Drone regulations in Austria
In this article, we explain the legal situation for the use of drones in Austria.
Since 2014, very strict rules for the operation of unmanned flight systems apply in Austria. Before you take your drone into the country, you should determine which category it belongs to. The weight and the desired altitude are important.
Overview: Drone rules in Austria
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The drone categories
In Austria, drones are divided into:
- flight model
- unmanned aircraft class 1
- unmanned aircraft class 2
Most relevant to most of our readers are the “toy” and “Unmanned Class 1 Aircraft” categories.
This category is about the kinetic energy of the device on impact. It must not exceed 79 joules. In addition, the device may reach an altitude of 30 meters maximum. This means that drones with a weight of 250 grams are considered toys if the maximum altitude is maintained and no people or things are endangered. Heavier drones could also be included in this category if the maximum altitude is reduced accordingly. No approval is required for this category, even if the drone is equipped with a camera.
Class 1 unmanned aircraft
Only flights with a direct line of sight to the drone (without technical aids) fall into this category. The decisive characteristic is that the flight is carried out commercially or not exclusively for the purpose of the flight itself. This is the case if you use your drone to capture photos or film (whether private or commercial). Pure streaming or FPV flights are not subject to authorization unless the recordings are saved.
Drones in this category require approval from Austro Control (exception is the toy category already mentioned). Austro Control differentiates between different categories depending on the location and weight:
|Operating mass\Area||Uninhabited||Populated||Densely populated|
|up to and including 5 kg||A||C||C|
|over 5, up to and including 25 kg||C||C||D|
|over 25, up to and including 150 kg||C||D||D|
Operating licenses for quadrocopters are only available for Category A, so the majority of drone pilots are only allowed to fly in undeveloped and uninhabited areas where there are no bystanders. For populated / densely populated areas, hexacopters or octocopters with corresponding redundancies are required.
One thing in advance: the approval costs a lot. At the moment it is around 330 euros for a year.
The application includes:
- the completed application form (in German)
- confirmation of a drone insurance (minimum coverage 750,000 special drawing rights = about 1 million euros)
- a copy of the photo IDs of the applicant and the pilot(s) (minimum age 16 years)
These documents should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the experience of several applicants, the approval will be issued within a few working days.
The drone must always be flown within line sight, which means, either the pilot must be able to see his device with the naked eye or, during a FPV flight, a second person must be present who can intervene in an emergency.
Anyone who flies illegally without approval faces a fine of up to 22,000 euros.
Radio transmission is possible on the frequencies 2.5 GHz with a maximum of 10 mW and 5.8 GHz with a maximum of 25 mW.
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Austria to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Austria!