19 March 2019 |

Drones will have to be registered to fly

In order to increase air traffic safety and with the upcoming implementation of U-Space, all drones weighing more than 250 grams will have to be registered in a federal registry to fly.

In Switzerland, the rules for using a drone are very basic: do not lose sight of it, be insured for civil liability if it weighs more than 500 grams and do not fly over crowds, airfields, heliports or protected wild spaces. A rule will soon be added to this light legislative framework. “The registration of the drone will be necessary to fly it,” says Antonello Laveglia, spokesman of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) for French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 drones have been sold to enthusiasts in Switzerland over the past five years. “For the time being, these aircraft are invisible to traditional aviation operators – planes, helicopters – as well as to airspace controllers,” explains Antonello Laveglia. It is therefore impossible for the police or authorities to intervene or identify a faulty device and its owner in the event of non-compliance with the legislation, hence the importance of a registry of all these devices. This requirement is expected to come into effect by mid-2020.

The first steps of the upcoming U-Space

The European regulation calls for the creation of a U-Space, i.e. an interface between UAVs and traditional aviation. Switzerland is a pioneer in this field thanks to Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation control authority. “With current radar systems, we are unable to detect drones. The U-Space will allow us to see them and be able to intervene if necessary. The introduction of this system in Switzerland is planned for June 2019, in collaboration with AirMap and the FOCA,” explains Vladi Barrosa, Skyguide’s spokesperson.  “The mandatory registration of drones is, in a way, a prerequisite for the implementation of U-Space: it will have to be taken into account when shaping it,” concludes Antonello Laveglia.

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