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In the future, I plan to fly a small (<250 gram) in France, are there any special licenses/permits that have to be obtained? What are the laws on this? Where are the no-fly zones located?

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You mention that this will be in the future. While the other answer covers the current situation well, you should note that the rules are due to be harmonised across Europe and this might introduce some changes.

https://dronerules.eu/en/recreational/eu_regulations_updates

The following image summarises the requirements for the new regulations: enter image description here

This table refers to the new classes, which are intended to make it easier for a consumer to tell what they can do with their drone (new drones should show their class on their packaging) [source]:

Class C0 - (can be flown in all subcategories) Very small unmanned aircraft, including toys, that:

  • are less than 250g maximum take-off mass
  • have a maximum speed of 19m/s (approx. 42.5 mph)
  • are unable to be flown more than 120m (400ft) from the controlling device

Class C1 – (can be flown in all subcategories) Unmanned aircraft that:

  • are either:
    • less than 900g maximum take-off mass, or;
    • are made and perform in a way that if they collide with a human head, the energy transmitted will be less than 80 Joules
  • have a maximum speed of 19m/s (approx. 42.5 mph)
  • designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people

The standards also cover other aspects such as noise limits, height limits and requirements for remote identification and geoawareness systems.

Class C2 – (can be flown in subcategory A2 [close to people] or A3 [far from people]) Unmanned aircraft that:

  • are less than 4kg maximum take-off mass
  • designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people
  • are equipped with a low-speed mode’ which limits the maximum speed to 3m/s(approx. 6.7 mph) when selected by the remote pilot

The standards also cover other aspects such as noise limits (but different from C1), height limits and requirements for remote identification and geoawareness systems, plus additional requirements if it is to be used during tethered flight.

Class C3 – (flown in subcategory A3 [far from people] only) Unmanned aircraft that possess automatic control modes (such as found in typical multicopter ‘drones’) which:

  • are less than 25kg maximum take-off mass

The standards also cover other aspects covering height limits and requirements for remote identification and geoawareness systems. There are also additional requirements if it is to be used during tethered flight, but there is no specified noise limit (because the aircraft is intended to be flown ‘far from people’).

Class C4 – (flown in subcategory A3 [far from people] only) Unmanned aircraft that do not possess any automation, other than for basic flight stabilisation (and so are more representative of a ‘traditional’ model aircraft) which:

  • Are less than 25kg maximum take-off mass
| improve this answer | |
  • Can you please clarify in your answer what the C0-C4 classes are? – FlashCactus Apr 17 at 13:47
  • Class info added. – Kralc Apr 17 at 14:32
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The French GOV website provides this information (translated into English):

Are there any special licenses/permits that have to be obtained?

Aircraft weighing less than 800g

Training is not compulsory, but remains highly recommended.

What are the laws on this?

These guidelines must be followed:

Protection of other airspace users

To limit the risk of collision, the regulations applicable to fixed leisure uses:

  • A maximum flight height of 150m for remotely piloted aircraft
  • Reduced maximum heights near airports or in low-lying areas of military aircraft
  • No-fly zones for remotely piloted aircraft (immediate proximity to airports, military aircraft manoeuvring areas, etc.)
  • A ban on flying at night

Protection of property and people on the ground

To limit the risk of damage to property and people on the ground, the regulations applicable to leisure use:

  • Prohibited hovering over people
  • Prohibited thefts in built-up areas above public space
  • Fixed areas prohibited from overflight by remotely piloted aircraft, in order to protect sensitive sites (sensitive industrial sites, hospitals, prisons, nature reserves etc.)

Where are the no-fly zones located?

The no-fly zones in mainland France are listed on this map.

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