Switzerland delays adoption of European drone rules, seeking exclusion of model aircraft

By Jenny Beechener

Switzerland’s Council of States has delayed adoption of new European legislation governing drone operations which came into force on 1 January 2021 following a parliamentary motion to exclude traditional model aircraft from the new rules. Drone and model aircraft therefore remain subject to Swiss legislation currently in force, says the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA).

Talks have begun between FOCA and the European Commission and these are expected to continue for several months while the Commission considers Switzerland’s proposals for its hobbyists. Currently European Regulation (EU) 2019/945 depends on Regulation (EU) 2019/947 which among other things governs the operation of model aircraft.

Meanwhile the FOCA website is due feature a new section on European drone regulation which is expected to be posted in the coming weeks, the organisation’s press office told Unmanned Airspace. This includes an official UAS.gate registration platform that allows all pilots to register, followed by online training and an online test in which pilots familiarise themselves with the new rules. In Swiss legislation, the completion of courses and exams was previously based on the pilots’ voluntary participation. The new section is first and foremost a source of information on the law which will come into force once the European regulation has been adopted. The portal also features the existing Swiss regulations, enabling pilots to choose between the European and Swiss sections.

What is uncertain at this stage is whether other European states will recognise Swiss drone registration, pilot training and exams on a voluntary basis, even though these comply with the requirements set by European law.

Information for Swiss drone operators published by FOCA:


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(Image: Shutterstock)

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