Drone Regulation in France

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For your information, two new decrees " drones " of December 17, 2015 replace the arrested April 11, 2012 .




Following feedback from state services and operators, various regulatory changes have emerged as necessary.

The major regulatory principles remain the same. The main regulatory developments regarding specific activities are:

The scope of certain pre-defined operational scenarios is extended:

  • S1 : extension 100 to 200m distance of the pilot

  • S2 : 150m extension of the maximum working height for aircraft under 2kg

  • S3 : the extension of 4 to 8 kg total non- captive aircraft subject to additional conditions applicable to third protective device ( safety gear ) and a distance away potentially greater than 30m third

  • S3 : extension from 4 to 25 kg maximum mass of captives aerodynes and 150 kg for all captive aircraft subject to additional technical conditions to be defined case by case .

  • The distance expulsion of third floor currently 30m is reduced : For aircraft equipped with a safety parachute and aircraft of 2kg or less used at a height of less than 50 meters , it is replaced by a minimum distance function the speed and height of operations (corresponding to the fall of the drone in case of total loss of motor and non-release of the parachute ) . This minimum distance can not be less than 10 meters and is capped at 30 m for aircraft of less than 4kg (maintaining the current value) .


Various approaches are simplified :

  • Tethered balloons used at a height of less than 50 meters with a payload of a mass less than or equal to 1 kg are not subject to the obligations of the order

  • Aircraft operating within confined spaces and cutlery are not subject to the obligations of the order;

  • Remove the MAP deposit requirement with authority , replaced by an obligation of activity statements , the validity of which is limited to 24 months. As part of the S-4 scenario, each mission or set of tasks is subject to the prior approval of the authority;

  • Removal of the requirement of writing a MAP for captive aerostats 25kg or less. The relevant operators are however required to declare their activity

  • S3 : removing the requirement for specific authorization (or design certificate ) for captive aerostats and all aircraft of 2kg or less

  • Removing the requirement of annual renewal of the airworthiness document for aircraft of more than 25kg , in return for an annual declaration of fitness to fly to join the annual report of activities of the operator

  • Reunification under the single concept of " design certificate " of " airworthiness document / flight authorization " which was previously required for aircraft of more than 25 kg and "special permits " that were required for the scenarios S2, S3 et S4.

  • The official authorization for flights over populated areas is replaced by a prior declaration requirement.

  • The terms of developments in civil controlled airspace are simplified :

    • Developments for under 50m are no longer subject to the agreement of the body that makes the service control , but it still required for developments to over 50m ; requirements for developments near the landing and take-off facilities are however retained (Annex I)

    • The text introduces the possibility of evolution outside controlled airspace to subject the establishment of a protocol agreement between the responsible activity and air traffic control organization.

    • Developments controlled airspace managed by the Defence: the terms are unchanged , developments remain subject to the prior approval of the organization and the establishment of a protocol.


The text establishes a flight notification requirement for unmanned aircraft used in the context of a particular activity or experiment . This requirement applies :

  • to all flights out of sight, and

  • to all flights performed for over 50 m within the training area in very low altitude defense (SETBA , VOLTAC etc .. ) when assets (excluding weekends and holidays).


The possibility of night flights on departure of the prefect after consulting the CASD -IR is introduced as well as the possibility of segregation of other activities that a segregation area.
The text clarifies certain technical requirements and introduces a new requirement for flight " out of sight " in the context of scenarios S2 and S4 , the interrupt control of the flight in an emergency must function even in case of failure of embedded automation control the trajectory ( ability to manually stop a scheduled flight plan in case of failure of the automation ) .


Official documents to download:


           Two texts of 17 December 2015 therefore now define the rules for the use of drones:


      - A decree on the design, operating conditions and qualifications for Unmanned

      - A decree on the conditions for inclusion in the airspace


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