Here is a breakdown of the current legal framework for drone operation in France. The use of drones is now framed by the Decree of 17 December 2015 relating to the design and use of civilian aircraft operating without any person on board.

picto-pdf Decree of 17 December 2015 Relating to the design of civilian aircraft operating no one on board, conditions of employment and required capabilities of people who use the

picto-pdf Decree of 17 December 2015 Relating to the use of airspace by aircraft Circulating no one on board

Classification of aircraft without a pilot on board into 7 categories:

  • – Category A: The model aircraft of less than 25 kg, propelled or captives, used solely for recreation or competition between model aircraft.
  • – Category B: Model aircraft (ie recreational) of more than 25 kg or who do not meet the criteria described propulsion for Class A
  • – Category C: Captive aircraft of less than 25 kg which are used for aerial work (photo, video, thermography, observations, surveys etc ..).
  • – Category D: aircraft used for aerial work with a takeoff weight of less than 2 kg (+ load structure).
  • – Category E: aircraft that do not belong to classes C and D, with a mass less than 25 kg or in derogation inf. 4 kg
  • – Category F: aircraft with a mass less than 150 kg
  • – Category G: aircraft with more than 150 kg mass

evolution of the aircraft Zone:

The texts also provide for the classification of flights by 4 scenarios:

S-1: Flight live view of the unmanned taking place outside populated area to a lower horizontal distance of 200 m from the UAV.

S-2: * flights outside populated area at a maximum horizontal distance radius of 1 km from the UAV and height less than 50 m above the ground or artificial obstacles without any person on the ground in the area devolution. Extension to 150m in height for aircraft under 2kg.

S-3: flights agglomeration or near a gathering of people or animals, in direct view of the unmanned, with a maximum horizontal distance of 100 m from the UAV.

S-4: activities outside of Scenario 2.

* Populated area an aircraft is said to evolve into “populated area” when changing:
– in or at a horizontal distance of less than 50 meters from a metropolitan area contained on aeronautical charts in force issued by the Aeronautical Information Service scale 1/500 000 or, alternatively, scale 1/250 000; or
– a horizontal distance of less than 150 meters from a gathering of people, unless otherwise specified in this order.

Administrative obligations:

In all the flight scenario, it is required before any operation:

  • – Obtaining a theoretical or ULM PPL
  • – The deposit and the update of a particular activity manual (MAP)
  • – A Declaration of Skill Level (DNC) of the Unmanned established by the operator
  • – A declaration of conformity of the aircraft (if it is a serial device, this statement may be issued by the manufacturer if it made the approach to the CASD for the relevant series)
  • – The demonstration of the operation of all the safety elements required for the planned flight scenario (see following paragraphs)
  • Required safety equipment on categories drones D and E:
  • D and E category aircraft are required to have the following safety features:
  • – Barometric sensor for the TV pilot to know in real time the altitude
  • – A pressure altitude limitation preventing the aircraft from exceeding the altitude set by the flight scenario (eg limited to 50 m in elevation and 150 meters S2 scenario if the aircraft is less than 2kg). Being specified that this device will function in case of radio transmission failure.
  • – Device “failcrash” to force a landing when the aircraft leaves the volume under the flight scenario. Being specified that this device is to operate even in case of radio transmission failure
  • – For aircraft of Class E less than 4 kg: third protective device limiting the impact on the ground to 69 joules (parachute, airbags …). It being specified that this device must be activated only in case of automatic emergency landing procedure (failcrash), or by decision of unmanned.
  • – For aircraft of Class E least between 4 kg and 8 kg: the device must also meet the following conditions:
    – the triggering of the device causes the stop of the propulsion of the aircraft;
    – the device control link is independent of the main link command and control of the aircraft;
    – the power supply of the device and its remote control are independent of the main power supply of the aircraft and its command and control system;
    – the device signals by an alarm the fall of the aircraft;
    – if the device consists of a parachute, it must include an ejection or extraction assets not based solely on the gravity system
    – the proper functioning of the trigger mechanism device can be checked by unmanned ground before the flight.
  • – In scenario S2 and S4, aircraft must provide the UAV positioning, record all flight parameters during the last 20 minutes, and S4 be equipped with a camera pointing forward to visualize the presence of third parties if forced landing.
  • – In S4 scenario, the TV pilot must hold a pilot’s license or helicopter and have 100 hours of flight minimum.

The issuance of the annual tax receipt should be preceded by a demonstration flight for aircraft that do not have standard certification.Operators should in any case certify their aircraft conforms to these requirements (download the declaration of conformity)