Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)
Pursuant to the amendment of the Aviation Act (Luftfahrtgesetz- LFG) the operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) is permissible as of 1. January 2014. The following information offers a summary of the most important details regarding the technical certification and the operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (in particular of Class 1 according to Luftfahrtgesetz):
- The operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems is permissible as of 1.1.2014. Legal basis is the amendment of the Austrian Aviation Act.
- Detailed regulations have been developed and are available below as a courtesy translation (the german version remains the legal binding document).
- An Airworthiness and Operational Notice (LTH - Lufttüchtigkeitshinweis) had been developed for RPAS, including the preliminary content:
Unmanned Aircraft (Austro Control is the competent authority)
The operational approval issued by Austro Control is solely a permission in regard to the aviation act. It is the operators responsibility to follow all other legal provisions in force (e.g.: data protection, nature protection, permission to operate a RPAS within safety areas, etc.).
Class 1 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are only allowed to be operated in the direct (without technical aid) unobstructed line of sight between the pilot and the RPAS with a maximum flight altitude of 150 m above ground level. A data plate is required for identification.
After passing the technical and operational assessment the operating approval will be issued in the form of a decision of Austro Control. Austro Control also issues a list of approved class 1 unmanned aircraft and the respective field of operation (e.g.: aerial work, aerial filming, aerial photography,
Class 2 RPAS are unmanned aircraft that are operated beyond the visual line of sight. They will be certified and operated like manned civil aircraft. (type certification,
). Furthermore pilot licenses are necessary for the operation. Class 2 unmanned aircraft can currently only be operated as experimental aircraft.
Content of the implementing regulation:
The approval of class 1 unmanned aircraft in Austria is based on the risk arising from its operation.
Depending on the area of operation (undeveloped, uninhabited, populated and densely populated area) and the maximum operating mass, four categories (A-D) are defined. The technical, operational and personnel requirements depend on the category.
If the applicant does not hold a valid Austrian Aircrew License, the required knowledge of airlaw for category C and D approvals can be demonstrated by passed examination in the respective subject.
The exam has to be passed during a sitting at Austro Control. The registration for the examination has to be done 10 workdays before the requested date via firstname.lastname@example.org. Exams take place between Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.
A questionnaire with sample questions of the subject Airlaw is available online (only in German language).
Regulations for model aircraft are not affected by this regulation. Österreichischer AeroClub as the competent authority for large model aircraft issues separate rules for the operation of model aircraft.
Models up to 79 Joule kinetic energy (app. 250 g): for example toy-helicopter, minimodels of foam with a camera are tolerated up to an altitude of max. 30 meters above ground level-. Danger to persons or objects has to be expulsed. The described toys are not in the scope of the Austrian Aviation Act.
Unmanned aircraft over 150 kg:
- Unmanned aircraft with an operating mass above 150 kg need in any case an approval from EASA, (EC) 216/2008.
- The regulations from EASA are also effective for category 2 unmanned aircraft with an operating mass above 150 kg.
An application is possible since 1 January 2014. The approval will be issued by Austro Control in form of a decision. The technical and operational preconditions (LBTH 67) including a subset of the appendices are retrievable in the following list.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems