I am thinking about starting to fly drones in Ireland. What are the rules that are going to apply, and where can I find the latest information about the laws that govern the hobby in Ireland.
The use of drones in Ireland is covered by the regulations in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order, 2015 (SI 563 of 2015). There are also Aeronautical Notices that apply to the use of drones only. These notices can be checked on the website of the Irish Aviation Authority.
Broadly, the regulations require that any drone flown in Ireland may not be operated:
- if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
- over an assembly of 12 persons or more
- farther than 300m from the person operating the drone
- within 30m of any person, vessel or structure not under the control of the person operating the drone
- within 5km of an aerodrome
- in a "negligent or reckless manner" so as to "endanger life or property of others"
- more than 400ft (120m) above ground level
- over urban areas
- in civil or military-controlled airspace
- in restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc.)
- unless the person operating the drone has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.
Note that the situation in Ireland will change later this year (2020), when the new European Regulations on the rules and procedures for the operation of drones (or "Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)”) come into force.
The situation is explained in Aeronatical Notice U.06, with the catchy title: The pending introduction of (EU) Regulations in the area of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Ireland, available to read or download from the website of the Irish Aviation Authority.
The most up-to-date information can always be obtained from the website of the Irish Aviation Authority.