Drone Laws in Austria

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Austria

Austro Control (AC)

Austro Control Dronespace

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

Updated February 3, 2023


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Austria

The Austrian agency responsible for drone safety, Austro Control, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or for work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Flying and operating drones in Austria are subject to European Union Regulation 2019/947. Austro Control supervises and implements the Regulation in Austria. This reform aims to create a truly harmonized drone market in Europe with the highest level of safety. In practice, it means that once a drone Οperator has received authorization from its state of registry, they will be allowed to circulate in the European Union freely. According to the level of risk involved, this new legal framework will introduce three categories of drone operations: Open, Specific, and Certified.

Drone operations are to be conducted according to the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (as amended).

Are drones allowed in Austria?

According to Austro Control, drones are allowed in Austria, subject to AC and EASA regulations. Read on for details.

Here are the pre-existing rules to know for flying a drone in Austria:

  • Drone pilots must be 16 years of age or older.
  • Liability insurance is mandatory for all drone operators.
  • No flying over crowds (e.g., events, sports events, concerts, etc.) without special permission.
  • No flying in “the immediate vicinity of airports” without special permission.
  • Only Austro Control may grant an aviation permit to a pilot.
  • Even after the operating license has been granted, specific aviation-related authorizations under the 2014 Air Traffic Rules may be required for certain areas.

Since 2014, very strict rules for unmanned flight systems have been applied in Austria. Before you take your drone into the country, you should determine which category it belongs to. The weight and the desired altitude are important.

Permit Requirements in Austria

Austria classifies drones by joules of kinetic energy, which is a measurement that includes both weight and speed.

All persons operating one or more of the following devices must register as drone operators:

  • Drones from 250g
  • Drones (also below 250g), which can transmit kinetic energy of more than 80 joules in the event of an impact on a human being (so-called “High-speed drones”)
  • Drones (also below 250g) are equipped with a sensor that can collect personal data.

This means that the operator must always be registered before operating devices equipped with a camera (except for devices covered by the EU Toy Directive).

Registration

Registration can be carried out by any drone operator online. After successful registration, the operator receives a registration number, which must be affixed to all drones used (this can also be done easily by manually labeling the drone). The registration of individual devices is not required. A one-time registration by the operator of the drones is sufficient. Registration costs 32.40 euros and is valid for 3 years.

Click on this link to register a drone in Austria

Compulsory insurance

Attention: For the operation of a drone in Austria, you must be insured under the requirements of the Aviation Act. Your insurance coverage must therefore be at least 750,000 special drawing rights (SDRs). Please note that the insurance may have to meet different requirements for operation in other EU countries.

Here are the most important EASA rules to know for flying a drone in Austria moving forward:

Drone operators must register all drones in Austria. Following registration, you must adhere to the following rules.

  • Drones may fly up to 50 meters (170 feet) above ground or sea level in the Open category and up to 120 meters (400 feet) in the Specific category. (AC may grant exemptions to operators of specific category drones.) 
  • Direct visual contact with the drone is required, and the operating distance should not exceed 500 meters. 
  • Avoid flying too close to residential areas or populated areas. 
  • Maintain a safety buffer zone of one kilometer around residential areas. 
  • Unless the owner/person consents, a safety distance of 500 meters from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, and structures is required. 
  • Avoid flying near airports and heliports. Stay a minimum of eight (8) kilometers away from airports and three (3) kilometers from heliports for safety. 
  • At no time is it permissible to fly a drone at night. 
  • There shall be no flying over, within, or near military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites, or public or private facilities.

Open Category

Given the low level of risk, neither prior authorization by the competent authority nor a declaration by the drone operator is required. The drone’s total takeoff mass must be less than 25kg and be operated within a visual line of sight at a maximum altitude of 120m.

Specific Category

Considering the moderate level of risk involved, flights in this category require authorization before the operation. The permission is given considering the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except in specific standard scenarios where an operator declaration is sufficient.

Certified Category

Given the inherent dangers, certification of the drone and a licensed remote pilot are required. If your drone is capable of carrying people, you fall under the Certified category!

EASA Summary of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements
EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

Note for foreign operators

Operator Registration (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you are coming from a non-EU country and this is the first time you will fly your drone in an EU country, you MUST register as an Operator.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a unique Operator Registration number which you MUST attach to your drone. If you have several drones, the same number must be attached to all of them.
  • You are not allowed to fly in NO FLY ZONES, and you must keep a minimum of 8km distance from airports/heliports.
  • If you have already conducted operations in another EU country before going to Austria, you must not register again. You always register to the first non-EU country you have conducted flights.

