Present situation - Group 4 - 2018/2019, Semester B, Quartile 3

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Present situation

In this section, we consider the present situation regarding the specific problem description. We discuss the current rules and regulations, current solutions, and the limitations of the current rules, regulations, and limitations.

Rules and regulations

Different countries have different rules and regulations when it comes to UAVs. Furthermore, distinctions are made between recreational use and commercial use. The United States of America (U.S.A.), for example, considers different rules when it comes to recreational use and commercial use. The requirements when flying a drone under commercial use are much stricter than flying a drone under recreational use. If one wants to fly under commercial use, one has to pass an FAA test and receive Part 107[1] certification. Furthermore, a drone needs to be registered so that the owner of the drone can be traced back in case this is needed.

A few guidelines to follow when flying a drone in the U.S.A are as follows[2]:

  • Fly at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your drone within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence
  • Be aware of airspace requirements

There exist applications, available for smartphones and on the web, that display where a drone is allowed to fly. One example is AirMap that shows users that they should be at least five miles away from an airport to operate the drone without notifying the control tower of the airport. As you might have realised by now, the rules and regulations regarding drones are still a work in progress. As the rules and regulations per country differ significantly, we will solely focus on the rules and regulations considered in the Netherlands. This is only natural as the project is carried out in the Netherlands as well. The Netherlands considers different rules and regulations based on the type of usage of the drone. The main categories specified by the Dutch Government consider recreational use and commercial use.

Recreational use

When one flies a drone for personal purposes, one must abide by the Model Aeroplanes Regulations[3]. This means that one is not permitted to fly over groups of people or connected buildings. Furthermore, the drone needs to be in sight at all times. As soon as one sees an aeroplane or helicopter approaching, one must land as quickly as possible.

For reasons of safety, it is not allowed to fly a drone just anywhere. As mentioned earlier, it is not allowed to fly over groups of people. The Dutch Government has also set down requirements regarding the conditions under which it is allowed to fly[4]. This includes but is not limited to:

  • You must be able to see the drone at all times.
  • You may not fly in the dark.
  • You must always give priority to all other aircraft, such as aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders, et cetera. This means that you must land immediately once you see an aircraft approaching.

An overview map for the recreational use of drones has been depicted in Figure 1. This image accurately presents where one is allowed to fly their drone for recreational use and where it is forbidden to fly a drone. An interesting observation that can be done from this image is that in many significantly sized cities, it is forbidden to fly a drone at all. Furthermore, for uncontrolled airports, flights within a distance of 3 kilometres are permitted, provided that there is no objection from the airport operator. Additionally, there may always be temporary bans and restricted areas for a limited time due to, for example, events.

Missing image
Figure 1: Overview map for recreational flying with drones.

There also exists a maximum weight for private drones of 25 kilograms. Making films and photographs with a drone may only be done for personal use. Here, the privacy right of others must be kept in mind. It is, for example, not allowed to secretly film someone. If pictures are being taken of a specific person or that person is being recorded, the person concerned must be informed. This leads us to the following point. The owner of a drone is responsible for any damage caused by their drone. This means that the owner of a drone is liable for any damages or injuries caused by their drone. Therefore, it is vital for the owner of a drone to verify whether their liability insurance covers any damage to drone incidents. In some cases, it is possible for the damage to run up to a substantial sum up to thousands of euros. We can further extend this by considering fines that can be given to drone pilots. Failing to abide by the rules mentioned above can result in either a warning or a fine. It is also possible for the controlled drone to be confiscated. The amount of the fine or the punishment given depends a lot on the type of violation caused by the drone usage. It will be considered if the drone was used in a professional setting or for hobby purposes. Furthermore, it will be considered if people were endangered or not.

The Dutch Government provides a summary in a visual form of what guidelines to follow during recreational usage of drones[5]. This visual can be observed in Figure 2. This figure accurately presents the most important rules to follow when using drones in a recreational setting. Note that the text on this figure is in Dutch.

Missing image
Figure 2: A summary considering recreational usage of drones in Dutch.

Commercial use

On the other hand, we can also consider the commercial use of drones. Examples include but are not limited to people that use the drone to earn money or people that use drones for business purposes. For these commercial users, different rules and regulations apply than for recreational users. A commercial user needs, for example, a license. The additional rules and regulations for commercial users must minimise the risk of accidents, both in the air and on the ground.

Examples of commercial uses include:

  • Video production companies that make aerial shots.
  • Making promotional films for a company.
  • Using a drone for a business, such as companies that want to view hard-to-reach places for certain reasons.

For using a drone in a commercial setting, the owner of this drone needs an RPAS Operator Certificate (ROC). One can be requested from the `Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport' (ILT). If the drone is being piloted by someone, then this person also needs a pilot's license (vliegbrevet in Dutch). Furthermore, a certificate of airworthiness and proof of enrollment in the aviation register is needed[6]. There exist two sorts of ROC licenses, namely a regular ROC and a ROC Light. If a drone is heavier than 4 kilograms, then a ROC is needed. Otherwise, a ROC-light will be fine in most cases. Additionally, it is not allowed to fly as high with a ROC Light compared to a regular ROC.

Other differences are displayed in Table 2 below. Here, one can more clearly observe the differences between a ROC and ROC Light. We will not display all difference here as we save this for the next section where we also compare the commercial use to the recreational use.

