The restrictions or geofencing set by the manufacturers of drones do not automatically protect the remote pilot from airspace infringements. Therefore it is essential for the pilot to check the active prohibited, danger and restricted areas before every operation. The official information on valid restrictions and prohibitions can be found on national regulations, decisions and via Aeronautical Information Service.
Prohibited and restricted areas
All aviation activities, besides State aviation, are forbidden in prohibited areas (P area) and restrictive areas (R area). For special reasons, Traficom may grant permission for flying in a prohibited area. For flying in a restricted area, a permission from The Finnish Defence Forces is required. Information on permanent prohibited and restrictive areas can be found on the Government Decree on areas where aviation is restricted.
The drone pilot also has to take into account the temporary airspace restrictions that are established continuously. These areas may be established for ensuring safety during public events or military training activities. Official information on temporary airspace restrictions are published in the form of AIP Supplement in Aeronautical Information Service’s website ais.fi (External link). In addition to the official information, the temporary restrictions can be seen on Aviamaps website (External link).
Restrictive UAS geographical zones
Traficom can establish UAS geographical zones to prohibit or restrict operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). For the safety of manned aviation, restrictive UAS geographical zones have been established around airports, airfields and heliports, where flying a UAS is only allowed by complying with the requirements and conditions of the UAS geographical zone in question. If there are two overlapping restrictive UAS geographical zones, both restrictions and conditions must be complied with.
From December 31st 2020, the restrictive UAS geographical zones have replaced the safety distances set out in the national regulation OPS M1-32 around airports, airfields and heliports. More details on UAS geographical zones can be found here .
Contact information on Air Traffic Control units can be found on Aeronautical Information Publication (External link), part AD2. Information about uncontrolled airfields can be found on website Lentopaikat.fi (External link). Information on heliports can be found on Aeronautical Information Publication (External link), part AD3.
Flying near the eastern border
The Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) requires a drone pilot to submit a flight plan no later than 1 hour prior to planned operation. The ADIZ area is visible on Aeronautical charts. Instructions for submitting a flight plan are published here (External link). Flying in the restricted area EFR100 that follows the eastern state border, always requires a special permit from The Finnish Defence Forces.
Taking photographs and inspecting military zones is prohibited
Taking photographs and inspecting military zones from the air requires authorisation. Permits are issued by the Defence Command. In Helsinki, around Suomenlinna and Kaartinkortteli for example, taking photos of the buildings of THE Finnish Defence Forces is prohibited. In addition, flying inside permanent or temporary restricted areas (R areas) always requires a special permit from The Finnish Defence Forces. Instructions for aerial photographers can be found here (External link).