Drone flying is becoming more and more popular. People often take a drone for holidays and trips and film various attractions with it. This also applies in the case of Slovakia. Therefore, it is important to know the rules and regulations that must be followed when flying with drones.
Flying with a drone is allowed and legal in Slovakia. However, it is necessary to comply with the general and individual rules of the Transport Authority for drone flying and to respect the regulations for individual drone categories in Slovak airspace.
In this post, I will describe in detail what rules to follow for each category of drones in the case of their recreational and commercial use. Therefore, if you want to fly a drone safely in Slovakia, read carefully.
General rules for flying drones in Slovakia
The rules for flying drones change from year to year and in most cases are becoming more and more strict. There are general rules that need to be followed, whatever the reason for flying drones. The general rules of flying drones in Slovakia are as follows:
- Continuous eye contact with the drone
In Slovakia, it is not allowed to fly a drone outside the pilot’s visual line of sight. This means that it is necessary to maintain continuous eye contact with the flying drone. At the same time, eye contact must not be replaced by electronic or optical devices.
If you use electronic transmission of the image from the drone for flying with a drone, such flying is only possible in a so-called two-pilot configuration.
This means that one pilot controls the drone based on an image displayed on a tablet or another device and the other pilot maintains continuous direct eye contact with the drone and can take control of the drone at any time.
- The drone always yield the right of way
The drone pilot is responsible for a sufficient distance from all aircraft. Aircraft, helicopters, gliders, hang gliders, paragliders, balloons and similar devices, which normally occur at the same altitudes as drones, are considered to be aircraft under this Regulation.
- Distance from persons, objects and protection zones
During the flight with a drone, it is necessary to maintain a horizontal distance from vehicles, roads, structures, and people – at least 50 m, except for the pilot or trained service personnel.
For recreational flying with drones from subcategory A1 (I will write about the individual categories below), it is forbidden to fly over crowds.
It is also prohibited to fly in protection zones and zones with fauna sensitive to air traffic noise, which are established mainly in national parks.
The main authority in the field of drone flying in Slovakia is the Civil Aviation Division of the Transportation Office (CAD) – Slovakia’s national aviation authority.
Full text of the decision of the Transport Authority determining the conditions of the flight by an aircraft capable of flying without a pilot
and declares a ban on the flight of specified categories of aircraft in the airspace of the Slovak Republic, you can find here (only in the Slovak language).
According to Slovak legislation, drones are divided into five categories according to their weight and power. I will describe the individual categories for recreational and commercial drones flying in the following sections.
Flying Drones for Hobby Users
Drones for recreational use in Slovakia are divided into three main categories according to MTOW (maximum take-off weight). The categories are:
Subcategory A1: Drones with take-off weight under 900 g
- Adherence to the general rules applies
- The obligation not to fly over gatherings of people
- In controlled airspace (CTR) without coordination with the control tower, the pilot may only fly up to a height of 30 m above the ground and further than 3.7 km from the aerodrome reference point (ARP)
- In the automatic “follow me” mode, it is necessary to observe a maximum height of 30 m above the ground to a horizontal distance of 30 m from the pilot.
Subcategory A2: Drones with take-off weight between 900 g and 4 kg
- All rules mentioned above for subcategory A1
- The need to maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters from non-participants.
- The need to fly in such a way that densely populated areas, gatherings of people in the open air, buildings, airport security zones, airspace protection zones, or protected areas are not flown.
Subcategory A3: Drones with take-off weight between 4 kg and 25 kg
- All rules mentioned above for subcategory A1 and A2
- In controlled airspace (CTR) without coordination with the control tower, it may fly up to a maximum height of 30 m above the ground and only further than 5.6 km from the aerodrome reference point (ARP).
If you follow the above rules for hobby drone flights, you do not need any special permit, pilot’s license, or insurance and you can fly without any worries.
Flying Drones for Commercial Users
Commercial user means a person who, for an activity performed during a flight or directly on a flight, carries out that activity for a fee or any economic benefit. All commercial users of drones in Slovakia must obtain a Permit to perform aerial work. This permit contains:
- Obtaining a drone permit (in Slovak: Povolenie na lietanie s bezpilotným lietadlom)
- Drone insurance against third parties
- Drone registration at the Transport Office of the Slovak Republic
- Development of an operation manual
- Keep a flight log
To obtain a license to fly a drone, it is necessary to pass a theoretical and practical exam at the Transport Authority.
To pass the theoretical exam, it is necessary to correctly answer at least 75% of the questions from each subject. The theoretical exam consists of:
- Aviation law and air traffic control procedures
- General knowledge of aircraft
- Aircraft flight performance and flight planning
- Operating procedures
- Basics of flight
In order to pass the practical test, it is necessary to convince the employee of the Transport Office that you are really able to use the airspace of the Slovak Republic safely and responsibly. The practical test consists of:
- Orientation in the airspace of the Slovak Republic
- Practical knowledge of site-specific flight rules using an ICAO aeronautical chart
- drone control during flight
According to the latest rules, it will no longer be officially necessary to carry a radio station for commercial flying in controlled airspace. Instead, the pilot or other service personnel will need to be reachable on 2 telephone numbers.
The procedure for scheduled commercial flying in controlled airspace will be as follows:
- Email request at least 24 hours before the scheduled flight
- Phone call before the flight confirming the agreed procedure
- Call during (notification of changes) and after the flight (notification of flight termination)
Airspace and maximum drone heights in Slovakia
For official and current information regarding the conditions of flying with drones in Slovakia, visit the official website with The Electronic VFR Manual (VFRM) issued by the Air Information Service of the Slovak Republic.
This manual contains not only information about Slovak airspace but also telephone numbers for non-managed airport operators and controlled airport dispatchers.
