Drones: The Rising Phenomenon

Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the Czech Republic, with more than 50,000 pilots and 47,896 drone operators registered as of May 2021, including 3,000 businesses. For comparison, at the beginning of last year, only about 38,000 pilots and 34,000 operators were registered.

The rising trend in drone usage is confirmed by sellers as well. Alza.cz, for example, saw a 25% increase in drone sales in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in the previous year. The second quarter saw an even greater customer interest, resulting in a year-on-year increase in sales of approximately 40%.

However, the exact number of drones cannot be determined as European regulations do not register each drone individually. Instead, operators can use an identification label, similar to a registration mark, to label multiple owned drones. Experienced pilots usually do not have only one but several drones.

Unmanned devices are helping firefighters, surveyors, and guardians, among others. However, with the surge in drone usage came the necessity for regulations. In 2020, all drones heavier than 250 grams were required to be registered, including lighter drones equipped with cameras. The registration process can now be done through Portaldopravy.cz, and pilots must pass an online test with 30 correct answers out of 40 questions. The free trial has no limit on attempts for basic amateur drones. Nevertheless, special tests and practical exams are required for heavier drones and professional use.

Notably, the registration obligation has not been wholly enforced, with only a few dozen offenders per year receiving fines of up to tens of thousands of crowns for flying an unregistered drone or violating traffic regulations.

However, such offenses can lead to criminal proceedings for general endangerment in the most challenging cases, such as an amateur photographer’s drone flying in the paths of firefighting helicopters or rescue services.

The growing popularity of drones has also resulted in the creation of new models with a display controller, eliminating the need to connect a mobile phone. This can be an advantage for customers who prefer easier control without worrying about connecting an additional device.

Drones are a rising phenomenon, and with their ever-increasing popularity, it is essential to follow regulations and ensure safety when operating them.