FAQ
 

FAQ RPAS

1. Abbreviations and terms are confusing: What is an RPAS, RPA, UA, UAV, UAS, Drone, Model aircraft?

UA (Unmanned Aircraft): an aircraft which is intended to operate with no pilot on board.

UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System): an aircraft and its associated elements which are operated with no pilot on board.

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle): obsolete abbreviation/term; the abbreviation UA is used instead.

RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft): an unmanned aircraft which is piloted from a remote pilot station and used for aerial work.

RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System): a remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), required command and control links and any other components as specified in the type design.

Drone: Common term describing any type of unmanned vehicle on land, water or in the air.

Model aircraft: an aircraft which is intended to operate with no pilot on board and used for recreational or sports purposes, excluding toy aircraft designed or intended for use, whether or not exclusively, in play by children under 14 years of age.

 

2. Is my aircraft a remotely piloted aircraft or a model aircraft?

The purpose of use is the determining factor. Consequently, the very same aircraft can be either depending on the particular flight.

A model aircraft is an aircraft which is intended to operate with no pilot on board and used for recreational or sports purposes.

A remotely piloted aircraft is an unmanned aircraft which is piloted from a remote pilot station and used for aerial work. Aerial work is any other flight than a flight done for recreational or sporting purpose.

It is important to remember that flying a model aircraft is also aviation. For example, Section 159 of the Finnish Aviation Act (864/2014) applies to model aircraft. According to the provision, any activities that pose a hazard to flight safety or impede the flow of air traffic are forbidden. This means, for instance, that anyone operating a model aircraft must stay well away from manned aircraft.

A model aircraft used for recreational or sports purposes can be equipped with a camera. Even if the activity is not performed for aerial work purposes, it should be noted that any provisions relating to domestic peace, privacy, copyright, endangering general safety etc. are applicable to this activity.

 

3. Is there an age limit for flying a remotely piloted or model aircraft?

The person that is responsible for the flight of a remotely piloted aircraft must be at least 18 years of age. The remote pilot can be younger so long as the responsible person is nearby. There is no age limit for flying a model aircraft.

 

4. What is VLOS, EVLOS and BVLOS?

VLOS (Visual line-of-sight): flying a remotely piloted or model aircraft in such a manner that the flyer can maintain visual contact to the aircraft without technical aids.

EVLOS (Extended Visual Line- of- Sight): flying in visual line of sight using a spotter. The pilot and spotter must have reliable means of communication when normal discussion is not possible.

BVLOS (Beyond visual line-of-sight): flying a remotely piloted or model aircraft in such a manner that the flyer maintains contact to the aircraft using technical aids.

 

5. Can anyone buy a remotely piloted or model aircraft?

Yes. Remotely piloted aircraft and model aircraft can be bought freely.

 

6. What is the pilot's responsibility for damages?

Remotely piloted aircraft: strict liability, based on Section 136 of the Aviation Act (864/2014).

Model aircraft: the liability is determined by the Tort Liability Act (412/1974)

 

7. Does the operator of a remotely piloted aircraft need an operator certificate?

No. There is no requirement for an operator certificate in Trafi's Regulation OPS M1-32 on remotely piloted aircraft and model aircraft.

 

8. Is it permitted to fly a remotely piloted or model aircraft at any time of the day or night?

Yes, provided that the prevailing weather and lighting conditions make it possible to detect any air traffic and obstacles so that the need to avoid them can be assessed relying on direct visual contact without technical aids.

 

9. Is it allowed to fly a remotely piloted or model aircraft above crowds?

It is allowed to fly a remotely piloted aircraft above crowds of people as long as certain conditions are fulfilled. These include the weight of the aircraft, height, safety evaluation etc. Flying model aircraft above crowds is not permitted.

 

10. Can anyone interfere if I fly a remotely piloted or model aircraft over my own property?

Yes, if the activity endangers the safety or privacy of uninvolved people on your property.

 

11. A remotely piloted or model aircraft causes disturbance near my house. How can I interfere?

You can report the disturbance to Trafi using form LU3627 (available only in Finnish or Swedish): https://www.trafi.fi/ilmailu/ymparistoasiat/ilmailusta_aiheutunut_hairio
If the disturbance is serious and contacting the disturber does not help, you can always contact the police.

 

12. How does the aviation authority oversee the use of remotely piloted and model aircraft?

Accepting operator notifications, giving permits, handling air space reservations, following occurrence reporting and taking actions on the basis of these information sources are all part of aviation authority’s overseeing function.

 

13. Is it allowed to take photos using remotely piloted or model aircraft? Can the photos be published?

In many cases photographing is allowed. There are, however, regulatory limitations that must be observed. For example, Section 14 of the Territorial Surveillance Act (755/2000) prohibits the photography of certain areas and military objects, unless specifically permitted by the Defence Command. The protection of privacy also prevents photographing in certain circumstances.
It is most often allowed to publish the photos. However, legal restrictions must be observed.

 

14. Is it allowed to fly a remotely piloted or model aircraft indoors, for example in sports arenas?

The aviation authority does not regulate flying indoors. The owner of the building decides what can be done inside their building.

 

15. How close to an airport may I fly with a remotely piloted or model aircraft?

Regulation OPS M1-32 requires an advance agreement with air traffic control or flight information service whenever a flight is planned into the control zone or flight information zone of an aerodrome, closer than five kilometers from the runway and/or at a height of more than 50 metres.
More detailed contact information and airport maps can be found in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) Finland, published by Finavia: https://ais.fi/ais/eaip/en/index.htm
The contact details are contained in AIP section AD 2 separately for each aerodrome, more precisely in paragraph AD 2.2 subparagraph 6. There you can find for example the phone numbers of air traffic control (ATC) and flight information service (AFIS) units. The maps can be found in paragraph AD 2.24. From the various options available, it is recommended to choose the VAC map where the airspace borders are shown.

