Drone Piloting Takes Flight in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has seen a significant increase in registered drone pilots, with the count reaching 58,535 by the end of last year, marking a rise of over 25 percent. The figure was confirmed by Vítězslav Hezký, spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority (ÚCL), which oversees the registration of drone pilots and operators.

In 2020, the number of drone operators amounted to 54,787, an approximately 24 percent increase from the previous year. An operator could be a company with multiple pilots, hence the slight difference in numbers. “Sales of drones across all categories have been consistently growing, with interest from both individual users and companies increasing annually,” confirmed Jaroslav Řešátko from DJI Telink, a company that, alongside selling drones, also provides professional training and drone modifications.

The most popular brand among amateur pilots is the Chinese DJI, particularly the Mini and Mavic models. Sellers also expect a positive response to the new transport drone, which can find applications in various sectors, including the energy industry. These drones can carry special measuring instruments and can support rescue operations.

The Civil Aviation Authority has categorized registered drones into three categories since last year. The open category allows for the operation of drones without prior permission from the authority, but pilots must complete online training and pass a subsequent test to receive certification.

Pilots are prohibited from flying drones in densely populated areas. Flying over people is not allowed in open spaces, such as city parks, meadows, or fields. Fishing drones over roads, railways, bike paths, sidewalks, and other infrastructural elements is also prohibited. To fly over these structures, telecommunication lines, military buildings, or bodies of water, pilots require permission from the ÚCL.

In light of these developments, the latest amendment to the Civil Aviation Law, which tightens rules for unmanned flights, is based on regulations from the European Union. All drones weighing over 250 grams, lighter devices equipped with a camera, or fast-flying drones not considered toys must be registered within EU countries. Their operation is prohibited without registration.