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Open Category - Civil Drones

The ‘open’ category section is the main reference for the majority of leisure drone activities and low-risk commercial activities. 
As a drone operator, remember to check if you need to register yourself. See the registration FAQ.

The ‘open’ category is in turn subdivided in three sub-categories – A1, A2, A3 -- which may be summarised as follows:

  • A1: fly over people but not over assemblies of people
  • A2: fly close to people
  • A3: fly far from people

Each subcategory comes with its own set of requirements. Therefore, in the ‘open’ category, it is important to identify the subcategory of operation your activities will fall under, to determine which rules apply to you, and the type of training the remote pilot needs to undertake. See the FaQ ‘Which training I need to fly my drone in the open category’

Start by identifying the type of drone you own. A transitional period applies until 31 December 2022. Until that date, you do not need a special drone to operate in the ‘open’ category provided it weighs less than 25 kg.

Depending on the actual weight of the drone, different requirements apply according to Table 1 below: 

Drones1

Table 1 — ‘Open’ category, applicable until 31 December 2022

* A State may lower the remote pilot minimum age to 12. In that case, the lowered age limit will apply only in that State.

Drones with a class identification label (i.e. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4) are expected to become commercially available by 2022. You can find additional information on drones with a class identification label in the Drones Information Notices webpage.

Provided you have a drone with a C0 to C4 class identification label, you may operate it as described in the accordion menu below. Be aware that ‘privately built’ means that you built the drone for your own personal use; it does not refer to UASs assembled from sets of parts placed on the market as a single, ready-to-assemble kit.

Drone Classes C0 - C4, privately built and drones purchased before 01/01/2023

  • Privately built and drones pruchased before 01/01/2023   (under 250 gramm)
    Subcategory A1 (can also fly in subcategory A3)
    Operational restrictions
    • May fly over uninvolved people (should be avoided when possible)
    • No flight over assemblies of people
    Drone operator registration No, unless camera / sensor on board and a drone is not a toy
    Remote pilot competence No training required
    Remote pilot minimum age No minimum age
  • C0   (under 250 gramm)
    Subcategory A1 (can also fly in subcategory A3)
    Operational restrictions
    • May fly over uninvolved people (should be avoided when possible)
    • No flight over assemblies of people
    Drone operator registration No, unless camera / sensor on board and a drone is not a toy
    Remote pilot competence Read carefully the user manual
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*, no minimum age if drone is a toy
  • C1   (under 900 gramm)
    Subcategory A1 (can also fly in subcategory A3)
    Operational restrictions
    • No flight expected over uninvolved people (if it happens, overflight should be minimised)
    • No flight over assemblies of people
    Drone operator registration Yes
    Remote pilot competence
    • Read carefully the user manual
    • Obtain a ‘Proof of completion for online training’ for A1/A3 ‘open’ subcategory by:
      • Completing the online training 
      • Passing the online theoretical exam
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*
  • C2   (under 4 kg)
    Subcategory A2 (can also fly in subcategory A3)
    Operational restrictions
    • No flight over uninvolved people
    • Keep a horizontal distance of 30 m from uninvolved people
      (can be reduced to 5 m if the low-speed function is activated)
    Drone operator registration Yes
    Remote pilot competence
    • Read carefully the user manual
    • Obtain a ’Remote pilot certificate of competency’ for A2 ‘open’ subcategory by:
      • Having a ‘Proof of completion for online training’ for A1/A3 ‘open’ subcategory 
      • Conducting and declare a practical self- training
      • Passing an additional theoretical exam at the NAA or proctored online
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*
  • C3   (under 25 kg)
    Subcategory A3
    Operational restrictions
    • Do not fly near people
    • Fly outside urban areas (150 m distance)
    Drone operator registration Yes
    Remote pilot competence
    • Read carefully the user manual
    • Obtain a ‘Proof of completion for online training’ for A1/A3 ‘open’ subcategory by:
      • Completing the online training 
      • Passing the online theoretical exam
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*
  • C4   (under 25 kg)
    Subcategory A3
    Operational restrictions
    • May fly over uninvolved people (should be avoided when possible)
    • Fly outside urban areas (150 m distance)
    Drone operator registration Yes
    Remote pilot competence
    • Read carefully the user manual
    • Obtain a ‘Proof of completion for online training’ for A1/A3 ‘open’ subcategory by:
      • Completing the online training 
      • Passing the online theoretical exam
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*
  • Privately built and drones purchased before 01/01/2023   (under 25 kg)
    Subcategory A13
    Operational restrictions
    • May fly over uninvolved people (should be avoided when possible)
    • Fly outside urban areas (150 m distance)
    Drone operator registration Yes
    Remote pilot competence
    • Read carefully the user manual
    • Obtain a ‘Proof of completion for online training’ for A1/A3 ‘open’ subcategory by:
      • Completing the online training 
      • Passing the online theoretical exam
    Remote pilot minimum age 16*

‘Open’ category using drones with a class identification label

* A State may lower the remote pilot minimum age to 12. In that case, the lowered age limit will apply only in that State.

After 1 January 2023, if you have purchased a drone before that date without a class identification label, you will still be able to fly it in subcategory A1 if it weighs up to 250g or in subcategory A3 if it weighs is up to 25kg.

You are invited to consult the Provisions applicable to both ‘open’ and ‘specific’ category FAQs  as well as Understanding the ‘open’ category FAQs for more details. These FAQs take you through all the steps you need to take to be fully compliant and help you identify the regulations that are applicable to the drone operations you intend to conduct.

For all our amateur drone pilots, Paul and his new drone Donnie will help you see how easy it is to become a safe and responsible drone pilot.