Drone regulations in France
France is a multifaceted country that has many stunning locations for aerial images. In this post, you will learn about the rules you need to consider as a drone pilot in France.
In France, there are regular changes in the drone laws. At the beginning of the article, we would like to give you an overview of the French regulations.
Overview: Drone rules in France
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Registration and online test
If your drone weighs at least 800 grams, you’ll need to register it and take a free online test. This is quite straightforward on the portal AlphaTango, which is available in French and English.
Before you can access the test, you must first complete a training. It consists of several short explanatory videos about the safety regulations and rules. They are very easy to understand and also available in both languages. You can only take the test if you’re 14 or older, if you are younger, in order to fly a drone, you need to be accompanied by someone over the age of 18 who has passed the test. You have to answer all test questions correctly, but you can repeat it indefinitely. If you’ve been successful, the certificate is valid for 5 years.
When registering, you will need to provide some specifications of your drone. Once you are registered, you will receive an e-mail with a number that you need to attach visibly to your drone. Visibly means that it can be read by the naked eye at a distance of 30 centimeters. The registration is valid for a maximum of 5 years.
From 29 June 2020, drones weighing 800 grams or more must be equipped with a signaling device. It transmits the drone’s identification and information on the current flight (coordinates, speed, course) at regular intervals by radio signal (WIFI). The identification is stored at AlphaTango so that the authorities have access to it. The penalty for not having a signaling device starts at 135 euros. Exceptions are made for model and sports pilots and unmanned flight systems that are only used indoors.
Those who register before 29 June 2020 can benefit from a transitional period. There is then still time until 29 December 2020 to add this device.
If you do not register until 29 June 2020, you do not have to expect penalties immediately. Fines are only due from 1 November 2020. You will find more information on this information sheet (in French).
In the meantime, DJI has released an update for some drone models that enables remote identification in compliance with the law. To do so, the devices must be updated via the DJI GO 4 app or DJI Assistant 2. On AlphaTango, the identification number consisting of 1581E and the serial number of the controller can then be entered. According to the blog of the electronics chain Studiosport, the update is currently available for DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom, DJI Matrice 300, DJI Phantom Pro 4 V2.0 and Pro + V2.0. It is expected that it will also be available for the following models: DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom, DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, DJI Phantom 4 RTK, DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral, DJI Matrice 200 V2, DJI Matrice 210 V2, DJI Matrice 210 V2 RTK.
Further rules for the operation of drones in France
The maximum permitted drone altitude in France is 150 meters above ground. However, there are many restricted areas where you are not allowed to fly or where only a low altitude is allowed. The corresponding areas can be viewed with the above linked map. The colored areas have the following meaning:
- Red: Flight ban for drones
- Pink: maximum altitude of 30 meters
- Orange: maximum altitude of 50 meters
- Yellow: maximum altitude of 100 meters
For all other surfaces, the maximum altitude of 150 meters applies.
Drones may only be used within visual line of sight. For FPV flights, a second person must be present to monitor the drone with the naked eye. You are only allowed to use your drone in France in daylight. Even with appropriate lighting, use at night is not allowed.
Private multicopters may weigh up to 25 kilograms.
Safety distances and flight bans
You always have to maintain a sufficient safety distance to airfields. To large airports, this means a minimum distance of 10 kilometers.
A flight ban for drones is valid throughout the city of Paris. Even in other cities, you can only fly your drone on private property (with permission of the owner). In addition, drones should not be used near nuclear power plants, military facilities, historical monuments and national parks. You can see no-fly zones in the map linked above.
Flying over people is not allowed in France.
Fully automatic flights (e.g., waypoints, points of interest) are permitted within a radius of 200 meters of the pilot, if the maximum altitude is 50 meters, you can regain control at all times and the drone weighs no more than 2 kilograms.
Regulations for commercial drone pilots
Commercial copter pilots must fulfill several conditions in France. Among other things, you have to pass theory and practical tests in French and obtain various permits.
For violations of French law, a fine of up to € 75,000 or a jail term of up to one year may be imposed.
Good to know
The rules listed here also apply to the overseas territory of French Polynesia.
Frequency determinations: 100 mW for the 2.4 GHz frequency
We have researched the listed drone regulations for France 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 France!