Drone Regulations around the world

Published in
6 min readAug 26, 2016


With new opportunities in the drone industry arising rapidly, it is important to consider all of the current regulations and new regulations of commercial drones around the globe. In the last few years, new regulations have been introduced making it easier for certain countries to perform commercial and personal drone operations.

Flying drones is easy — but one always has to check the local regulations before performing on-site acquisitions

The U.S.A

Recently, the main focal news in the drone world/industry has been Part 107, which recently changed the laws in the U.S.A. In late August 2016, commercial operations are able to take place under lighter circumstances: The drone must weigh no more than 55lbs: Flights below 400 ft. AGL: The pilot must be within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS): Operations must take place during daylight, just to name a few. Although these regulations are a major step forward for commercial drones in the States, many restrictions still remain.

Different industries stand to benefit and also lose from these new regulations. Of course, following Exemption 333, this is major support for businesses of all sizes. Not only will it improve worker safety, but it will open up many job opportunities and new markets in America.

The main down side to Part 107 is the fact that many perceive it as a free for all, which it is not. Many restrictions still apply, such as banned night operations and drones having to remaining in Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). This does not mean that in the future, this will never change.

It is likely that there will be an increase in competition, meaning that done pilots will have to become even more professional to stand out from the crowd; as everything is left to safety, customer service and process.

There are also many factors that we still don’t know. When will training centers open? What will happen to those who have already submitted the 333 Exemption?

Read more about Part 107 here: Perhaps link to Part 107 article or to Part 107 drone regulations on the UAV page.


In comparison, Europe’s regulations are much more relaxed, depending on the country. For example, in France, the drone laws are making it easier for commercial drone operations. The current regulations state that the drones have to be within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) of the pilot, stay within 500ft of the ground, avoid flying over people, fly in daylight etc. A new set of rules were also updated in January 2016:

- Certain night flights are allowed, subject to prior authorization by the administration.

-Camera shots allowed, provided the shots are not commercially exploited.

-Unmanned aircraft activities must comply with data protection and privacy regulations.


In Germany, the drone regulations are fairly similar to France. However, the last set of rules differ significantly. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure proposed these new regulations on November 9th, 2015. For commercial flights, this meant great advancements. The regional States’ (Länder) authorities are allowed to authorize flights beyond the VLOS, depending on the safety and circumstances of the operation. Operators will also need to pass a test, demonstrating their aeronautical skills and knowledge about aviation law. This means that the German Federal Authority of Aviation will be tasked with issuing commercial UAS licenses.


If we head across the world to Australia, commercial flights require certification, both the pilot and the business conducting the operation. Both parties need a UAV certificate. From September 25th 2016, the term UAV will be replaced with RPA; meaning that all commercial operators in Australia will need a Remote Pilot License.

However, there has been confirmation from Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, about a change in drone laws in Australia later in 2016. It is said that commercial drone pilots will no longer need a remote pilot license on certain flights. These new and relaxed regulations are meant to come into force in September 2016. This is the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s plan to accommodate the rising popularity of the drone industry.

These new regulations will benefit commercial pilots who fly drones that weigh less than 2 kilograms. Operators will have to notify authorities about their intentions and plans for certain flights, which replaces the current system of holding a certificate. However, pilots without a license will still have to fly in day time in visual line of sight, and keep the drone below 120 meters and 5.5km away from airports.

If the rules of these new drone regulations are broken, a fine of $9,000 will be issued.


Many in Canada are expecting a new set of rules to be released fairly soon. Transport Canada confirmed this, stating that they plan to negotiate new regulations by 2017.

“The regulations really haven’t kept pace with the growth in the industry,” Aaron McCrorie- Director of civil aviation at Transport Canada.

Of course, this largely depends on whether your drone is commercial or recreational. Commercial drones in Canada are ‘more tightly-regulated’. Depending on the size of the drone, you may need permission to fly it. The pilot must also be trained, be at least 18 years old and have a certificate of medical fitness.

Depending on the weight of a drone, Canada’s regulations can change. Between 2kg and 25kg, an operator doesn’t need to request permission to fly, given they comply with safety conditions in the Transport Canada exemption for UAVs. However, operators need to provide Transport Canada with a list of basic documentation, 10 days prior to the operation.

South Africa

The drone regulations for commercial operations in South Africa state that pilots must have a RPL (Remote Pilots License), Restricted Radio License, ROC (Remote Operator Certificate) and a RPAS Letter of Approval. The drone must also be registered with SACAA, and a fire extinguisher and first aid kit must be present on site. If the operation is during the night; 50m from people, buildings and roads; or within 10km from an airport; special approval is needed.

On July 1st, 2015, the SACAA released a new set of rules in South Africa. The new rules state that all drones can’t fly more than 400ft above the ground, 500 meters away from the pilot, 10km from an airport and can’t fly closer than 50km from people, buildings and roads. The drone sizes in these new rules range from 7kg for hobby use and up to 20kg for commercial use.

Although drone regulations are different in other countries, many companies and pilots are still able to fly fairly freely. Of course, after the pass of Part 107, we will see a transformation in the drone industry in the United States. This will also have an impact globally, as many companies will expand in the U.S. as a result of the new regulations, which make commercial flights a lot simpler and quicker. For Redbird, this means that the collection of data will be faster and more efficient; allowing clients access to the Redbird platform with the most accurate data for their site. As Redbird has offices in Paris, France, and San Francisco, the effects of drone regulations are a common issue for certain operations.

“France has about a year of advance on the U.S.”

Emmanuel de Maistre, CEO of Redbird, — Bloomberg Technology — What the French know about drones that Americans don’t — Rudy Ruitenberg.

Redbird is an international company, with a growing network of drone pilots and dealers ; meaning that drone operations must be monitored and comply within the different regulations in different countries. We are expecting a great improvement for the use of drones worldwide.

Drone regulations around the world

Drone regulations in Europe