Drone without a driver’s license: regulations and models

by Corinna

Some drones can be flown without a driver’s license. However, there are still various regulations that apply in this case, which you should familiarize yourself with in advance

Drone without a driver’s license – what you should know

After more and more drones took to the skies, the regulations for the devices were tightened considerably. A driver’s license is now mandatory for many drones in EU countries. However, there are some drones that you can fly without a license.

  • The EU Drone Regulation from 2021 specifies the conditions under which you are allowed to fly drones without a driver’s license. Accordingly, you do not need a driver’s license for drones weighing less than 250 grams. Furthermore, class C0 drones do not require a license
  • But be careful, just because you don’t need a driver’s license for these drones doesn’t mean that you can simply send a flying object on its way with confidence. On the contrary, there are various regulations that you must comply with if you don’t want to risk a fine or worse
  • First of all, you must take out so-called drone liability insurance before you take your drone into the air for the first time. You must also find out in advance exactly where you are allowed to fly the drone. For example, airports and areas around airports are generally off-limits for all drones. Flying drones may also be prohibited in nature conservation areas, especially during the breeding season.
  • Furthermore, drones may not exceed a maximum flight altitude of 120 meters. You may also only fly the drone within visual range. Manned aircraft must not obstruct you and must always avoid them in good time. The same naturally applies to other road users such as motorists, cyclists or pedestrians. In short, your drone must not inconvenience, restrict or even endanger anyone. And last but not least, you must never violate the privacy of other people
  • While the risk of you colliding with an aircraft is very low, the last point is likely to be much more critical. You can very quickly violate the privacy of others with a drone, even a very small one. If you fly your drone over a private property or in front of the window of an apartment, for example, trouble is almost inevitable
  • Drones that you can fly without a license include, for example: DJI Mini 2, DJI Mini 3 Pro and DJI Mini 4 Pro, Potensic ATOM SE, Xiaomi Fimi X8 Mini and DJI Mavic Mini.

Drone – then you need a driver’s license

Whether or not you need a driver’s license for a drone depends largely on the weight of the flying object. As soon as the drone weighs 250 grams or more, you need a so-called drone driver’s license in Germany.

  • The driver’s license is roughly divided into the small and the large drone driver’s license. The small drone driver’s license, also known as the EU proof of competence, is required for drones weighing between 250 and 499 grams.
  • If you want to fly a drone weighing between 500 and 1,999 grams, the large drone license is mandatory. In contrast to the small drone license, the large drone license is divided into the subcategories A1-A3 and A2 and the special categories STS 1, STS 2 and STS 3.
  • The requirements for the major drone license, also known as EU remote pilot training, depend on what the drone is to be used for. For example, you may only take the test for category A2 if you have already obtained the small drone license. It is usually possible to take the exams online; you can obtain detailed information from your respective federal state.
  • Once you have the right license in your pocket, there is one more thing you need to do beforehand. You must register with the Federal Aviation Office, but this can be done quickly online. For drones that do not require a driver’s license, registration is generally not necessary. Unless you want to equip the drone with a sensor to record personal data. This also includes a camera, by the way.

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