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Question about flying drones in Europe

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I am going to Amsterdam for a week and then to France, Germany and Switzerland on a Rhine River cruise. Has anyone else done this recently and can you tell me, please, if it is worth it? I have taken my drones all over the Southwestern portion of the U.S. and have not regretted it. But, it appears as if it is a lot more restrictive in Europe. Liability insurance is required (not too difficult to get). There is an app called Cover Drone which allows you to purchase that online). There is also a requirement in certain countries to have a fireproof label on the drone.
Any advice you can provide is much appreciated. I just don't want to lug a drone all over and not be able to use it.

Thank you in advance for your comments!
 
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MavicBob

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I brought my Mavic from the the USA to Normandy, France and flew it there without any problems. I did check their excellent on-line national airspace map to see where/what the restrictions were:
Flying restrictions for recreational drones in France (new interactive map) - News - Drone Rules

I also had a printout with me of their 10 drone use rules,
France - Rules for flying recreational drones | MLV DRONE

Finally, I downloaded a copy of the EU Privacy Handbook onto iBooks on my iPad mini and phone (pretty common sense stuff).

One final document I kept on iBooks was my homeowners insurance policy declarations. I'd called USAA to confirm that hobbyist drone flying is covered here and abroad and highlighted those passages in the policy.

Got some great pics: Normandie, Portsmouth, & Bovington

This is Point du Hoc, where the U.S. Army Rangers scaled the cliff to take out German howitzers that could fire on Omaha and Utah Beaches (the Germans moved them before June 6, though).
PdH.png
 
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I brought my Mavic from the the USA to Normandy, France and flew it there without any problems. I did check their excellent on-line national airspace map to see where/what the restrictions were:
Flying restrictions for recreational drones in France (new interactive map) - News - Drone Rules

I also had a printout with me of their 10 drone use rules,
France - Rules for flying recreational drones | MLV DRONE

Finally, I downloaded a copy of the EU Privacy Handbook onto iBooks on my iPad mini and phone (pretty common sense stuff).

One final document I kept on iBooks was my homeowners insurance policy declarations. I'd called USAA to confirm that hobbyist drone flying is covered here and abroad and highlighted those passages in the policy.

Got some great pics: Normandie, Portsmouth, & Bovington

This is Point du Hoc, where the U.S. Army Rangers scaled the cliff to take out German howitzers that could fire on Omaha and Utah Beaches (the Germans moved them before June 6, though).
View attachment 40484

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. Your photo is beautiful!
 

Just_nick

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You're going to find that Germany is absurdly restrictive. You also need an ID tag that cannot be destroyed by fire attached to the outside.
 

Cymruflyer

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Just got back from Austria and Germany last week. Austria is even more restrictive than Germany and I can tell you that Switzerland is far more restrictive than Austria, probably one of the most restrictive counties to fly. If you are in remote places with few people around, you will probably be alright to fly, but don't attempt any flying in or around any cities, if you want to stay out of trouble. It depends on what you want to film and the type of flying you are expecting to do, as to whether you will be able to achieve it or not.
 

M3d4r

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I'm from the netherlands so I can chime in on our laws. They are pretty common sense. Don't go above 120m/393ft Don't fly over crowds or buildings. Don't fly in our nature 2000 zones. They are reserves and are banned from sUAV flights.

Heres a map with the no fly zones due to airports/heliports/military bases

Drone no-fly zones | ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu
 

MavicBob

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You probably already know this, but... cruise lines can be overly restrictive about drones. Without knowing that Celebrity Cruise lines outright prohibits them aboard their ships, I brought my Mavic Pro in my carry-on. At each port I'd take it ashore and get some footage/pics.

When I re-boarded after the last port, they scanned the small drone bag and asked me what was in it. When I said "drone", they almost went into a panic and confiscated it until I left the ship the following day. I should have replied that it was a "remotely-operated, HD video and still camera"; then, they'd have probably waved me through.

It was never my intent to launch/fly from the ship:
- The ship's metal structure may have affected the compass/take-offs and landings
- The ship's radars may have interfered with my signal
- The drone may not have been able to catch back up to the moving ship in a headwind.
 

Martin Kuhn

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Buy yourself a fireresistant Tag for ~5$. This makes absolute sense also if you loose your drone in the us.
I would recommend to check airmap and make a screenshot wherever you fly and expect problems


Germany: insurance needed. Regulations are absolutely ok. 100m height and LOS.

Austria: you need to apply at Austro control. 1 month time to get and 330€ to pay!
70m height. LOS
- I did this. But for you. just for a holiday ?? Only if you are at a super duper place to take footage .... and there is some of it in the alps !

France: easy peasy ;) LOS, height limit

Italy: easy peasy. As long as you keep out of Rome, Venice. Also: don’t fly over Public beaches. Even if there are restrictions .... to be honest ... nobody cares

Suisse: See Regulations. bUT: Suisse guys stick extremely accurate what the allow. If you exceed also just a little .... you risk a quite nasty fine
 

terradriller

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You probably already know this, but... cruise lines can be overly restrictive about drones. Without knowing that Celebrity Cruise lines outright prohibits them aboard their ships, I brought my Mavic Pro in my carry-on. At each port I'd take it ashore and get some footage/pics.

When I re-boarded after the last port, they scanned the small drone bag and asked me what was in it. When I said "drone", they almost went into a panic and confiscated it until I left the ship the following day. I should have replied that it was a "remotely-operated, HD video and still camera"; then, they'd have probably waved me through.

