The legal situation in Croatia is rather difficult for drone pilots. In this post, we’ll explain to you which requirements you need to consider.
Since December 2018 new rules apply in Croatia. Essential for the assessment of a drone flight is now the weight of the aircraft, the speed, and the planned location. The following categories have been introduced:
- Category A: This includes all drones with less than 250 grams take-off mass and a maximum speed of less than 19 m / s.
- Category B1: This group includes drones with a mass from 250 to 900 grams and a maximum speed of less than 19 m / s. The category B1 includes e.g. the DJI Spark and the DJI Mavic Pro.
- Category B2: This category includes unmanned aerial vehicles weighing less than five kilograms. Airspeed no longer matters from category B2. Representatives of the B2 class are the DJI Mavic Air, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro / Zoom and the DJI Phantom 4.
- Category C1 and C2: These categories include drones with a take-off weight of five kilograms or more. Since these are hardly common, I do not go further here on these categories.
Good to know: When talking about the speed the actual flown speed is not relevant, but the maximum possible speed according to the manufacturer.
Do I need a drone permit in Croatia?
In uncontrolled airspace you do not need a permit for each flight in categories A and B1. Nonetheless, you always need permission to record videos or photos with your drone. More about the Croatian photo permission can be found at the end of the article.
Depending on the category, the different maneuvers are allowed, as shown in the table below. For deviating flight maneuvers you need the permission of the Croatian Aviation Authority (CCAA).
|A||Day and night||–||Settled and uninhabited areas|
|B1||Only during day||14 Years||Only uninhabited areas|
|B2||Day and night||16 Years||Settled and uninhabited areas|
|C1||Only during day||18 Years||Only uninhabited areas|
|C2||Day and night||18 Years||Settled and uninhabited areas|
In category B1, younger people can control the drone as long as an adult person supervises them.
For categories B2 and C1 you have to register your drone. To do this you fill out the form FOD-FRM-005, and send it in the original to the following address:
Hrvatska agencija za civilno zrakoplovstvo, Odjel letačkih operacija
Ulica grada Vukovara 284
There is a small processing fee of 20 Croatian Kuna per registration (3 US-Dollar).
For flight projects in the categories B2, C1 and C2, a traffic clearance from the air traffic control Croatia Control is always required.
Regardless of the category, drone flights are only allowed within the direct line of sight. For recreational drone activities, FPV flights may be operated.
Altitudes and safety distances in Croatia
In uncontrolled airspace, drones can fly up to 120 meters above ground. In controlled airspace (i.e. around airports) your drone may rise to 50 meters as long as you consider a minimum distance of five kilometers to the airport and you have the permission from the Air Traffic Control. The 79-joule rule used in the past no longer matters.
In addition to the maximum altitude, minimum distances to uninvolved persons are defined.
For crowds, it is essential to maintain a distance of 50 meters. A group is classified as a crowd when people are in a confined space and can not dodge an approaching drone. In the legal text concerts and demonstrations are given as examples.
In addition to the crowds, there are appropriate minimum distances for individuals as well. The 1:1 rule applies. This rule means that your current altitude corresponds to the minimum distance to be maintained. If your drone is supposed to fly 60 meters above ground, you will have to keep a horizontal distance of 60 meters to uninvolved persons.
At an airspeed up to 3 m / s, this safety distance must never be less than 5 meters (at higher speeds 30 meters).
Other requirements for drone pilots in Croatia
In addition to the already explained rules, there are more rules that you have to comply with as a multicopter pilot.
First and foremost, you must buy drone insurance that is valid in Croatia, which will cover any third party damage. You should always have proof of this insurance with you.
Besides, Croatian law requires that you tag your drone with a badge identifying the name, address and contact details (telephone, e-mail address). This information can be attached in most cases with a sticker. A fireproof marking is only required from a take-off mass of 5 kilograms (categories C1 and C2).
Are aerial photographs allowed in Croatia?
The rules described so far relate solely to flying a drone in Croatia. But if you want to take aerial photos and videos with your drone, then you also need a permit from the State Geodetic Administration (SGA, contact firstname.lastname@example.org). The applications are treated very differently, and so far it has not been possible to determine the criteria for the approval of the authority. However, it seems to be beneficial if you explain that your recordings are for family use only and should not be published. In the case of private flights, theoretically no permission is required from the SGA, but the authority decides in each case whether the permit is necessary. Also, there was already the information from the SGA that private individuals may not create aerial photographs.
The applications at the SGA are sometimes coordinated with the Ministry of Defense. The processing time can therefore be significantly more than four weeks. So I recommend that you get all the permits already a quarter of a year in advance.
Sources: CCAA, Airspace Map
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Croatia 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 Croatia!