Leisure drones, being the latest fad and costing between 30 and 400 euros, will probably be amongst the best-sellers destined for the Christmas stocking.
Christophe Laffitte, Specialist Salesperson :
"Basically, it’s above all the pleasure which comes from radio controlling machines, just like we did with cars, but with the added capability of filming something."
In France, are these drones subject to any specific rules and regulations ? We went to find out; 80% of drones sold in toy stores are designed for interior use, therefore we were only concerned with the other 20%.
These drones aimed at the public at large, generally weighing less than two kilos (4.5 lbs.), are therefore, at first glance, destined for non-commercial leisure activity only. Consequently requiring no French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) declaration, nor unmanned pilot training.
However, can you use them anywhere and under any conditions ?
Kévin Hottinger, Specialist Salesperson :
"For these, you don’t need a pilot’s license or special authorization to fly it. They are for private use, for which there are no particular official rules."
But be careful, the legislation in this domain is not as permissive as all that, and although the sales staff are not obliged to inform their clientele of the fact, they do exist. When you fly a drone for leisure outdoors, in fact you have to comply with strict rules of use. You cannot fly your drone above 150 metres (500 feet), in built-up areas, within close proximity of sensitive sites, people or animals, and the pilot must respect people’s privacy.
In order to overcome this problem of lack of information the French Aeromodelling Federation, the French Federation of Civilian Drones and the DGCA, are scheduled to meet in early December, with the aim of setting up a simple form of illustrated instructions informing the amateur leisure UAV pilot of the regulations and precautions for the safety of property and people in the vicinity.