16:51 25.09.2018

State Aviation Service adjusts limits for drone flights, raising weight, range, altitude

3 min read
State Aviation Service adjusts limits for drone flights, raising weight, range, altitude

Ukraine's State Aviation Service has revised restrictions on flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) without prior agreement, increasing weight to 20 kg, permitted altitude of flights to 120 m and setting the range of flights within visual line of sight (VLOS) without restrictions.

"Ukraine is among the first European states that have received modern rules for the use of drones in the airspace," Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said on his Facebook page announcing the new regulations.

In response to the request of the lawyers of the Ante law firm, published by partner of the law firm Andriy Guck on his Facebook page, it is noted that the main changes in the rules of using unmanned aerial vehicles in the Ukrainian airspace concerned the maximum weight of a drone intended for free piloting: the maximum weight is set at up to 20 kg. It was initially set at 2 kg.

"As far as we know, the Justice Ministry registered the rules in this form and they will be published soon." Work on the rules of UAV operation is next," Guck said.

The changes also concern the maximum altitude of flights without prior approval from the regulatory authorities: the new version allows flights at an altitude of 120 m in a controlled airspace and 50 m in the airspace of military and special zones (in the previous version - up to 50 m in free space, full prohibition of flights in special zones).

Previously limited to 500 meters from the pilot, the maximum range was changed to flight within VLOS.

At the same time, flights of drones over gatherings of people in open space and over densely built-up areas are still forbidden without prior agreement.

All-Ukrainian Federation of Drone Owners Chairman Taras Troiak said on Facebook that the new version of the rules still does not meet the needs of users of drones.

"If you translate into a normal language, then flights are prohibited in any locality where there are more than five people on the street, in any city and over elite settlements, such as Koncha-Zaspa and other prohibited areas, as well as at rallies and during mass events. That is, in fact, everywhere, except for the field outside the city," he said.

Troiak also noted that the representatives of the federation and the owners of the drones were not given the opportunity to review the draft amendments before registering the document with the Justice Ministry.

As earlier reported, from June 1, 2018, temporary rules for airspace use were introduced. It regulated the procedure for using drones weighing up to 2 kg (often used by the media for shooting). According to the current rules, drones can no longer be raised above 50 m, fly over roads, power lines, crowds, state institutions and private estates. Applications for permission should be submitted no later than 10 days before the flight.

The media, the Agriculture Ministry and owners of drones criticized the rules set by the regulator.

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