Dutch transport regulator grants permission for first drone flights over densely populated areas

Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) has issued an operating permit for the first time for drone flights over densely populated areas, according to a report by Drone Watch. The permit requires the drone to be equipped with a certified emergency parachute. The permit application was supervised by Drone Flight Company.

The ILT has so far only issued operating permits under the condition that the territory flown over is under the control of the operator. In other words: inaccessible to non-involved persons.

As a result of Drone Flight Company actions, for the first time a Dutch operator is in possession of a permit whereby the territory does not have to be cordoned off, provided that an emergency parachute has been mounted on the drone being flown. The parachute serves as a mitigating measure to enable compliance with the SAIL level, reducing SORA level from 3 to 2.

In the event of a malfunction that causes the drone to fall out of the sky, the parachute will automatically eject. As a result, the drone descends much more slowly, which also reduces the risk of injury. This means that drone operations with somewhat heavier aircraft above busy cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, The Hague or Utrecht will finally be possible in the Specific category.

Operators who want to fly a drone above urban areas can also choose to work with a drone <250 grams or a drone with a C1 label, according to the conditions of the Open subcategory A1. Only then one must still try to prevent uninvolved persons from being flown over, or at least to keep these moments as short as possible, says Drone Watch.

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