It was never my intent to launch/fly from the ship:
- The ship's metal structure may have affected the compass/take-offs and landings
- The ship's radars may have interfered with my signal
- The drone may not have been able to catch back up to the moving ship in a headwind.

Princess cruise lines also prohibit them aboard their ships. They state that they will be “confiscated and destroyed”. I have a MP that I wanted to take. So I canned that idea and bought a Tello to take thinking I could get it on and off. But now after hearing from a friend what they take out of your luggage I’m rethinking it for our cruise next week.
 

Ian in London

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France's rules are very similar to the UK's and not too different from the USA.
You might want to make use of the Air Traffic Control apps available. AIRMAP covers most of Europe and tells you exactly where you can fly. The main rules are outlined in this short vid:
 
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Thwyllo

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Princess cruise lines also prohibit them aboard their ships. They state that they will be “confiscated and destroyed”. I have a MP that I wanted to take. So I canned that idea and bought a Tello to take thinking I could get it on and off. But now after hearing from a friend what they take out of your luggage I’m rethinking it for our cruise next week.

They may have rules about use but they are not legally empowered to "confiscate and destroy" anything.
 
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Ian in London

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They may have rules about use but they are not legally empowered to "confiscate and destroy" anything.
I don't think they would destroy anything.... But they can easily refuse you boarding unless you hand it over for safe keeping....

Ian
 

dbparti24

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I lived in Germany for 6 years, and traveled extensively all over Europe. Sundays they don't like noise, in fact they don't even allow Semi trucks to drive the road on Sunday's. I would be careful in the cities, but you would be fine out in the country.
 

Thwyllo

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I lived in Germany for 6 years, and traveled extensively all over Europe. Sundays they don't like noise, in fact they don't even allow Semi trucks to drive the road on Sunday's. I would be careful in the cities, but you would be fine out in the country.

Same here in France. It's great to have truck-free roads for just a day.
 

ManuCH

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Just got back from Austria and Germany last week. Austria is even more restrictive than Germany and I can tell you that Switzerland is far more restrictive than Austria, probably one of the most restrictive counties to fly. If you are in remote places with few people around, you will probably be alright to fly, but don't attempt any flying in or around any cities, if you want to stay out of trouble. It depends on what you want to film and the type of flying you are expecting to do, as to whether you will be able to achieve it or not.

Say what now? I live in Switzerland and it's actually one of the less restrictive countries around.

You basically have the following restrictions for a Mavic Pro:
- don't fly over crowds of people
- don't fly closer than 5km to airports (the map can be found here RPAS Map)
- respect people's privacy (meaning: don't peep into home windows)
- always fly VLOS

You also need to have third party liability insurance. Other than that, you can mostly fly everywhere. You don't have any restrictions about flying in cities, for example (unless they're within 5km of an airport). Here's a short video I just shot (legally) in Bern, the capital city of Switzerland:
Flying around the Friedenskirche in Bern, Switzerland

If you have a Mavic Air (which weighs less than 500g), then only rules that apply are:
- respect people's privacy
- always fly VLOS
The other rules (airport proximity, crowds of people) don't apply, although you're still responsible for any damage you cause, of course.

OTOH Germany and Austria are really, really bad. Same for Denmark.

Oh, and that's why I got a Mavic Air in addition to my Pro. The airport restrictions were too ... restricting in the areas where I want to fly.
 
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wco81

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So the drone insurance apps. Verifly and Skywatch do not cover outside the US.

Companies like Allianz and AIG offer insurance but appears to be primarily for commercial operators. Swiss Re is listed as offering insurance but I would assume it's also only for commercial use, meaning high premiums.

It is interesting that EU countries require liability insurance while the FAA doesn't. It's their prerogative but unfortunately doesn't seem to be common for Americans to get such insurance since the FAA doesn't require. And those policies don't cover outside the US.

In some other threads, they say your homeowners will cover outside the US but my insurer has told me that is NOT the case. In fact I've seen other references that your homeowners policy and even a personal umbrella won't cover.
 

Lothman

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I am going to Amsterdam for a week and then to France, Germany and Switzerland on a Rhine River cruise. Has anyone else done this recently and can you tell me, please, if it is worth it? I have taken my drones all over the Southwestern portion of the U.S. and have not regretted it. But, it appears as if it is a lot more restrictive in Europe. Liability insurance is required (not too difficult to get). There is an app called Cover Drone which allows you to purchase that online). There is also a requirement in certain countries to have a fireproof label on the drone.
Any advice you can provide is much appreciated. I just don't want to lug a drone all over and not be able to use it.

Thank you in advance for your comments!

I took my drone to Europe this summer I had no problems whatsoever but my strategy was simple all I did was find an out-of-the-way place to lunch that was suitable for the shot I was trying to get and I just went straight up and straight down I did not go forward left or right just to reduce the risk and if done discreetly Your risks of detection are minimized. This is the gonzo style of drowning that worked well for me And I got some great shots I know this may not work for everybody
 
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The Editor

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This thread is a little misleading at best.

Europe never has been, nor never will be a country.

EASA do not currently control member states within the EU and any aviation’s laws are adopted, altered, or dropped by each individual country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The ONLY way to ensure you are flying legally is to research UAV laws for each country you intend to visit.

There are no ‘European’ UAV laws currently.
 
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