With new drone laws in place, Croatia is still one of my favorite spots worldwide to fly my drone. Some of the best beaches and islands worldwide combined with a stunning scenery make this beautiful country a perfect place to take photographs and video from the air.
In July 2015, the Croatian Civil Aviation Authority (as part of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) has released new rules for the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Croatia. To me, these rules are a perfect example how regulators can make practical yet safe ruling for Drones. The result is a mix of different European countries with the US drone regulation, and it is easily understandable and logical. The following applies to drones under 5 kg takeoff mass.
First, all drones flying in Croatia need to be registered with the Croatian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with a simple form. The registrant will receive an acknowledgement of receipt, which has to be carried during flight operations. It is a simple procedure and not a “permit to fly” but rather only a “registration” and is issued free of charge.
Secondly, drone operators need to be in good health and have proof of having basic flight training. The health certificate can be substituted by a valid drivers’ license, and for the flight skills you need to either take a short course or be in possession of a pilot’s license.
Third, there are operational rules governing how drones have to be flown safely. These rules are quite straight-forward and should not create too many restrictions for drone pilots. The terms found in the drone rules are:
- Drones can only be flown in daylight
- Drones can only be flown in Category A+B airspace with the above mentioned registration; in airspace C+D a special permission is needed for each flight and technical requirements are higher. Airspace A+B means outside of populated areas like residential buildings (C) or towns and cities (D).
- Drones need to be always flown with direct visual contact without any visual aids
- The pilot must ensure that the distance between him and the drone doesn’t exceed 500 meters.
- A safety distance of 150 m to groups of people must be maintained.
- Drones cannot be flown in controlled airspaces or 3 km around any airport’s reference point (ARP)
- Pilots must have an appropriate insurance certificate; it must be carried with them during operation of the drone
- Pilots need to keep written records of flights, such as time and date, place, flight duration and special incidents.
- The drone needs to be permanently marked with the operator’s name and address.
With these basic rules that I consider one of the more “easy” approaches on drone regulation, pilots can easily obtain the legal permission to fly their drone safely in Croatia. I wish other European countries follow this model, and there would be a unified European Registration one day.
The regulation’s original text may be found here.
The official form to file a registration is available for download here.
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