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Leisure drones: new rules for telepilots

French drone legislation was recently updated to require individuals who fly drones for leisure purposes (known as’telepilots’)(1) to undergo specific training. In addition, Law 2016-1428 on enhancing drone operational safetyrecently entered into force.(2)

Among other things, Law 2016-1428 requires:

  • telepilots who fly drones weighing more than 800g to undergo mandatory training; and
  • certain civil drones to be registered.

Under the new rules, as of 26 December 2018, telepilots who fly drones weighing more than 800g for leisure purposesmust undergo online theory training and pass an exam (lasting approximately 30 minutes) to obtain a certificate.Certificates are valid for five years and may be renewed upon successfully re-examination. Further, as of 1 July 2018,telepilots who operate unmanned aerial vehicles for non-leisure purposes are subject to training requirements.(4)

As of 26 December 2018, drones which weigh more than 800g must be registered online.(5) Registration is valid forfive years. Drones weighing more than 25kg must be properly licensed. Prior to Law 2016-1428, drones weighing lessthan 25kg were not subject to licensing or registration requirements.

Although provided for under Law 2016-1428, the registration requirement for drones weighing over 800g onlyrecently came into effect following the latest decree and order.(6) Law 2016-1428 also requires such drones to beequipped with:

  • an electronic lighting device;
  • an audible signal device; and
  • a capacity limitation mechanism.

These requirements apply to all drones as of 1 July 2018. For drones licenced or registered prior to 1 July 2018, therequirements became effective on 1 January 2019.

The new rules will likely undergo modification as projects to extend the scope of EU regulation to all drones –irrespective of weight(7)– are underway.

For further information on this topic please contact Matthieu de Varax or Wissam Dahmani at Odi-se Avocats bytelephone (+33 1 7935 0750) or email (mdevarax@odise.com or wdahmani@odise.com). The Odi-se Avocats websitecan be accessed at www.odise.com.


Endnotes

(1) See Decree 2018-375 of 18 May 2018 and the Order of 12 October 2018 on the Mandatory Training of Telepilotswho Fly Civil Aircraft Without Passengers for Leisure Purposes.

(2) Law 2016-1428 of 24 October 2016.

(3) The 800g threshold was fixed by Decree 2018-374 of 18 May 2018 on Mass Thresholds, provided for by Law 2016-1428.

(4) See Order of 18 May 2018 on the Requirements for Telepilots who Fly Civil Aircraft Without Passengers for Non-leisure Purposes.

(5) Registration must be made via the AlphaTango portal (alphatango.aviation-civile.gouv.fr), which is managed bythe Civil Aviation Authority.

(6) See Decree 2018-882 of 11 October 2018 on the Registration of Civil Aircraft Flying Without Passengers and Orderof 19 October 2018 on the Registration of Civil Aircraft Flying Without Passengers.

(7) The current EU regulation applies only to drones weighing more than 150kg.

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