Table 2: Differences ROC and ROC-light
Rules license Drone heavier than 4 kilograms Drone lighter than 4 kilograms
Type of license ROC ROC-light
Maximal weight of drone allowed 150 kg 40 kg
Maximal flight height 120 metres 50 metres
Maximal distance between drone and owner 500 metres 100 metres
Minimal distance towards crowds 150 metres 50 metres
Minimal distance to buildings 150 metres 50 metres
Minimal distance to highways 150 metres 150 metres

If one does not abide by the rules, it is possible to obtain a fine and for the drone to be confiscated. People who do wrong more often can also get a prison sentence.


In this section, we provide a summary when considering recreational, commercial (ROC), and commercial (ROC Light) usage of drones. These rules and guidelines are from the most up-to-date version provided by the Dutch Government[7] (20-09-2016).

Table 3: Differences ROC and ROC Light
Reacreational flying Commercial flying (ROC) Commercial flying (ROC Light)
Use of a drone Hobbyism, recreational use Commercial use Commercial use
Weight drone (total starting mass) Max. 25 kg Max. 150 kg Max. 4 kg
Priority for other air traffic Gives priority to all other air traffic and lands immediately when other traffic is approaching. Gives priority to all other air traffic and lands immediately when other traffic is approaching. Gives priority to all other air traffic and lands immediately when other traffic is approaching.
Visual Flight Rules Always in sight of the pilot Always in sight of the pilot Always in sight of the pilot
Distance to pilot or observer N/A Max. 500 metres Max. 100 metres
Daylight Only daylight Only daylight Only daylight
Height (from ground/water) Max. 120 metres. Some exceptions (KNVvL or FLRVC members): max. 300 metres Max. 120 meters (exemption possible in ROC) Max. 50 metres
Distance criteria: Exemption possible Exemption impossible
Distance to crowds Not above Min. 150 metres Min. 50 metres
Distance to buildings Not above Min. 150 metres Min. 50 metres
Distance to works of art, port and industrial areas Not above Min. 50 metres Min. 50 metres
Distance to railway lines Not above Min. 50 metres Min. 50 metres
Distance to public roads and motorways Not above with the exception of roads in 30 km zones within the built-up area and roads in 60 km areas outside the built-up area Min. 50 metres Min. 50 metres
Distance to vessels and vehicles N/A Min. 150 metres Min. 50 metres
Where are you allowed to fly? Not in controlled airspace Not in controlled airspace Not in controlled airspace
Not within 3 km of uncontrolled airports, unless there is no objection from the operator N/A Not within 3 km of uncontrolled airports, unless there is no objection from the operator
Not in military and civilian low-flying areas, unless with an observer N/A Not in military and civilian low-flying areas, unless with an observer
Proof of Authority for the pilot / driver ('brevet') N/A Certificate of Competence (RPA-L)(medical examination compulsory, at least LAP-L) Exemption Certificate of Competence Well: pilot can demonstrate sufficient competence, e.g. with a KEI diploma or a recognized pilot's license(this requirement does not apply if the drone weighs less than 1 kg) no medical examination
Certificate of Airworthiness for the drone N/A Certificate of Airworthiness (technical inspection required) Exemption Certificate of Airworthiness (no technical inspection)
Registration in aircraft register N/A Proof of registration Proof of registration
Minimum age N/A 18 years old 18 years old
Operational manual N/A Handbook necessary N/A
Insurance Not required WA insurance required WA insurance required
Notification obligation N/A 24 hours before flight with Minister and mayor NOTAM N/A
Fines N/A +/- 10 000 euro +/- 400 euro



  • Limitations regarding the jurisdiction

As is often the case, the laws we have are not able to keep up with the tremendous advancements of technology [8]. This has happened many times already in history, for example with the rise of copyright laws at the end of the 19th century. Due to the huge advancements in copying and spreading literature, originals authors lost lots of money to people selling the author's work without proper permission. This was facillitated due to the rise in printing technologies. Under the pressure of this rising technology, the copyright laws had been created, albeit years and years later after the problem had occured [9]. This example is just one of the many examples where the laws come much too late, after the technology has been fully developed.

The same problem is currently happening to drone regulations. Over the last decade, the technological advancements in drones have been enormous and as a consequence, the accessibility of drones for normal people has increased as well. Nowadays, anyone can buy a drone without any license and fly the drone with a camera to any house in his or her neighborhood for under 100€ [10]. This seems like an obvious

  • Actual solutions not good enough / violations of laws

Back to the root page.


  1. U.S.A. Government
  2. Jim Fisher, Drone Regulations: What You Need to Know, Aug. 23 (2018),2817,2491507,00.asp
  3. Regeling modelvliegen
  4. Dutch Government, Rules for recreational use of drones
  5. Veilig vliegen met drones
  6. Welke vergunning heb ik nodig voor mijn drone?
  7. Regels voor drones: verschillen tussen recreatief en beroepsmatig gebruik
  8. "MIT Technology Review: Laws and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace with Technology", Written by V. Wadhwa, April 2014, Retrieved on 12-02-2019
  9. "Does Technology Require New Law?", Written by D. Friedman, January 2001, Retrieved on 12-02-2019
  10. [ "MediaMarkt Drone: DJI Ryze Tello Powered by DJI", Retriebed on 12-02-2019.
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