Under the umbrella term "unmanned aerial vehicles", unmanned aerial systems are colloquially referred to as "drones" and model aircraft. Unmanned aerial systems include, for example, quadro/hexa/octocopters for commercial photography, advertising airships, and also model aircraft when used for commercial purposes.
When used for sports or recreational purposes, they are model aircraft. Legally, model aircraft and unmanned aerial systems are treated largely the same as unmanned aerial vehicles.
Since 31.12.2020, the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles applies in principle to the operation of unmanned aerial systems. In addition, some provisions of national law for the operation of model aircraft must also be observed (in particular § 21 f Luftverkehrs-Ordnung (LuftVO)).
If the operation of model aircraft takes place within the framework of air sports associations, a permit is required, provided that the model aircraft is
- with more than 12 kilograms take-off mass
- with rocket propulsion, provided that the mass of the propellant is more than 20 g,
- with an internal combustion engine, operated at a distance of less than 1.5 km from residential areas.
In addition, the operation of all model aircraft at night within the meaning of Article 2, sentence 2, number 34 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 requires permission.
The respective applications shall be submitted informally.
If the operation takes place within the framework of air sports associations, remote pilots of model aircraft with a take-off mass of more than 2 kg must additionally participate in a training measure of the air sports association in accordance with § 21 f para. 2 LuftVO, through which sufficient knowledge is gained in the
- the use and safe control of the operated model aircraft
- the relevant principles of aviation law and
- the local airspace regulations
If the operation does not take place within the framework of air sports associations, operation within the framework of the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 in the open category is also possible as an alternative. In this case, the requirements and conditions of the respective subcategory A1, A2 or A3 must be complied with.
Regardless of whether the operation takes place according to LuftVO or Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, § 21 h para. 3 LuftVO must be observed (operation in geographical areas)