OK. Stereotyping is not always spot on, but when it comes to Germans and their passion for order and rules, it is. If you have ever been there and drove by car from point A to B, the millions of traffic signs along the way are proof enough. Now imagine flying a drone in Germany without knowing the basic laws and regulations. You’ll be in trouble faster than a DRL Racer X can fly at full speed. If you fly too high, leisurely cruise over designated no-fly-zones you are not aware of, take a picture of a celebrity in his Penthouse Suite while having the time of his life with hot escort lady … you get the point, right? To be prepared, here are the most important things you need to know before your drone can take of in Germany.
The “Drohnen Verordnung”! (Drone Regulation)
According to the German Federal Aviation Office – FOA – it’s legal to fly drones in Germany. So far so good. But there are quite a few things you need to put into consideration before take-off.
- If you don’t have a permit from the FOA, the maximum altitude for your drone is 50 meters or 164 feet. If you wish to fly higher than that, you need to get a permit. But even with authorization, the maximum height is limited to 100 meters or 328 feet.
- The same applies for the weight of your drone: For less than 2 kg (4.5 pounds) and up to 5 kg or 11 pounds, you don’t need an extra permit – but you need a license. Anything above that weight must stay grounded if you don’t have one.
- Needless to say, that you must always maintain a direct line of sight to the drone. There are some exceptions, but these need to be checked directly with the FOA beforehand.
- A general law dictates that you need a specified drone insurance for Germany – you’ll find out more about that a little later.
- If your drone weighs more than 250 g (0.55 pounds) you must attach a fireproof label stating your name and your address.
- When flying, take care to keep a minimum distance to airports of 1.5 km or 0.93 miles.
- Same goes for flying near highways, waterways and railways! Here you need to keep a lateral distance of 100 meters, and you’re are not allowed to fly over them.
- And then there are quite a few no-fly-zones. These are for instance residential and industrial areas, prisons, traffic hubs and more. Check out this map for German no-fly-zones for drones.
- No-Fly-zones also apply to nature conservation areas. You can check the website of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation: www.bfn.de.
- Remember the celebrity with the hot date in his penthouse? About that … If you fly a drone over a residential area which can record or transfer radio, acoustic or optical signals without the explicit permission of the people living there, you’re asking for trouble!
Keep in mind, that these are only some of the most important rules and regulations for flying a drone in Germany. If you want to (and you should!) find out all the details, you can contact the FOA (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) via phone under +49 531 2355 115 or use their Contact form on the website www.lba.de.
Get your drone insurance for Germany
This is important! If you’re flying your drone in Germany without a proper liability insurance, you’re not only breaking the law. You are risking a whole lot of money if things go sideways. The chance of crashing your drone is part of the game and if anything, or – worst case! – anyone gets in harm’s way, things will get very expensive.
Article 43 of the German Aviation Law dictates that you are obliged to have a liability insurance for your privately used flight model – aka your drone. A very cool and easy option is getting the drone insurance from “getsafe”. This genius company sells drone liability insurance which is valid all over the globe (including USA and Canada) and can be easily accessed via an app on your smartphone. The price for the most basic insurance per month starts at around 5 Euro, which is fantastic! You’ll be covered for personal and property damage up to 25 million Euro, which is just one of many advantages the getsafe insurance provides. Of course, you can always upgrade, cancel, extend your international drone insurance or contact the 24 hours help desk with just a few clicks and swipes.