I intend to buy a drone. Are there any rules I should be aware of?
Answer (May 2016)
Drones and model aircraft are both considered small unmanned aircraft and the same rules apply to their operation. The rules are set out in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order 2015 (SI 563/2015).
Under the rules, all drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). This includes the weight of the battery and all attached equipment, including cargo, at the start of its flight. You must be over 16 years of age to register a drone, otherwise it must be registered by a parent or legal guardian. You register your drone online at iaa.ie/drones.
You must never operate a drone in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of others and you must have permission from the landowner for take-off and landing. You must never operate it:
- Farther than 300 metres from you or out of your direct line of sight
- Over 120 metres above ground level
- Over urban areas or over a group of 12 or more people
- Within 120 metres of any person, vessel or structure not under your control
- Closer than 5 kilometres from an aerodrome
- If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
- In civil or military controlled airspace or in restricted areas such as prisons
If you want to operate your drone outside these limits, you must apply to the IAA for a specific operating permission and complete a drone safety training course. If your drone weighs 4kg or more, you must complete a drone safety training course before operating it.
You should be aware that there may be privacy or trespass issues if you operate a drone over private property. While you do not need insurance to operate a drone it is recommended that you are insured and that you complete a drone safety training course.