensing process and geographical restrictions.
- RDW Guide (For the Netherlands)
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.
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
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.