Flying drones in Belgium is legal if you follow the country’s drone regulations. This guide provides everything you need to know about drone laws in Belgium, including licensing requirements, operational categories, general rules, and travel considerations when bringing drones into the country.
An Overview of Drone Laws in Belgium
Belgium has a comprehensive set of drone regulations overseen by the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) and Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport (FPS Mobility). Drone pilots must follow rules based on the weight of the drone and the type of operation. Licenses issued by the BCAA are required for some drone activities.
In general, drone regulations in Belgium align with European Union drone laws established by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EU drone regulations categorize operations into the Open, Specific, and Certified categories based on risk levels. Belgium drone laws adopt this framework.
Below is a summary of key information on flying drones legally in Belgium:
- Drones must be registered in the Belgian aviation register, except for foreign drones already registered elsewhere.
- Visual line of sight (VLOS) must be maintained.
- Height limits vary based on operation category.
- Licensing is required for Class 1a and 1b operations. Class 2 has a certificate requirement.
- Rules differ for operations over people, near obstacles, and in controlled airspace.
- Night flying is restricted and payloads have limitations.
Continue reading for an in-depth look at Belgium’s drone regulations. This guide covers travel considerations, operational categories, licensing, general rules, and more. Follow the laws outlined here to fly drones safely and legally in Belgium.
Special Travel Considerations for Drones in Belgium
Travelers planning to bring drones into Belgium should be aware of the country’s registration requirements.
According to Belgium’s FPS Mobility, drones operated in Belgium must be registered in the Belgian aircraft registry. However, drones already registered in another country do not require additional registration in Belgium.
Before traveling to Belgium with a drone, contact the BCAA to ask any questions about bringing foreign-registered drones into the country:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +32 (02) 277.43.07
Proper registration helps ensure drones in Belgium’s airspace are operating safely and responsibly. Carry documentation showing your drone’s registration when traveling.
Belgium offers excellent drone flying opportunities like aerial photography of historic Bruges architecture and landscapes in the Ardennes hills. Follow the country’s UAV laws so you can capture stunning aerial views without issue.
Drone Laws in Belgium
As an European Union member state, Belgium’s drone rules align with EASA’s framework for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) regulations in Europe.
EASA categorizes drone operations based on risk levels:
- Open Category – Low risk drone activities with minimal regulatory requirements. This encompasses the majority of hobbyist and recreational flights.
- Specific Category – Medium risk operations requiring an operational authorization from aviation authorities. This covers drone use like surveying, infrastructure inspections, and agriculture.
- Certified Category – High risk operations involving large drones over populated areas. Requires certified hardware and licensed pilots.
Below is an overview of the Open Category requirements across the EU, which covers most personal, recreational, and limited commercial drone use:
- Drones must have a Class identification label or comply with legacy requirements if purchased before January 1, 2023.
- Maximum takeoff weight is under 25 kg (55 lbs).
- Operations keep a safe distance away from people with no overflight in populated areas unless the UAS is marked as Class C0 or C1 or weighs less than 250g.
- Visual line of sight (VLOS) maintained except when using a UA observer.
- Maximum height of 120 meters (400 feet).
- No carriage of dangerous goods.
Belgium has additional national regulations building on the EASA framework. Always check both EU and country-specific drone rules for legal flight in Belgium.
Drone Operational Categories and Licensing in Belgium
Belgium regulations define permission and licensing requirements based on three categories of drone operations:
Class 1a Operations
Class 1a covers drones weighing up to 150 kg flown up to 300 feet in uncontrolled airspace. Operations may involve flying close to people or obstacles. Visual line of sight must be maintained.
Pilots must obtain a Remote Pilot License issued by the BCAA to conduct Class 1a flights. Licenses require passing a BCAA theory exam and skill test with an approved examiner.
Class 1b Operations
Class 1b includes drones up to 150 kg flown up to 300 feet in uncontrolled airspace. But these flights remain more than 164 feet away from people or structures on the ground. Visual line of sight is required.
Class 1b also needs a remote pilot license from the BCAA involving exams and a practical skill demonstration.
Class 2 Operations
Class 2 is for lightweight drone operations up to 45 meters (150 feet) in uncontrolled airspace away from populated areas. Drones must weigh 5 kg or less. Visual line of sight is mandatory.
Instead of a full remote pilot license, Class 2 requires a Certificate of Competence via BCAA theory and practical testing.
This overview chart from the BCAA summarizes the permission requirements for different types of drone flights in Belgium:
Review the specific thresholds for distances from people and structures based on your drone model and operation class. Contact the BCAA with any questions about licensing requirements.
General Rules for Flying Drones in Belgium
In addition to the operational categories, general drone regulations in Belgium include:
Drone Registration – Drones flown in Belgium must be registered in the Belgian aircraft registry. Carry documentation when flying.
Visual Line of Sight – The remote pilot or an observer must directly see the drone at all times. First-person view camera systems do not replace line of sight needs.
Night Flying Restrictions – Night flights are only allowed with special BCAA approvals in Classes 1a and 1b. Class 2 does not permit night operations.
Height Limits – Maximum heights vary based on the operational class. Stay under height limits and away from controlled airspace.
Distance from People/Structures – Horizontal distance minimums from people and structures differ based on the drone weight and operation. Maintain required separation distances.
No Dropping of Materials – Do not drop objects from a drone in flight except with explicit BCAA permission.
Privacy – Respect privacy rights and obtain consent if filming identifiable individuals.
Other Airspace Restrictions – Special rules may be in place around airports, military zones, critical infrastructure, nature reserves, and other sensitive sites.
Always fly safely and defer to manned aircraft. Report any accidents or incidents to the appropriate BCAA and EASA reporting systems.
Tips for Flying Drones Legally in Belgium
To summarize key points for flying drones legally in Belgium:
- Register drones in the Belgian aircraft registry before flying unless already registered elsewhere.
- Determine which operational class matches your intended use. Class 1 and 2 have licensing requirements.
- Study remote pilot licensing and knowledge exam materials if needed for your flight category.
- Maintain visual line of sight and adhere to height and distance limitations.
- Avoid restricted areas like airports, crowds, and military zones.
- Fly only during daylight hours unless BCAA approved for limited night operations.
- Carry your drone registration paperwork and any required licenses or certificates when in operation.
- Purchase drone liability insurance for commercial use.
Following Belgium’s UAS regulations will help ensure your drone stays compliant with the law and operates safely. Contact the BCAA with any questions before flying drones in Belgium.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Belgium? Here you go:
Belgium provides picturesque scenery for aerial photography and videography when you fly drones legally. Understand the country’s drone operational categories, licensing rules, height limits, and other regulations before enjoying the view from above. Always put safety first by registering your drone, maintaining your qualifications, and flying responsibly. Following Belgium’s UAS laws will allow you to capture stunning drone footage without running into issues.
To summarize, drone pilots in Belgium must:
- Register drones in the Belgian aircraft registry unless already registered elsewhere
- Obtain a remote pilot license for Class 1a and 1b operations
- Adhere to visual line of sight, height limits, and distance minimums
- Avoid flying in prohibited or restricted areas
- Respect privacy rights and obtain consent for filming individuals
Check both EASA and BCAA regulations prior to each flight. Contact Belgium’s aviation authorities with any questions about the country’s evolving drone rules.