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1. What is a Drone?
A drone is an unmanned aircraft / remotely piloted aircraft.
2. Is there a difference between a drone and a model aircraft?
Model aircraft and drones are both considered small unmanned aircraft and the same rules apply to their operation. These rules are contained within in the
3. What aviation regulations govern the use of drones?
The Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order, 2015 (SI 563 of 2015) regulates the use of drones in Ireland until December 31 2020. Thereafter, EU Regulations 2019/947 and 2019/945 will govern the use of drones in Ireland and across the European Union.
4. What is prohibited regarding the operation of drones?
There are a number of limitations for the operation of drones. These include never operating a drone:
- if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
- over an assembly of people - 12 persons or more
- farther than 300m from the person operating the drone
- within 30m of any person, vessel or structure not under the control of the person operating the drone
- closer than 5km from an aerodrome
- in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others
- over 400ft (120m) above ground level
- over urban areas
- in civil or military controlled airspace
- in restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc.)
- unless the person operating the drone has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.
5. Do I need a permission from the IAA to fly a drone? If so, what do I need?
No, provided you adhere to the limits prescribed within the regulations and the EASA safety guidance material.
6. What if I want to fly my drone outside the limits prescribed in the regulations?
If you wish to fly your drone outside the limits prescribed in the regulations you must apply for a
Specific Operating Permission (SOP) from the IAA following training with one of the IAA
approved drone training facilities.
7. How do I apply for a Specific Operating Permission to fly my drone?
In order to get a Specific Operating Permission, you must first attend a drone safety training
course and produce an operations manual that is acceptable to the IAA. Please see Aeronautical
Notice U.02 for more detailed information. To apply, go to www.iaa.ie/dronesapplicationforms
8. Do I need insurance to operate my drone?
The IAA recommends that everybody who operates a drone has insurance.
9. Do I need a permission to fly a drone with an inbuilt or mounted camera?
Irrespective of whether your drone has an inbuilt or mounted camera or not, the same
conditions apply. See Data Protection Commissioner website for more on this.
10. Do the same regulations apply if I fly my drone over private property?
The regulations apply EVERYWHERE in Irish airspace. Be advised that there may be privacy or
trespass laws or other legal issues that should be taken into consideration by the person
operating the drone. These rules are not within the remit of the IAA.
11. Do I need to register my drone or model aircraft with the IAA?
You must register as a drone operator with the IAA if your drone weighs over 250 grams or if it has a camera or sensor.
12. Do I need a qualification to operate a drone
If you operate within the limits set in the regulations, no qualification is required. However, to operate under Specific Operating
Permission, a Pilot Competency Certificate is required. For more, visit our dedication applications page.
13. Where can I get more information on the regulations and how to safely operate a drone?
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has published an FAQs on the European drones regulation: Regulations (EU) 2019/947 and 2019/945. These FAQs focus on the Open and Specific category of operations and are designed to support the drone community in flying and operating drones safely.
14. How can I tell if an aerodrome is nearby?
It is the responsibility of the person operating a drone to assess the area in which they intend to fly and visually inspect the area in which they intend to operate for aircraft activity.
15. How can I tell where controlled or restricted airspace is?
The IAA publishes information on Irish airspace. Please note that the boundaries of restricted airspace may change and that Temporary Restricted Airspace areas may be created. It is essential to get up to date information on controlled and restricted airspace from the IAAs website before you fly.
16. Is there a minimum age for operating a drone?
While there is no minimum age for operating a drone in aviation regulation, the IAA advises that age guidelines indicated by drone manufacturers are followed. You must be over 16 to register as a drone operator under EU law. A parent or guardian may register the drone for those under 16. Please note that other laws may apply.
17. I want to use my drone for commercial activities. Do I need permission from the IAA?
You do not need permission from the IAA to use drones commercially. However, if you wish to fly your drone outside the limits prescribed in the regulations you must apply for a Specific Operating Permission from the IAA.
18. Up to what distance and height can I operate my drone?
You must not operate your drone beyond a distance of 300m or a height of 400ft (120m) above ground level in uncontrolled airspace. You must not operate your drone beyond a distance of 300mor a height of 50ft (15m) in certain parts of controlled airspace, see aeronautical notice U04.