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UAV Laws


The use of drone in France is submitted to 2 laws :

1. The 17 december 2015 law about the conception of UAV http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/jo_pdf_frame- conception.pdf

2. The 17 december 2015 law about the use of UAV in aerial space http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/jo_pdf_frame- condition.pdf Both links of French Transports Ministry Use of drone for recreation purposes :

  • General guidelines Here is a quick resume of french law:You need to have a spotter in fpv, aircraft need to be in sight of view.
  • Fly only under 150 meters
  • Fly only in daytime (no night fly allowed)
  • Don't fly in urban areas
  • Don't fly above animals groups or peoples
  • Don't fly in restricted areas.


10 main rules are needed to ensure people and other’s safety for recreational purposes:

1- Do not fly over people

2- respect the maximum flight heights.

3- I never lose sight of my drone and I do not use it at night.

4- I do not fly my drone over public spaces in urban areas.

5- I never use my drone anywhere near airfields or airports.

6- I never fly over sensitive areas or protected sites.

7- I always respect other people’s privacy.

8- I do not broadcast my aerial pictures or videos without the consent of the concerned persons and I do not make any commercial use out of it.

9- I check the terms of my insurance policy concerning this activity.

10- When in doubt, I ask for more information.

Links : French Transports Ministry http://www.developpementdurable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Notice_drones_2016_GB_VFF_new_web.pdf http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Guide_Aeromodlisme_v1- 0.pdf

Commercial uses:

To fly commercially you’ll need to be a domicile French operator that owns a a pilot license (theoretical part only): Private Pilot (PPL) pilot glider or microlight. The french law defines 7 different categories for different air crafts and distinguishes areas in 4 different zones. And then to declare to DSAC (http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/carte_France_OM_DSAC_.pdf) that you are a commercial operator of UAV. You’ll need to obtain flight approvals for each flight scenario depending of your UAV caracteristics. You’ll need different flight approvals like a authorization prior each flight scenario.

Civil remote piloted aircraft are split into seven categories, primarily dependent on mass. Except for special cases, rules are split into 4 scenarios. Regardless of the purpose of the UAV flight, visual line of site operations are allowed for drones under 25kg in mass below 150m over unpopulated areas, and for under 4kg of mass over populated areas. Beyond visual line of sight operations are allowed without distance limitations for drones under 2kg flying under 150m, and within a 1km radius for drones of 25kg or less flying under 50m. All operations are forbidden in the vicinity of airports, and subject to prior authorization over populated areas. Illegal UAV operation can carry a maximum sentence of a year in prison, as well as a $90,000 fine.

Use of drone for commercial purposes : To fly commercially you’ll need to be a domicile French operator that owns a a pilot license (theoretical part only): Private Pilot (PPL) of plane, helicopter, glider or microlight.

The french law defines 7 different categories for UAV (depending on mass) and 4 types of flight scenarios areas.

S1 : out of city, visual flight, maximum elevation of 150 meters and maximum distance of 200 meters

S2 : out of city, visual flight, maximum elevation of 150 meters (under 2 kg) or 50 meters (above 2kg) and maximum distance of 1000 meters

S3 : inside city, visual flight, maximum elevation of 150 meters and maximum distance of 100 meters, parachute needed if above 2 kg A security perimeter is needed between 30 to 50 meters. An administrative approval of Prefectural Governor is needed before the urban flight.

S4 : out of city, no-visual flight, maximum elevation of 150 meters and unlimited distance, maximum 2 kg, telepilot need 100h of flight on plane, glide or helicopter. Night flight are forbidden in any case.

Recent update of French UAV law :

The French Parliament passed a law which hardens appreciably the rules of use of drones. All the drones weighing more than 800 grams will have to be registered and endowed with a device of sound and bright description. Besides, his user will have to have done a training course of "telepilot".

Finally, the text creates a new offence of flying over an identical zone "by clumsiness or carelessness". According to The Echos, a project of European regulations based on the type of use and not the weight could override the French law in the summer, 2018. https://www.gifas.asso.fr/liste-synthese- de-presse/?c=4136

Last update / 02.03.2017

Travel experiences / Travel tips

12/08/2014 by NEVdD

My view of the law is that it is a guideline for a community to live together and should not be strictly followed. With this point of view I intend to make aerials videos of the world. Not strictly following the law doesn't mean put other people at risk and of course one is always responsible for his actions. With this in mind, this is my experience of this country:

Flying in France without prior authorization should be avoided. You might try to fly in the countryside or small villages but do not post your videos on Internet as the Ministère du developpement durable will find you and if you are lucky notify you the illegal aspect of your activity, if you are not lucky and you made a video in highly populated areas they will sue you and you will get huge fines. France is the “free” country with the strongest response to illegal UAV flights.

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Last update / 02.03.2017

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Last update / 02.03.2017