The Royal Decree of 10 April 2016 (available here) distinguishes three different types of activity depending on the weight of the drone and the place of operation. A full summary of the regulation is available here on the website of the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority.
If you plan to use a drone for private or recreational purposes, no particular authorisation, registration or licence will be required. However, this type of "low risk" activity is only authorised under very strict conditions listed in the Royal Decree (Article 3,§2):
- You are only allowed to use your drone for personal or recreational purposes
- The maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of your drone must not exceed 1 kg
- You must always keep your drone within your sight
- You must fly your drone below 10 meters altitude
- Flights are only authorised over private properties and upon authorisation of the owner
- You must follow the safety recommandations from the competent authorities (see here)
- You should also verify whether your private insurance contract covers drone activities
Operations which do not meet the above criteria are considered as "non-recreational" activities and fall within the "Class 1" and "Class 2" category. You will be required to register your drone, to make a prior risk analysis or to file a declaration. In some cases, a prior authorisation from the DG Airspace of the FPS Mobility might even be necessary.
The Royal Decree also contains specific obligations regarding pilot training, drone registration, maintenance requirements, mandatory insurance and makes reference to the applicable privacy and data protection laws.
In all cases:
- Always comply with the applicable data protection and privacy legislations
- Stay away from airports, restricted airspace and no-fly zones. No-fly zones are regularly updated by Belgocontrol (see here)
- The use of completely autonomous aircraft remains strictly forbidden
If you want to know more about the safety obligations applicable in Belgium, please visit our resources section, the website of the Belgian Ministry of Transport or the Belgian RPAS association.