Drone laws and regulations in Austria

Dimitri Wolf Von Dimitri Wolf 4 Min. Lesen
Everything you need to know about drone laws in Austria

What drone laws and regulations apply in Austria? Where am I allowed to fly drones in Austria? What do I need to bear in mind and where can I get the information? We answer these and other questions in the following article.

General information

The EU Drone Regulation has also been in force in Austria since 31 December 2022. This defines all regulations for the operation of drones. These requirements have been and are gradually being adopted into national law by the member states and thus define the drone laws for the respective country, in this case Austria.

We recommend reading through the following comprehensive article, even if we briefly summarise its content below. This is the only way to gain a complete understanding of the laws and regulations. You are also welcome to read them after this article or when we address them in the respective paragraph.

Let’s summarise the most important points for drone flights in Austria.

Operating categories

According to the EU Drone Regulation, drone flights are divided into operating categories. Roughly speaking, it states that the heavier the drone, the greater the risk and therefore more requirements. The following categories exist:

  • Open
    • Flights possible without authorisation and therefore the most interesting. Consists of the following sub-categories, each of which has its own requirements for the flight and the drone (see graphic below)
      • A1 = Flight close to people
      • A2 = Flight close to people (30m)
      • A3 = Flight at a great distance from people and residential areas (150m)
  • Specific
    • Drone flights automatically fall into this category as soon as they do not fulfil at least one of the Open conditions. A risk analysis and application for authorisation for the drone flight is then required (see SORA topic).
  • Certified
    • Groove relevant for the transport of people and dangerous goods

For the majority of drone pilots, the Open category is the most interesting, as it allows flying with the fewest restrictions and without official authorisation. The following diagram illustrates the subdivision of the Open category into its subcategories A1-A3.

An overview of the regulations mentioned here for the Open application scenario and the subcategories A1 to A3 with the drone risk classes C0-C4. Information without guarantee.

Official authorisation

If one of the requirements in the table above no longer applies, the drone slips into the Specific category. Drone flights that fall into this category are only permitted with an official licence. Information on applying for such an operating licence can be found at https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/

Further information on the operating categories can be found in one of the two links in the first paragraph above.

Obligation to register

Since 31 December 2020, all drone operators whose drone has a camera or weighs more than 250g must register. In practice, this means that basically every owner of a drone is obliged to register. Ultimately, only toy drones without a camera are exempt from this.

Registration as a drone operator in Austria is possible free of charge at Austro Control. Registration is valid throughout the EU and does not have to be repeated for individual member states if you want to fly abroad.

Note: If you are already registered as a drone operator in another member state in accordance with the EU Drone Regulation, you do not need to register again in Austria. The registration is valid in the entire area of application of the EU regulation. The same also applies to the EU drone operator licences from the following paragraph. So if you are on holiday in Austria, you can also use your existing registration here.

Drone licences

As can be seen in the graphic above, there is also an obligation to obtain an EU drone pilot licence under certain conditions. There are two types of licence:

  • EU proof of competence (“small EU drone licence”)
  • EUremote pilot certificate (“large EU drone licence”)

You can find out when which certificate is required, including further information, in our article EU drone driving licence – all the information you need.

Both certificates can also be obtained on the Austro Control website.

Minimum age

The minimum age for drone pilots in Austria is 16. However, registration is only possible at the age of 18. Minors therefore require a legal adult to fly drones that require registration.

Compulsory insurance

Drone operators must also have appropriate drone liability insurance in Austria in order to fly drones legally. Details and requirements for drone insurance in Austria can be found in our article Drone insurance in Austria.

Where am I allowed to fly drones in Austria?

In addition to the general laws and regulations on drone flying in Austria mentioned above, there are also national no-fly zones, i.e. areas in which drone flying is expressly prohibited. You can find out exactly where these areas are located on the official and interactive Austro Control map. This can be found as a web version at https://map.dronespace.at/. The Dronespace app is also available in the Google PlayStore and the Apple AppStore.

According to Austro Control, the following areas require a licence:

  • Control zones: Before operating the drone in the vicinity of airports, permission must be obtained from the relevant air traffic control centre.
  • Safety zones: A separate licence must be applied for here.
  • Restricted flight areas (e.g. Vienna, Lake Neusiedl, Rhine delta): A separate licence must be applied for. Please note that drones under 250 g, which are operated below 30 m above ground, no longer require an operating licence as of 12/08/2022.
  • Aerodromes: Since 12 August 2022, operation of unmanned aircraft near uncontrolled aerodromes is only permitted outside aerodrome operating hours. The operating hours of the aerodromes can be found in the Aeronautical Information Publication Austria (AIP Austria).
  • Military control zones: Before operating the unmanned aircraft, the approval of the local military air traffic control must be obtained.
  • Military aerodrome traffic zones: Before operating the unmanned aircraft, the approval of the local military air traffic control must be obtained.
  • Militaryclose control areas: The approval of the local military air traffic control must be obtained before operating the unmanned aircraft.
  • Military restricted flight areas: A separate permit from the Federal Minister of Defence or the responsible military air traffic control is required for operation.
  • Safety zones of military airfields: A separate permit from the Federal Minister of Defence is required for operation.

Source: Austro Control

Further information

Dimitri is the founder of DeinDrohnenpilot.de and has been working at skyzr since 2021. He has been fascinated by the topic of drones since 2016. When he is not flying a drone, he is responsible for planning and developing new concepts for the platform as well as writing and creating content. He is also responsible for the technical implementation and maintenance. His training as an IT specialist for system integration and his bachelor's degree in media informatics help him with this.
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