Apply for operating permit for drone flights with a risk ("special" category)

Service Description

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations are divided into 3 categories:

  • "open"
  • "special"
  • "subject to licensing"

The grading of the individual categories is based on the respective operating risk or the maximum possible personal injury.

If you want to operate a UAS in the "open" category, this represents the lowest operational risk. You can fly your drone without prior authorization. The prerequisite is that you comply with the required rules for operation, such as proof of competence or safety requirements.

Operation in the "special" category

If you cannot comply with the conditions of the "open" operating category, a UAS operation will be assigned to the categories requiring approval.

Thus, you must obtain a permit before commencing operations in the "special" and "permit-required" operating categories. Permits for the "subject to approval" category are currently not yet possible, as the corresponding UAS and the legal requirements for operation are still under development.

You can check in advance which category your operation should be placed in based on your own risk assessment.

The German Federal Aviation Authority provides an illustrative flow chart on its website to help you classify your operation. For example, if your aircraft has a takeoff mass of more than 25 kilograms or is intended to drop objects, then you need an operating permit.

Before operating, you should prepare a rough concept of operations. The following questions are relevant:

  • Where do you want your UAS to fly (ground and airborne)?
  • How high do you want it to fly?
  • How should it be flown: Within visual line of sight (VLOS ¬- "Visual Line of Sight") or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS - "Beyond Visual Line of Sight")?
  • Which UAS do you want to fly with?

To obtain an operating license in the "special" category, contact the aviation authority in your state.

If the local jurisdiction falls within one of the following federal states, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) will handle the application:

  • Bavaria
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Saarland
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Thuringia

If possible, contact your local authority before submitting the application. You may not undertake the flight until you have received an operating permit.

Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Thüringen (Linie6PLus)

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