Drones in Spain: everything you need to know about their use and regulation | companies

Drone flight in Spain has taken off in recent years and now they can be easily purchased in many stores. However, their responsible use requires prior knowledge and European regulations, in force since 2020, require some prior steps to use them.

In general, drones can be divided into toys or recreational drones and into different professional categories. Any drone weighing less than 250 grams is considered recreational and can be operated without authorization in a responsible manner having read the manufacturer’s user manual.

Those that exceed this weight require prior authorization and are subject to the sanctions and responsibilities of the regulations. It is mandatory to go through a training course and obtain a certificate that certifies a minimum of knowledge according to the different established categories. These categories can be open, for drones that carry less risk; specific, for intermediate risk, and certified, for high risk.

The entity before which users must be accredited is the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), which regulates their use since they can affect the safety and rights of other citizens. It should be noted that drones that have a camera, regardless of their size and weight, have to be registered before use.

Manuel Herrera, president of the Dronsierra drone pilot training association, assures that in order to operate these devices in Spain, European regulations must be respected, but above all, use “common sense”. The specialist assures that as basic principles, drones should never fly above 120 meters in height and must remain in the field of vision of the operators.

Likewise, the so-called “1-1 rule” requires that anyone using a drone weighing more than 250 grams maintain at least a horizontal distance proportional to the height at which they are flying from nearby individuals who have given their consent. That is, if one is piloting a drone at a height of five meters, he has to keep it five meters from anyone. As for people who have not given their consent, the drone has to be kept approximately 50 meters horizontal distance.

In territories like Madrid, which have a high influx of aircraft, the flight of drones is restricted in most spaces. It is necessary to request a permit from the AESA to be able to operate any type of drone, although specialists recognize that this is often not done due to the extensive bureaucracy that the procedures represent.

“The most common fines are between 5,000 and 10,000 euros, but they can vary depending on whether they are minor, serious or very serious,” says Jaime Rodríguez Díez, a lawyer specializing in technology at the firm Díez y Romeo.

This specialist explains that on many occasions these sanctions are applied to professionals in the film or advertising industry whose work regimens do not fit with the time it takes for entities to issue the necessary permits.

Points to consider before flying a drone

  • Sure. The regulations require that anyone who is going to pilot a drone have civil liability insurance, preferably one specialized in the aeronautical sector. For toy drones, insurance is not required. However, it is recommended to have him in case a mishap occurs.
  • Privacy. Camera drones should not violate the privacy of people who do not want to be recorded or photographed. In the event that the pilot flies near houses or free spaces and registers an individual without permission, he can resort to the authorities to demand a sanction. A drone should also not fly over private property without permission from the owners.
  • Security. You always have to fly with the right physical and psychological conditions. Except in the case of professional operators with specific resources and permits, it is recommended that the drone always remain in the pilot’s view range and below 120 meters in height to avoid a loss of communication signal that could cause accidents due to drop. The drones should preferably remain at a distance of about 150 meters from people outside the operation and it is forbidden to fly over buildings, crowds or crowds of people without a previously managed permit. Nor can you fly within 8 kilometers of an airport or in national parks.

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