The territory of the Slovak Republic is divided into several airspaces, in which different conditions apply for flying drones. Below I will describe the individual airspaces and the conditions of flying with a drone in these areas.
Uncontrolled airspace – class G
In uncontrolled airspace, aircraft are not controlled by any dispatcher. Uncontrolled airspace is, simply put, everywhere outside the airspaces mentioned below.
In addition to the general rules of flying with a drone, it is necessary to respect only:
- the maximum flight altitude – 120 m above the highest obstacle in the horizontal circle of 30 m
- the maximum horizontal distance of the drone from the pilot – 1 km
Unmanaged Airport District – ATZ (Airfield Traffic Zone)
It is not necessary to comply with the maximum flight altitude specified for uncontrolled airspace in this area, but it is only possible to fly here on the basis of flight coordination with the airport operator, who may specify additional requirements.
In this area, it will be possible to fly with the drone under certain conditions up to a height of about 1000 meters.
Controlled airspace – CTR (Controlled Zone)
Controlled airspace (CTR) is considered to be the area near large international airports (Bratislava, Piešťany, Žilina, Sliač, Poprad, Košice and Prešov).
They differ from uncontrolled airspace in that the drones inside these areas follow the instructions of the flight dispatcher.
Restricted and activated airspace
This airspace group includes, for example, nuclear power plants, some factories, military shooting ranges, training areas and the like.
It is expressly forbidden to fly a drone in these airspaces.
Penalties for violation of the rules
Adherence to the above rules when flying with a drone in Slovakia is mandatory. Failure to comply with any of these rules may result in various penalties depending on the extent of the damage caused.
The Police Force of the Slovak Republic does not have the competence to impose a fine for the use of a drone. However, he can write a record with you, detain a drone and then submit this material to the Transport Authority, which will decide whether a misdemeanor or tort has been committed and determine the amount of the sanction.
Violation of general rules of flying with drones
In case of violation of the general rules of flying with drones, it is possible to commit an offense under the Civil Aviation Act. For committing an offense, the Transport Authority (in Slovak: Dopravný úrad) may impose a fine of up to € 300 (EUR) and confiscate the drone. This violation of the rules is classified as a misdemeanor.
Commercial flying without permission
In the case of commercial drone flying without a permit, it is a so-called other administrative offense. In this case, the Transport Authority may impose a fine of up to € 30,000 (EUR).
Prior to the imposition of a fine, proof shall be provided that the aerial work has been performed without a permit.
Causing damage to property or health
In the event of damage to health or property, it is a criminal offense. This criminal offense will then be investigated in accordance with the relevant laws of the Slovak Republic and conditional or unconditional sentences may be imposed.
If the pilot did not fly the drone in accordance with the rules in the event of damage to health or property, this is a major aggravating circumstance.
Threats to aircraft and airports
If the pilot flies with a drone in airspaces where it is not permitted or expressly prohibited, it may also be a criminal offense of damaging and endangering the operation of a public benefit facility.
Conditional or unconditional penalties may be imposed for this violation in accordance with the relevant laws of the Slovak Republic.
FAQ about Flying Drones in Slovakia
In the previous sections, I tried to bring you all the important information and obligations that must be observed when flying with a drone in Slovakia.
If you are still unclear about some of the details, here are some of the most frequently asked questions with answers regarding flying with a drone in Slovakia.
Can I bring my drone to Slovakia?
It is allowed to bring and fly a drone in Slovakia. However, it is important to follow the rules applicable to drone flying.
Are drones allowed in Slovakia?
Flying with a drone in Slovakia is allowed in compliance with applicable rules. According to the rules valid in Slovakia, it is not possible to use a drone to transport people or goods.
Are drones legal in Slovakia?
Flying in Slovakia is legal if you follow the valid rules. There are general rules for all types of drones and then special rules for each category of drones. The general rules are:
- Continuous eye contact with the drone
- The drone always yield the right of way
- Distance from persons, objects and protection zones
Where can I fly my drone in Slovakia?
In Slovakia, we distinguish four categories of airspace in which it is possible to fly (or it is forbidden to fly) on the basis of clearly defined conditions. In Slovakia, we distinguish the following airspaces:
- Uncontrolled airspace – class G
- Unmanaged Airport District – ATZ (Airfield Traffic Zone)
- Controlled airspace – CTR (Controlled Zone)
- Restricted and activated airspace
How to obtain my drone license in Slovakia?
To obtain a license for a drone in Slovakia, it is necessary to pass a theoretical and practical exam at the Transport Office of the Slovak Republic. A drone license is required for the commercial use of a drone in Slovakia.
Can I fly with a drone during the night?
At night, flying is only allowed for commercial purposes, recreational drone flying is not allowed. For commercial night flying, the drone must be adequately lit and this flight must be approved by the Transport Authority.
How much does it cost to use drones for commercial purposes?
In the first year, the amount for providing the necessary documents and possible completion of training is around € 1,800, and then every year the costs are around € 500.
I hope you found all the necessary information about flying drones in Slovakia in this post. However, it is always necessary to check the current conditions and rules in order to avoid unnecessary inconveniences or problems.
Slovakia is a beautiful country with many interesting places where you can enjoy flying with a drone and you will be able to take photos or film beautiful pictures.
I will be happy if you share your experience with flying a drone in Slovakia in the comments. Alternatively, do not hesitate to ask if any information is not clear to you. I will try to answer you in accordance with the current conditions and rules for flying with a drone in Slovakia.
You may also like to read:
If you are planning a trip to Slovakia, here are some of the things you should know about the country before you go there. Slovakia is a small country between the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary...
This article serves as kind of a guideline for people that are going to attend their first wedding in Slovakia and do not know how to dress properly. The wedding dress code in Slovakia is not very...