Remote Pilot Certificate (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you want to fly your drone in Austria and live in a non-EU country, you must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate from an EU country.
  • You can get the A1/A3 Certificate by registering with the online Remote Pilot School.
  • The online training and exam are required for those who want to fly a drone in the ‘Open’ category in subcategories A1/A3.
  • The pass mark is 75%, and you have 3 tries to pass.
  • Once you pass your exam, you will receive your remote pilot certificate. Its validity will be 5 years.
  • You must have your Remote Pilot Certificate in your possession whenever you plan to perform drone operations in Austria and present it when the authorities ask.

How to register as a drone pilot or operator in Austria?

According to European Regulation (EU) 2019/947, registration is mandatory for UAS operators (not for UAS themselves).

The UAS Pilot, also known as the Remote Pilot (RP), is the person physically behind the UAS flight controls. They are fully responsible for the safety of the flight throughout operations.

The UAS Operator is the person or company who oversees operations and gives flight instructions. This person or legal entity bears all responsibility for the operations of the drone (s) on their behalf. Very often, in the OPEN category and as an individual, the Pilot and the Operator are the same person.

Who should register?

As part of the OPEN category, registration is compulsory for operators:

  • UAS that has a mass of 250 g or more; 
  • UAS that has a mass of less than 250 g but:
    • can operate at speeds greater than 90km / h 
    • are equipped with a camera or a microphone, if these UAS are NOT toys * 

* A UAS is a toy when a manufacturer intends it for children under 14 and meets the minimum safety criteria required to be so named. Compliance with these standards naturally limits the capabilities of the UAS (size, weight, non-dangerous spare parts, no powerful motor, etc.): see Directive 2009/48 / EC of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys

Under the SPECIFIC category, registration is compulsory for all operators.

Natural persons can only register in the country where they reside.

Legal persons must register in the country where their principal place of business is located.

Registration can only be done in one Member State at a time.

How do you register in Austria for drone operations?

The operator registration procedure begins at the online Austro Control registration link

This UAS operator registration number is valid for one year and must be renewed periodically following the same procedure. The operator always uses the same number unless the latter is permanently deregistered from the register.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Austria

The Austrian laws are very strict.

You’re not allowed to film or take photos for leisure or commercial use without appropriate authorization delivered by Austro Control. The live broadcast is also forbidden.

For drones under 250g

You will not need a permit or a license to fly your drone for recreational purposes if it weighs less than 250 g and you keep your flight altitude below 30 m.

For drones weighing between 250 g & 150 kg flying in the class 1 sub-category (within sight).

You must follow a few rules within the permitted zones according to your flight category (1, 2, 3 & 4).  To make things easier, check the table below to sum up your flight conditions:

Austria Drone Conditions Table

Austria Drone Conditions Table

In every case, you will need

  • to be at least 16 years old.
  • You will need to register your drone with local authorities.
  • Hold insurance (coverage around 1 Million €).
  • In case a second pilot has the ability to control the drone, he/she will need to declare suitability to do such in writing as well & attach his/her drone license copy.

For flights categorized as A:

  • you can only use reliable accessories on your drone when flying

Documents to provide upon application:

  • your insurance confirmation
  • a description of your drone (attach a 3-side view photo) & the installed accessories
  • a noise measurement report (if other than the electric engine).

For flights categorized as B:

  • you can only use reliable accessories on your drone when flying
  • you will need an airworthiness certificate & operation safety analysis of your flight
  •  there is an engine noise maximum tolerance

Documents to provide upon application

  • your insurance confirmation.
  • A description of your drone (attach a 3-sided view photo) & the installed accessories.
  • A noise measurement report.
  • An operational safety analysis of your drone flight.

For flights categorized as C & D:

  • you will need an airworthiness certificate & operation safety analysis of your flight.
  • You can only use reliable accessories on your drone when flying
  • there is an engine noise maximum tolerance
  • you will need to create a safety pre-flight checklist to complete before each flight.
  • an aeromedical certificate not older than 5 years (Austrian driving license fitness assessment works).
  • An Aerobatic certificate (you’re exempt if you hold an Austrian skydiver, hanger or paragliding license), here’s a sample example (only available in German).

Documents to provide upon application:

  • your insurance confirmation.
  • a description of your drone (attach a 3-sided view photo) & the installed accessories.
  • a noise measurement report.
  • an operational safety analysis of your drone flight.
  • your pilot’s license (& your co-pilot’s if relevant).
  • your recognized medical certificate.

For drones over 150 kg or any drone flying in the class 2 sub-category (out of sight).

You will need approval from EASA (EC) 216/2008. The regulations from EASA are also effective for class 2.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Austria

The Austrian laws are very strict.

You’re not allowed to film or take photos for leisure or commercial use without appropriate authorization delivered by Austro Control. The live broadcast is also forbidden.

For drones under 250g

You will not need a permit or a license to fly your drone for recreational purposes if it weighs less than 250 g and you keep your flight altitude below 30 m.

For drones weighing between 250 g & 150 kg flying in class 1 sub-category (within sight).

Within the permitted zones, you will need to follow a few rules according to your flight category (1, 2, 3 & 4).  To make things easier check the table below, to sum up your flight conditions:

Austria Drone Conditions Table

Austria Drone Conditions Table

In every case, you will need

  • to be at least 16 years old.
  • you will need to register your drone with local authorities.
  • hold an insurance (coverage around 1 Million €).
  • in case a second pilot has the ability to control the drone, he/she will need to declare a suitability to do such in writing as well & attach his/her drone license copy.

For flights categorized as A:

  • you can only used reliable accessories on your drone when flying

Documents to provide upon application:

  • your insurance confirmation
  • a description of your drone (attach a 3 sided view photo) & the installed accessories
  • a noise measurement report (if other than electric engine).

For flights categorized as B:

  • you can only used reliable accessories on your drone when flying
  • you will need an airworthiness certificate & operation safety analysis of your flight
  •  there is a engine noise maximum tolerance

Documents to provide upon application

  • your insurance confirmation.
  • a description of your drone (attach a 3 sided view photo) & the installed accessories.
  • a noise measurement report.
  • an operational safety analysis of your drone flight.

For flights categorized as C & D:

  • you will need an airworthiness certificate & operation safety analysis of your flight.
  • you can only used reliable accessories on your drone when flying
  • there is a engine noise maximum tolerance
  • you will need to create a safety pre-flight checklist to complete before each flight.
  • an aero medical certificate not older than 5 years (Austrian driving license fitness assessment works).
  • an  Aerobatic certificate (you’re exempt if you hold an Austrian skydiver, hanger or paragliding license), here’s a sample example (only available in German).

Documents to provide upon application:

  • your insurance confirmation.
  • a description of your drone (attach a 3 sided view photo) & the installed accessories.
  • a noise measurement report.
  • an operational safety analysis of your drone flight.
  • your pilot’s license (& your co-pilot’s if relevant).
  • your recognised medical certificate.

For drones over 150 kg or any drone flying in class 2 sub-category (out of sight).

You will need approval from EASA, (EC) 216/2008. The regulations from EASA are also effective for class 2.


Useful published information on flying drones in Austria

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Austria…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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11 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Austria”

  1. Am I misunderstanding this or is the information outdated? It says the permit is 330 EUR per year, but according to the other articles I read this was the old regulation.

    The new regulation is something around 30 EUR and it is valid for 3 years. Can anybody confirm this?

    E.g. this is the information from dronespace.at:
    Was kostet die Registrierung?
    Die Kosten belaufen sich auf 32,40 EUR.

    Reply
  2. I am from India, and going to meet Austria in August 2022. I own DJI mavic mini, and I am going to shoot some videos and photos of this beautiful country as well as Italy. So, do I have to register my drone before any flight? Also, my insurance is from india, so it is going to be acceptable there?

    Reply
    • Gaurav, if your India Insurance covers flights in Europe then you will not need additional insurance. You will need to register that drone and as an operator. That drone has a camera and is not considered a toy.

      Reply
  3. Hi, do I get it right that I can’t flight my DJI Mavic Mini (registred in Czech Republic – EU registration) legally in Austria when I want to take some photos and video of us in the mountains?

    Reply
    • Both Austria and Czech Republic are EASA regulated, so you should be able to fly in Austria, subject to local regulations

      Reply
      • Well, yes but for taking the videos I need permission from Austro Control, right? In the article above I read that for recreational use of drone “I am not allowed to film, take photos for leisure or commercial use without an appropriate authorization delivered by Austro Control.”

        Reply
      • Well, yes but I can’t take video or photo, right? Because the article said I can’t take any footage without Austro Control: “You’re not allowed to film, take photos for leisure or commercial use without an appropriate authorization delivered by Austro Control. “

        Reply
        • Lukas, there is some ambiguity about these regulations. The Austro Control site implies that authorization is needed, while the Austro Control Dronespace indicates that in relation to EASA regulations they are not:
          https://www.dronespace.at/en
          The ‘open’ category is the main reference for most leisure drone activities and low-risk commercial activities.
          If you comply with the relevant requirements of the subcategories (A1, A2 and A3), no operational authorisation is required before starting a flight.

          We are going to do a complete review to see how much of the Austro Control regulations are still in force, but that may take some effort. We recommend you contact them directly in the meantime.
          Let us know what you find out

          Reply
  4. Can I fly my Dji Mini2 drone registered in Belgium (Europe registration) in Austria? I’m insured for recreational drone activities and have an official registration number.

    Reply

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