Incorrect drone operation poses a huge risk to people and the economy. In 2020, there were 92 reported obstructions caused by drones in German airspace, despite the massive drop in air traffic caused by the Corona pandemic. In previous years, there were 125 (2019) and 159 (2018). In some cases, air traffic was interrupted for several hours as a result. For example, at the start of 2020, flight operations at Frankfurt Airport had to be suspended for several hours due to a drone sighting. 10,000 passengers were affected. Incidents with drones don’t just lead to major economic losses, they also pose a risk to human life, in the event that a pilot is distracted by a drone or there is even a collision with a drone.
DFS Aviation Services is responsible for carrying out Aerodrome Control at various small and medium-sized airports in Germany. We evaluate and develop procedures for the safe incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into air traffic, taking technical developments, accident investigations and continuously evolving legal regulations into account.
On this page, we have put together information to help you with the safe preparation and implementation of a drone flight.
First of all, a useful tip:
Der DFS Drone Check (DE) will assist you in preparing for a safe drone flight and provides information about any permits that may be required.
The following must always be observed:
- Know and inspect the function of the aircraft.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Be aware of wind, weather conditions, obstacles and airspace (e.g. balloons, other aircraft).
- Comply with the safety distance from public routes and high-voltage lines.
- Observe data protection and privacy.
- Obtain third party liability insurance.
- Label the drone and, if necessary, acquire a certificate of knowledge, a so-called drone licence. More on this.
- If necessary, obtain a permit from the aeronautical authority and/or the responsible Air Traffic Controller (e.g. DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and DFS Aviation Services). More on this.
- Absolutely no flying in the immediate vicinity of the airport (less than 1.5 km from the fencing).
- Absolutely no flying above a height of 100 m.
- No flying in the control area (permanently defined as approximately 15 km around an airport) without a permit from the tower. Find out more in Clearances.
- No flying above gatherings of people, hospitals, nuclear power plants, embassies, consulates, locations where police and emergency services are deployed, industrial plants, federal highways, federal waterways, correctional facilities or military installations. In these cases a lateral distance of 100 m must also be observed.
- No flying above nature reserves.
- No flying under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- No photos or video recordings may be taken of people without their permission.
- No night flights without lighting.
- No launching, flying or landing without the permission of the land owner.
From 2021 on, the new EU drone regulation (2019/947 and 2020/746) defines uniform rules for all EU countries. The regulation includes, among other aspects, the introduction of sub-categories and risk classes for Drones, the obligation to identify those and the registration of drone pilots, as well as the introduction of two different drone licenses.
For the application of this regulation in Germany, you can find all important information on the website of the Luftfahrt Bundesamt.
- DFS drone information
On the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung website you’ll also find comprehensive information about drone flights.
- DroniQ app
This app allows you to register drones, plan flights and validate them against the new EU Regulation. Map View contains a huge amount of information that the user can opt to show or hide.
- Another new feature is the transmission of take-off locations, so your own drone is visible for other airspace occupants (in UTM), who can also be warned if they use the Droniq app. A logbook is available to document flights.
The subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and Deutsche Telekom specialises in the safe incorporation of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems into German airspace. Here you can find out more about the drone licence, receive training as well as professional hardware and systems for safe drone operation, particularly for BVLOS flights (Beyond Visual Line of Sight).