Drones are taking off in a big way and are now being used in a variety of industries from aerial surveying to search and rescue operations.

The rules and regulations for governing drones are still evolving.  At the moment drones are classified as “unmanned aircraft” and the IAA are keen to point out that they are a type of aircraft and not a toy.

If you use a drone weighing less than 25kg and you are using it for commercial purposes then you must apply for permissions from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and you will need to have the appropriate IAA approved commercial drone insurance in place.

What is a drone licence and do I need one?

There is no such thing as a drone licence like there is a driving licence.  However if you are flying for any commercial gain you will need to obtain a Specific Operating Permission (SOP) from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).  The IAA regulates and issues all permissions in the Republic of Ireland.

To apply for a SOP you will need to complete a course with a qualified Registered Training Facility (RTF) or have an appropriate qualification to apply for one.

If you are flying as a hobby or for fun on a recreational basis there is no current regulations about getting permissions.

What are commercial purposes?

If you gain a “valuable consideration” from flying your UAV you will need permission from the IAA for aerial work. A valuable consideration can be monetary or an exchange of services.

What this means is if someone gives you money or buys you anything for doing the work then it is considered commercial.

There are some instances where you would not have to permissions and full details can be seen on the IAA website.

What are the regulations?

These will be updated soon

How do you become a qualified drone pilot?

You will need to pass a Drone Training Course with a IAA approved training school (Registered Training Facility or RTF as they are known).

The course will educate you in air law and safe operations of your UAV, build an operations manual and at the end you will undertake a flight test.

You will require insurance in place to take the flight test and flight test insurance is available with premiums starting at €30.50.

Once you have passed your flight test you can apply for to the IAA for an SOP.

You will require insurance which meets the requirements specified in EU Regulation (EC) 785/2004.


Other useful links to the IAA website


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