Are you flying a drone? Note the changes at the turn of the year
There will be changes in flying a drone at the start of 2024, when the transition period of the drone regulation will end. The changes apply to nearly all pilots. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has drawn up a test that allows you to find out preliminarily where and on what conditions you can fly a drone you have already bought or intend to buy after the turn of the year.
The drones are flown in different categories. They are most commonly flown in the open category; as its name indicates, it is open for everyone and does not require a paid operating permit, for example. The open category is divided into three subcategories: A1, A2 and A3. Each subcategory has its own rules and restrictions on flying.
As of the start of 2024, new drones placed on the market must be equipped with a marking of the C classification so that they can be used in the open category. However, the regulation also makes it possible to continue using drones that are already in use or have been placed on the market.
“If a drone is already in use, you can still fly it, but in certain cases you should take account of the changes in the permitted operating environment, meaning that in the future, you can only fly a drone without a C marking that weighs 250 g or more in the A3 subcategory. This means, among other things, that it needs to be flown at a distance of at least 150 metres from residential, business, industrial and recreational areas and that you need to complete an online examination,” says Senior Inspector Mikko Liukkonen.
Products that are sold at the store have also already been placed on the market. In fact, placing a product on the market means making it available on the market for the first time.
“It may be difficult for consumers to confirm when the actual placing on the market happens. For example, it is not possible that a drone manufactured in 2024 would have been placed on the market in 2023. Nevertheless, the responsibility in the matter lies on the seller, meaning that the potential uses of the drone must be made clear to the consumer,” specifies.
There will not be any changes in registering as an operator at the turn of the year. A user must register as an operator if the drone weighs 250 g or more or if it is equipped with a camera or another sensor capable of recording personal data, unless it is a toy drone.
Seven C classifications for drones
At the moment, there are seven different C classifications for drones:
- The C0 and C1 classifications are intended for flying in the open subcategory A1.
- The C2 classification is intended for flying in the open subcategory A2.
- The C2, C3 and C4 classifications are intended for flying in the open subcategory A3.
- The C5 and C6 classifications are intended for operations that require an operating permit and are subject to a fee.
The C1 classification already makes it possible to fly a drone weighing 900 g in the subcategory A1; in addition to registering as an operator, the pilot is required to have a mandatory A1/A3 qualification that can be completed as an online theoretical examination. In fact, more than 25,000 Finns have already completed the examination.
Do the test to find out where you can fly!
Traficom has drawn up a test that allows you to find out preliminarily where and on what conditions you can fly a drone you have already bought or intend to buy after the turn of the year.
“You should still always check and make sure you know the detailed rules by visiting the droneinfo.fi website,” Liukkonen emphasises.
You can find the test on the droneinfo.fi website (External link).
Flying in the open category after 1 January 2024
- a C marking is mandatory for new drones placed on the market
- the use of drones that are already in use or have been placed on the market in subcategory A1 is more restricted
- flying drones that weigh 250 g or more requires completing the A1/A3 online theoretical examination
- only category C2 drones can be flown in subcategory A2
Register as an operator
- if the drone weighs 250 g or more
- if the drone is equipped with a camera or another sensor capable of recording personal data, unless it is a toy drone.