Federal government regulates use of drones anew

On Friday, May 28, 2021, the Bundesrat approved the draft law submitted by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer to adapt national regulations to the European Commission's Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of May 24, 2019, on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. The new rules for drones will come into force in summer 2021.

The German government's Drone Action Plan, presented by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer on May 13, 2020, set out strategic guidelines for drone policy in the coming years. The aim is to enable the use of drones - and, in perspective, air cabs - as regular modes of transport.

Now comes the next step: the legislation presented by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) will adapt the currently existing national laws and regulations to the EU rules that have been in force since December 31, 2020. Additional regulations will also be created to make the use of drones in Germany easier, faster and safer. The aim is to promote innovation and bring drones into practical use while maintaining a high level of protection for people, nature and public safety.

The law includes the following new regulations for unmanned aviation:

    The operational prohibitions currently contained in the German Air Traffic Regulations (LuftVO), including those for the protection of public safety, nature and privacy, are transferred to geographical areas, reassessed and adapted:
        For the first time, it is clearly stipulated by law under which conditions drones are allowed to fly in geographical areas. With the same level of safety, the operation of drones is thus enabled and facilitated. This applies in particular to drones in the new "special" operating category, which are used, for example, to transport vital medical supplies.
        At the same time, the approach and departure areas of airports will be even more protected with new distance rules (5 km instead of the previous 1.5 km). The protected area to the side of the runways, where there is generally less air traffic, will be reduced in size (1 km instead of 1.5 km).

    In addition, it will also be possible in the future for state aviation authorities to issue exemptions for drone flights by general order.

    In addition, special airspaces can now be designated specifically for unmanned aviation for the first time.

    The Federal Aviation Authority will become the central point of contact for drone operators in the "permit-required" and, in many cases, "special" categories of operation. This will reduce bureaucratic hurdles - especially for cross-border operations between German states - and relieve the burden on the state aviation authorities.
        The state aviation authorities retain their competencies where drone operators benefit from their expertise and local knowledge, for example when issuing operating permits.

    Drones in the "permit-required" operating category, such as aerial cabs, are subject to the same stringent technical, operational and personnel requirements as manned aviation.

    Exemptions from the new rules in the "open" category have been created for members of air sports associations, as a good safety culture already exists within the association framework. For example, regular training courses are held and ascents are always carried out under professional guidance.

Source: BMVI

Kopterzentrale has summarized the current status and procedures for implementing EU drone law in a guide. This is updated on a regular basis.