The majority of drone flights take place in the open category, and therefore the rules governing operation in this category are of the greatest interest. In this category, it is also common for the operator and pilot to be the same person, and the following obligations apply to them:
1Before the flight
Register as an operator and pilot and pass the A1/A3 basic exam on the
Portal managed by the
the Civil Aviation Authority. Only operators of drones weighing less than 250 g without a camera or toys are exempt from the obligation to register. Pilots will then dispense with the test for all drones up to 250 g.
- Familiarize yourself with the drone's user manual and check that the drone is set up correctly, is not damaged in any way and continuously monitor the condition and life of the batteries.
- Perform pre-flight preparations, i.e. check the rules applicable in the intended location in the DronView application, and ideally enter information about your planned flight in this application.
- Being older than 16 years. Youngers can fly independently only with drones weighing up to 250 g (a purchased toy or self-made drone). With other drones only under the supervision of another qualified person who is older than 16 years.
2During the flight
- Fly up to a maximum height of 120 meters above the ground, always keep the drone in sight and constantly check the surrounding airspace. The pilot is obliged to terminate the flight if it would poses a risk to another aircraft, persons, animals, the environment or property. Keep in mind that the maximum flight height above the ground is reduced near airports.
- If you have a drone weighing up to 250 g with a camera, which is not a toy, or any drone over 250 g, you should avoid those parts of towns and cities, that are used for housing, business activities or recreation, called congested areas. Congested area is a part of a municipality where there are buildings or any infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, cycle paths, tram, trolley or train tracks) or persons who have not expressed their consent to the operation of the drone. Conversely, parks, public greenery, meadows or fields are not.
When flying a drone near buildings, you can use the 1:1 rule in terms of horizontal distance and height above the ground.
For example, if a pilot intends to operate the drone at 10 meters above the ground, the margin for ground risk margin must be at least 10 meters in all directions.
- The conditions for flying over persons who have not given their express consent (so-called uninvolved persons), for whom the operation of a drone could pose a risk or who could perceive the operation as an interference with their rights) depend on the subcategories of operation - see below. Flying over a gathering of persons is prohibited.
Informing visitors on the ticket that a drone will be operated during the event is not considered sufficient to involve persons in the operation. The drone operator must obtain express consent from the individual and ensure that people are aware of the risks and procedures to be taken in the case of an emergency.
Subcategories of operation
The Open category is further divided into three sub-categories A1, A2 and A3 primarily based on the weight of the drone, the requirements for the remote pilot and the chosen location, in which the flight will take place.
Operation in subcategory A1
With drones weighing up to 250 g (up to speed 19 m/s for self-built drones, with or without the C0 label for industrially produced ones), even single uninvolved persons can be flown over. However, in a congested area, this only applies to toys or drones without a camera or to flights with Authorization to flight (depending on the weight, equipment and conditions specified in authorization). Gathering of persons must never be flown over in the Open category.
Drones weighing between 250 – 900 g can only be flown in this subcategory if they are marked with a class label C1. The pilot should assume that he will not fly over people who have not given their express consent, or he minimize the duration of flight over people as much as possible.
Operation in subcategory A2
Drones weighing 900 g – 4 kg marked with a class label C2 can be operated at a distance of 30 meters (or 5 meters in low speed mode or for balloon or airship) from uninvolved persons just in case the pilot has passed the basic A1/A3 exam and also he fulfills the conditions of operation for A2 (practical training in the form of self-study, declaration of completion of training and passing the theoretical knowledge exam for subcategory A2 organised by the Civil Aviation Authority).
When operating a drone with a class C2 label, the minimum distance from uninvolved persons can be reduced from 30 meters to 5 meters when using the low-speed mode.
Operation in subcategory A3
Drones not marked with a class label, weighing between 250 g and 25 kg as well as drones marked with a C3 or C4 class label, are allowed to operate at minimum distance of 150 meters from residential, business, industrial or recreational areas, in a location where the pilot excepts that no uninvolved persons will be endangered. The minimum distances from uninvolved persons are at least 2 seconds of flight time, the height-to-distance ratio of at least 1:1 and a distance of not less than 30 meters
New drones operated in the Open category are divided into specific classes according to the C0-C6 label, which the manufacturer assigns to the aircraft based on its weight and equipment in accordance in accordance with European Regulation (EU) 2019/945. The number of drones marked this way and available on the market are gradually increasing, but older and self-built drones will not be marked with a label. Therefore the majority of drone operators and pilots follow the rules for operating drones without a label.