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Title: Unmanned aircraft — operating rules and procedures
Sectors of Transport: Transport, Air transport
Unmanned aircraft — operating rules and procedures

Unmanned aircraft — operating rules and procedures



Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 on the rules and procedures for operating unmanned aircraft


It aims to ensure that increasing drone traffic across the European Union (EU) is safe and secure for people on the ground and in the air.


The implementing regulation sets out rules for the operation of drones (referring to an unmanned aircraft and the equipment to control it) and for personnel, including remote pilots and organisations involved in such operations.

Operational authorisation

The regulation defines three categories of drone operations.

  • Open operations. These do not require any authorisation or declaration by the operator before the flight.
  • Specific operations. These require an operational authorisation issued by the competent national authority, with certain exceptions.
  • Certified operations. These require the drone to be certified in accordance with a delegated act adopted by the European Commission, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 (see summary). They also require the certification of the operator and, where applicable, the licensing of the remote pilot.

The regulation sets out the requirements for operations in each category; the rules and procedures for the open and specific operations categories are set out in Annex A.

Remote pilots

  • Competency rules for remote pilots in the open and specific categories are set out in Annex A.
  • A minimum age of 16 is required for operations in the open and specific categories, however, there are certain exceptions.
  • EU Member States can lower the minimum age by up to 4 years in the open category and 2 years in the specific category.

Operational rules and procedures

The regulation covers rules and procedures on a number of aspects, including:

  • drone airworthiness;
  • operational risk assessments;
  • authorising operations in the specific category;
  • ‘specific’ category operations that cross EU borders or take place partially or entirely in a Member State other than the one of registration;
  • registration of operators and drone certification;
  • defining geographical zones*;
  • rules for model aircraft clubs and associations.


It has applied since 31 December 2020.


For further information, see:


Geographical zone. A portion of airspace established by the competent authority that facilitates, restricts or excludes unmanned aircraft system operations in order to address risks pertaining to safety, privacy, protection of personal data, security or the environment, arising from unmanned aircraft system operations.


Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of 24 May 2019 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft (OJ L 152, 11.6.2019, pp. 45–71).

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2019/947 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 of 12 March 2019 on unmanned aircraft systems and on third-country operators of unmanned aircraft systems (OJ L 152, 11.6.2019, pp. 1–40).

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and amending Regulations (EC) No 2111/2005, (EC) No 1008/2008, (EU) No 996/2010, (EU) No 376/2014 and Directives 2014/30/EU and 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 552/2004 and (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 (OJ L 212, 22.8.2018, pp. 1–122).

See consolidated version.

last update 02.12.2021

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