Frequently Asked Questions

What is a drone?

The term "drone" has been used widely and for a long time. The more correct term is 'unmanned aircraft system', which refers to the drone itself, its operating system as well as any other equipment used by the remote pilot to operate it - such as the kit control,  launch catapult etc.

Why is there a regulation on the operation of a drone?

The aim of this regulation is to establish a legal framework consisting of rights and obligations, that allow drone pilots to fly safely, regardless of the European country in which they operate. The main objective is to ensure the safety of people both on the ground and in the air.

Why first determine if the situation falls under the "Open" category?

The regulation of drones is divided into three categories which have been determined according to the level of risk posed:

  • OPEN
  •  SPECIFIC
  • CERTIFIED

The OPEN category imposes important rules that protect other aircrafts (planes, helicopters, ultralights, etc.) as well as people on the ground. Consequently, it is very important to know these conditions so as not to endanger individuals and / or material goods. Flying in the OPEN category without meeting all the requested criteria would pose too great a risk. This is why prior operational authorization will be required to fly under Special conditions in case any one criterion is not met.

What are the horizontal safety distances from uninvolved people for subcategories A1 / A2 / A3?

In all cases, operations must take place in VLOS (visual flight) and at a maximum height of 120m.

In A1, it is possible to fly "close" to individuals WITHOUT FLYING OVER THEM with a UAS marked class C0 / C1. In the absence of class C, only UAS of less than 500gr can fly in A1 until 31.12.2022.

In A2, it is possible to fly at a horizontal safety distance of:

  • 5m in low-speed with a UAS marked class C0 / C1 / C2,
  • 30m at normal speed with a UAS marked class C0 / C1 / C2,
  • 50m at normal speed with an unmarked UAS of less than 2kg (until December 31, 2022).

In A3, it is possible to fly at a horizontal safety distance of 150m from any industrial, commercial, residential or leisure site and therefore from anyone not involved.

 

Important : as from 01.01.2023, any unmarked UAS class C0 to C4 over 250gr will be authorized exclusively in category A3.

 

I have an unmarked class "C" drone. In which category can I fly during the transition period? (Until 12.31.2022). And after ? (from 01.01.2023)
I have a drone marked Class "C". In which category can I fly?
What are the characteristics of UAS marked class "C"?
What happens if I do not comply with the regulations in force?

It is important to keep in mind that these rules are primarily intended to protect those around you, your friends, family members or passers-by who might be too close and therefore in danger if your UAS should fail and fall with all its weight.

In Luxembourg, the DAC is in charge of the safety and security of civil aviation and ensures compliance with the applicable rules.

Regular compliance checks will also be carried out on the ground by the Grand Ducal Police. Any non-compliance with the aforementioned rules will be penalized.

Is the DAC the only entity that oversees drone operations?

In Luxembourg, the DAC is the authority in charge of aviation safety and security. Also involved are managers of restricted geographic areas to which you may need to notify before any overflight. Finally, the coordination extends to the European level with the involvement of EASA (the Aviation Safety Agency of the European Union) and the national authorities of the countries concerned by the new Regulation. For the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, these entities can be the ANA (Administration de la Navigation Aérienne), the Grand Ducal Police or the managers of the UAS Geographical Zones.

I am under 16 and want to fly a drone. Can I still fly?

Yes, provided that:

  • you are over 14 years old, and
  • that all the other prerequisites are met and 
  • you are supervised by a person over 16 years of age having the remote pilot qualifications required under the terms of the regulations.
I don't know the weight of my drone.

It is the operator's responsibility to know all the characteristics of the drone he/she intends to operate. Regarding the question of the drone's weight, the operator is invited to consult the manufacturer's instructions and / or to weigh the drone himself/herself if accessories have been added to the drone while remaining compliant with the regulations. Ex: do not make a modification that could downgrade a drone marked "C" or switch its use to a more restrictive sub-category.

What does VLOS or "visual flight" mean?

It is a type of operation in which the remote pilot is able to maintain continuous visual contact without assistance with his drone. This allows him to control the flight path of it in relation to other aircraft, from people and obstacles, to avoid collisions.

How can I determine how high my drone is evolving?

In principle, most drones on the market are equipped with altimeters that indicate the height of the drone. In case of doubt, it is always advisable to fly lower in order to be sure you respect the maximum authorized height.

Once my drone is in the air, what should I do if one or more people on the ground are moving under my drone?

In the OPEN category, flying over gatherings of people or people not involved in the drone operation is generally prohibited. It is therefore imperative to move the drone in such a way as to avoid any overflight of people and to maintain a horizontal safety distance according to the UAS Class.

If the overflight nevertheless remains inevitable and necessary, it must be operated under the cover of the Specific category and requires the operator / remote pilot to provide a detailed and documented risk analysis in accordance with the regulation in force.

Why am I required to take out insurance for my drone?

When you fly a drone, an accident can happen. In the worst case, accidents involve human beings and / or property. This can result in bodily injury and / or material damage that must be compensated through liability insurance. If you are operating outside Luxembourg, please check the applicable national requirements: https://www.easa.europa.eu/domains/civil-drones/naa

I am a minor. Do I still need to take out insurance for my drone?

As a minor, insurance must be taken out by the legal representative. The latter must ensure that this insurance covers the drone operations carried out by the minor concerned.

What does "the operation is exempt from authorization by the DAC" mean?

If the operator meets all the conditions for the OPEN category, then the operator must not contact the DAC in order to obtain an authorization prior to operating the drone. The operator is responsible for the strict compliance with the conditions to operate in the "OPEN" category.

What do you mean by "persons not participating in the operation"?

These are the individual people who are not involved in drone operations, directly or indirectly. On the other hand, those involved in the operation are those who are familiar with the instructions and safety precautions given by the drone operator.

Please note: During large events (such as concerts or football matches), we speak of “gatherings of people”, in which case overflights are prohibited in the OPEN category. It would therefore not be enough to educate the public via loudspeaker or by warning on tickets.

What is meant by "height of 120 m above the ground"?

This is the distance between the ground and the drone in a straight and vertical line, regardless of the position of the remote pilot. When the UAS starts from a natural elevation in the ground or flies over hilly terrain, the UAS should be maintained no more than 120 meters from the earth's surface below the device. Example: if the flight is operated from the highest point of a hill in a straight horizontal line, the height of the drone will gradually increase and at this time could exceed the authorized 120m. It is important to adjust the flight height at all times.

 

Abbreviations and acronyms

- ATC Air Traffic Control
- RTL Return to Launch (HOME)
- SRTL Smart Return to Launch
- VLOS Visual Line of Sight
- BVLOS Beyond visual line of sight
- CAA Civil Aviation Authority
- ICAO International civil aviation organization
- NOTAM Notices to airmen
- TFR Temporary Flight Restriction
- AGL (Height) Above Ground Level
- ASL (Height) Above Sea Level
- GCS Ground Control Station
- LiPo Lithium Polymer (Batteries)
- LiIo Lithium Ion (Batteries)
- UAS Unmanned Aircraft System
- UAV Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle
- RPAS Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
   

 

Last update