 

16. I am planning to order a remotely piloted or model aircraft from abroad. Do national regulations limit the dimensions or weight of the aircraft?

There are no limits on the dimensions of remotely piloted or model aircraft. Regulation OPS M1-32 sets a basic limit of 25 kilos for remotely piloted aircraft. The regulation also contains other weight limitations for remotely piloted and model aircraft, such as a maximum weight of seven kilos for a remotely piloted aircraft to be flown over densely populated areas or crowds of people.

 

17. Is flying above densely populated areas allowed?

Flying of remotely piloted and model aircraft above densely populated areas is allowed according to the weight limits and other conditions specified in regulation OPS M1-32.

 

18. Do the prohibited and restricted areas of airspace apply to remotely piloted and model aircraft?

Airspace prohibitions and restrictions apply to remotely piloted and model aircraft, as they are considered to be a part of the aviation system. See more detailed information about prohibited areas here

Restricted areas are mostly military garrisons or practice areas. A map showing these areas can be found in:
https://ais.fi/ais/eaip/en/index.htm, ENR 6, P- and R-areas. A more detailed description of these areas as well as instructions on how to apply for permission to fly in them can be found in ENR 5.

 

19. What national regulations apply to remotely piloted and model aircraft?

The Finnish Aviation Act (864/2014) and Trafi's Regulation OPS M1-32 on remotely piloted aircraft and model aircraft. It must also be noted that there is other legislation that has an effect on the flying of remotely piloted and model aircraft, for example in the following areas: protection of privacy, imperilment, copyright, territorial surveillance, inviolability of domicile etc.

 

20. What international rules concern remotely piloted aircraft?

If the aircraft weighs more than 150 kilograms, EU Regulation No. 216/2008 and the relevant implementing rules apply to it. In this case, the aircraft is required to be type certificated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), for example.
Pan-European regulations on the use of remotely piloted aircraft do not exist yet. The European Union is currently preparing such regulations as well as relevant amendments to the Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA).
International regulatory work is going on in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the European Union (EU) and in the international JARUS working group (Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems). Finland is actively participating in the international drafting. More on this topic here.

 

21. Manned aircraft are flying in the vicinity. Who is required to give way?

Remotely piloted and model aircraft in visual line-of-sight always give way to other aircraft.

 

22. Must remotely piloted aircraft be registered?

No, there is no such register maintained by the aviation authority. However, some basic information of the operators is required to be reported to Trafi in order to allow the aviation authority to gain knowledge on the extent of unmanned aircraft activity in Finland.

 

23. How high may I fly with a remotely piloted or model aircraft?

As a general rule, at a height below 150 metres without a separate airspace reservation or exemption. It is, however, important to remember that there are limitations on flying near an airport. Flying remotely piloted and model aircraft is prohibited within 5 kilometers of a runway. Outside that but within an airport control zone or flight information zone, there is a maximum altitude limitation of 50 metres.

 

24. Am I allowed to use an autopilot?

Yes, provided that you can take control of the aircraft at any time to avoid other aircraft, people etc.

 

25. What insurances are required for a remotely piloted aircraft?

A remotely piloted aircraft has to be insured according to Regulation (EC) No 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators.
A private insurance, typically used in model aircraft activities, is not sufficient for an RPAS activity.

 

26. How far can I fly with a remotely piloted or model aircraft?

An exact distance has not been determined, but the aircraft must be controllable at all times. Depending on the prevailing weather and lighting conditions, the aircraft must be flown sufficiently close to the remote pilot, RPA observer or model aircraft pilot so that other traffic and obstacles can be detected and the need for any avoiding action determined reliably by direct visual contact without any visual aids.
Typically, the distance should be around 500 meters at maximum, taking into account the size of the aircraft. Small aircraft need to be flown closer, whereas larger aircraft may possibly be flown further, provided that the conditions listed above are met.
The use of an observer in model aircraft flying is only allowed with an exemption granted for First Person View (FPV) competition activities.

 

27. In which cases do I need to reserve airspace for flying a remotely piloted aircraft? What am I allowed to do in such an airspace?

Any operations conducted beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) require a specifically reserved (segregated) airspace. 
In accordance with section 9 of the Aviation Act, an unmanned aircraft may deviate from rules of the air in an area where other aviation is prohibited or which has been segregated to be used for unmanned aircraft operations only. These activities must be planned and performed so that flight safety is not compromised.

 

28. Where can I find instructions for reserving airspace?

Instructions for reserving airspace can be found on Trafi’s website: https://www.trafi.fi/en/aviation/airspace.

 

29. How can I fly my FPV aircraft?

First Person View (FPV) flying requires a spotter of nearby airspace with a visual line of sight to the aircraft next to the pilot, so he/she can be warned of any approaching aircraft, people or obstacles. A friend standing next to you is enough to meet this requirement. Using this method you can fly with the same limitations as for other VLOS operations, meaning that the aircraft must always be controllable and it must be flown close enough to the spotter with regard to the prevailing weather and lighting conditions so that any necessary evasive maneuvers can be made. Also to be noted is the maximum allowed flying altitude of 150m.

 

 

 
 

 

Page updated 02/03/2017