Which countries can Multirotors be flown commercially?

I am doing some research into the current state of play regarding using Multirotors commercially across the globe. I’ve collated as much info as I can so far and included it below.

I’ve also created the visualisation shown above. It’s encouraging to see that regulation is fairly widespread at this time (orange).

I intend to keep updating this on an ongoing basis and would appreciate input from other multicopter pilots. Some of the source info provided here is fairly vague so it would be great to get this more definitive going forward.

Please help and provide info

This post gets a fair amount of traffic and I’d like to make it even more useful for everyone. If you have any information on regulation within your country / or if it’s not featured, please drop me a comment or message. Updated: Jan 2016

Regulation by Country


United Kingdom

License / Permission required: Yes

Commercial operation requires ‘Permissions to Operate’ certification from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

In order to attain this, pilots need to obtain a remote pilot qualification (which includes a theory exam and flight competency test) and submit an operations manual. Public liability insurance is also a requirement.

There are currently two CAA approved NQEs (National Qualified Entities) operating in the UK.


United States

License / Permission required: X1 *

The FAA has declared a blanket ban on commercial multicopter operations, currently there is no regulation to allow it.

However it is working on legal certification laws with a 2015 deadline in effect from Congress. More recently, the FAA has considered exempting seven exempted six small companies in the television/film industry from the ban.

*Update: The FAA has published upcoming guidelines for commercial multirotor flights: http://petapixel.com/2015/02/16/faa-unveils-rules-commercial-drone-usage/


Austria

License / Permission required: Yes

Commercial operation requires an operating license. Requirements vary by type of location (undeveloped, unpopulated, populated and densely populated) and weight classes. Four categories are defined by unmanned aerial vehicles (AD). This determines essentially the severity of the conditions. (eg. building codes, performance parameters, pilot qualification, etc.).


Australia

License / Permission required: Yes

Commercial operation currently requires a UAS Operator’s Certificate (UOC or OC) issued by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The CASA plans to implement Phase 2 which will consist of a complete re-write of the regulation resulting in a new CASR Part 102 for RPAS.


Belgium

License / Permission required: X1

Drones can only be used for test flights and for scientific purposes, but not in the context of commercial activities.


China

License / Permission required: Yes

Chinese law enforcement sources say that companies are free to operate drones once they attain the proper permissions from regulators and local air-traffic control outfits.


Czech Republic

License / Permission required: Yes

Per­mis­sion is required.


Denmark

License / Permission required: No

In general commercial and non-commercial RPAS operations are allowed without special permit. In june 2013 a roadmap for the safe integration of UAS into European civil airspace by 2016 was presented. Until then every European country is acting according to national regulations. Danish CAA is supporting the UAS industry in every possible way during this transition period.


Finland

License / Permission required: Yes

Commercial operation requires a CAA permit on case by case basis.


France

License / Permission required: Yes

For commercial operations, RPAS pilots must undertake the theoretical part of a pilot license.


Germany

License / Permission required: Yes

Each RPAS flight, which is not conducted for the purpose of pure sports and leisure activities, requires a climb permission, no matter what take-off weight.

Additionally, a certificate of insurance is required, written consent of the land owner, clearance of the regulatory authority of the community, this can be, for example via e-mail an informal, brief statement that you agree with the project from a regulatory legal perspective, a sketch of the flight area (Google Maps excerpt) in the shaded area and the estimated time of flight is provided with a maximum intended mounting height.

Iceland

License / Permission required: No

As far as I can find, regulation in Iceland is still in draft format. According to the draft legislation; drones must be kept at a distance of at least 150 meters (492 feet) from Bessastaðir, the presidential residence, police stations and prisons, and special permission will be required for flying over densely-populated areas. Drones cannot be flown within a 1.5-km (0.9-mile) radius of an airport, unless their users have special permission, or within 200 meters of the scene of an accident. Drones have already been banned within Þingvellir National Park and owners of fishing rivers are lobbying for a ban on drones over rivers during fishing season.


India

License / Permission required: X1

Industry experts claim there are no specific laws regarding operation of drones in India at present. “However, laws exist with regard to limitations of flying altitudes and zones. Drone operators should, therefore, see to it that they have all the permissions in place,” said a DGCA official.

Update: According to this source, the use of civilian drones across India has been banned pending DGCA regulation.


Italy

License / Permission required: Yes

Commercial operations are allowed subject to the possession of appropriate authorisation issued by ENAC.

In case of specialised operations carried out for third parties, an agreement must be signed between the RPAS operator and the client, by which the parties define their respective responsibilities and agree on the suitability of RPAS for the planned operation and any relevant limitation. A certificate of third party insurance is required.


Japan

License / Permission required: No

Unsure of com­mer­cial use guidelines, but “Japan­ese avi­ation laws do not cur­rently pro­hibit drones at or below 250m above ground except near airports.”

Tokyo has banned drones in municipal parks after one was dis­covered on the roof of the prime minister’s res­id­ence, accord­ing to reports.


Mexico

License / Permission required: No

In Mexico there are no regulations on the use of drones, although the government uses them to fight drug trafficking, some companies use them to supervise construction, and universities use them for scientific research.


New Zealand

License / Permission required: No

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is currently in the process of developing policy for the regulation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. For now, it looks like there are no permission requirements, but like anywhere, general guidelines are in place and the CAA encourages pilots to engage with them about intended operation.


Norway

License / Permission required: Yes

Permission is required from the CAA along with liability insurance. Depending on the complexity of the system, preparation of a complete operating manual or a simplified manual is required.


Portugal

License / Permission required: No

Currently there are no requirements for commercial operation, but this may change as the RPAS section of the INAC website is ‘under construction’.


Romania

License / Permission required: Yes

Permission is required.


Russia

License / Permission required: Yes

Under the Russian Air Transport Code, owners of unmanned aerial vehicles should obtain a permission for flying them from their local branch of the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia). In addition to the permission, a detailed flight plan also needs to be approved. Otherwise, a fine will be imposed.


South Africa

License / Permission required: X1

The use of flying drones with mounted cameras has been banned with immediate effect in South Africa by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).


Spain

License / Permission required: X1

Conducting specialised jobs (also called aerial work), such as aerial filming, the surveillance, detection and / or fire, mapping, inspection, etc., as indicated in articles 150 and 151 of the Air Navigation Act 48/1960, requires approval by EASA, and until it is approved the new specific rules governing the use of such devices, AESA can not issue such licenses because no legal basis for it.

However as of July 2014, it seems the government has passed a temporary regulatory framework that establishes the requirements for these devices to operate, and the obligations they have to meet the pilots and the companies that use them.


Sweden

License / Permission required: Yes

Permission is required for commercial operation.


Switzerland

License / Permission required: No

It appears that current commercial RPAS operations are allowed without special permit unless flying BLOS (beyond line of sight) and over large crowds, in which a permit must be applied for.


Thailand

License / Permission required: No

Very limited info available, but currently some reporters are flying multicopters in Thailand without government obstruction.

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