The end of drones in Belgium?


Life is becoming pretty difficult for drones lover in Belgium: apparently the department of air transports in Belgium has either approved a new law or a new interpretation of an old one, which equiparates drones to any other RC aircraft: under that interpretation, drones can only take off from approved terrains, and can only go maximum 400m from the RC club, and must stay at more than 200m from any building.

That means that basically autonomous drones like Arducopter can do autonomous missions only inside the air space of the RC club, so they cannot even be tested in your own garden. This is even a bigger threat to other "toy drones" like Ar.Drone, because I doubt people that buy such "toys" will ever join a RC club (which might cost a few hundreds euro per year).

The article cites that the main problem is the protection of privacy since all drones are equipped with cameras and might pictures.

Here is the link to article that discusses about that topic: Drones à usage civil en Belgique : interdiction de décoller depuis le jardin (in French, sorry).

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  • PS: Mandatory insurance sounds like a great idea. Also for model airplane pilots.

  • This is obviously about privacy concerns and perhaps safety (because of the unmanned aspect)

    Personally I don't see why the RC model plane regulation was not sufficient. There are laws that govern privacy and snooping on people. Just implement them. No need for further regulation.

    Also unsafe flying is per definition illegal. (Flying over people and other stupid ideas)

    And when it comes down to it, everyone is responsible for his actions. If you crash a plane, drone or flying beer bottle onto someone or someone's property you will have to bear the consequences.

  • As always the problem I think is the "one law to rule them all" approach: I agree that fixed wings drones might fly so high and far from the takeoff position that can interfere with normal aircrafts, but multicopter only have a 10 min fly time, so it more unlikely that this will happen, and even more the toy drones (like the AR.Drone which everyone in the original document talks about but is shown in the image in the news).

    Furthermore, areas where normal aircraft fly are already marked and you cannot fly there anyway.

    That is if the problem was the air safety.

    If the problem they try to address is privacy, why big tele lenses are still allowed since they make it possible to take stills of anything (and your not so close neighbor's daughter) from hundreds of meters?

    I think this will turn out in nobody respecting this rule, unless they make it dead easy to ask for permissions for non commercial usage.

  • >But our belgian rules like "you can only fly over an approved r/c club field"

    this makes shure no problems are ahead.

    you can call this an area where flying is allowd ;-)

    now you have to find the spots...

  • The simplest rule which makes the most sense is to simply get the approval from the owner of the land you are flying above. And the second rule is to use common sense, such as :

    • don't fly next to GSM towers
    • don't fly over railways
    • don't fly over highways
    • don't fly over your neighbour's garden to take still of her daugther in bikini

    But our belgian rules like "you can only fly over an approved r/c club field" ? Naaaaaaaaaaaa.

  • the rules are clear - there is way too much traffic in the air.

    and quite a few people are violating the rules...

  • @John  I'm agree with you but there's a little difference betwenn driving too fast ( and i love that ....) with a car and "just playing" with an "expensive toy" (all my friends says that about me :/ ) i think.

  • Moderator

    In the long run its a good thing Europe is finally harmonizing. There are parts of the world where even testing UA would be illegal. Rules have to be put in place to regulate commercial use.

  • Whatever law situation in Belgium, my country, has never prevented me from taking off from my garden or any field, shooting movies & stills everywhere I want. Yes obviously I do not use my hexa to break privacy rules "on purpose". In these last 2 years, I've been only requested once to land immediately and go away - the owner of the castle I was shooting from the air did not want it to happen - I didn't argue of course.

    Last week I was shooting a video in a street for a real estate project against which the residents of that street wanted to fight. So not a problem either, as all of that street's residents *asked* me to shoot it for them. And with such agreement there is now law that stands.

  • That is a good point, of course.  It'll end up too expensive and prohibitive to make a buck with a simple drone.  Pity, with all the unemployment, that people cant pull themselves up by providing a useful service that typically has nothng to do with spying on people.  Governments are the ones looking to peep.

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