Under the German Air Traffic Act, it is up to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to adopt Regulations on drone and model aircraft operations, subject to the approval of the German Bundesrat (the house representing the German Länder).
On 18. January 2017, the Ministry forwarded a Regulation on the operations of model aircraft and drones to the Bundesrat. According to the information provided by the Bundesrat, the Regulation will be addressed in five different committees (each of which may propose changes) and shall be discussed in the plenary on 10. March 2017. The plenary may decide to approve the Regulation as it is or propose changes.
It is then up to the Ministry
- to adopt the Regulation (with the changes proposed by the Bundesrat, if any) or
- to withdraw the Regulation (even if the Bundesrat did not propose any changes).
According to the information provided by the Ministry, it cannot yet be fully assessed as to whether and when the Regulation will be adopted.
The following key elements shall be implemented through the Regulation:
Labeling requirement: Model aircrafts as well as UAV above a starting mass of 250 grams shall be labeled. The label must contain name and address, in order to identify the owner in case of claims for damages.
Permission of operation: Operations of model aircrafts and UAV above a starting mass of five kilograms require a permit by the competent authorities of the respective federal states. Furthermore, a drone-pilot license will be required.
Evidence of piloting skills: In order to obtain a drone-pilot license, operators, who need to be at least 16 years of age, must pass an examination. Optional online examination services are planned. The license will be valid for up to ten years.
Prohibitions: BVLOS flights of model aircrafts and UAV with a starting mass below five kilograms will be prohibited. Operations above sensitive areas, such as nature reserves or gatherings of people, will also be subject to restrictions.
Further information (in German) on the objectives of the Regulation can be found in the document submitted to the Bundesrat.
In addition, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure released a flyer on the latest drone rules Regulation.