Drones in Serbia

Unmanned aircrafts have been reserved for military use for years and not available to the general public. However, in recent years, technology has made its way into the commercial and other markets, making it available to the general public. Every day, new models are emerging on the market, with new technologies and with new capabilities. The development of this technology is so rapid that countries around the world have found themselves unprepared. The legal regulation of this area, given the rapid grow and increase in popularity and availability of new technologies, has led to a lack of legal regulation in the world or insufficient and incomplete legal regulation in the world.

Drones in European Union

On 11 June 2019, the European Commission adopted two regulations: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, which aims to regulate the production, distribution and use of drones and unmanned aircrafts it the European Union. The implementation of the regulations will commence on 1 July 2020 so that EU members have time to adapt. Prior to the adoption of these application, each member state was responsible for regulating the use of light drones weighing up to 150 kg, while only aircraft weighing more than 150 kg were subject to the competence of the European Aviation Safety Agency. Unmanned aircrafts witch weighing up to 150 kg are now under the responsibility of the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Regulatory framework for drones in Serbia 

The aviation regulations for the use of unmanned aircrafts in Serbia are governed by the unmanned aviation regulations ( Regulations), which shall enter into force on 15 February 2020. The Regulations discusses the conditions for the safe use of unmanned aircraft, their classification, recording, maintenance, as well as the conditions that must be met by persons operating unmanned aircrafts.

According to the maximum take-off mass, unmanned aircraft are classified as follows:

  • Category 1- includes unmanned aircrafts with a maximum take-off mass of less then 0.9 kg;
  • Category 2-  includes unmanned aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of 0,9 to 4 kg (not including 4 kg);
  • Category 3- includes unmanned aircrafts with a maximum take-off mass of 4 kg to 25 kg (not including 25 kg);
  • Category 4 – includes unmanned aircraft whose maximum take-off mass is 25 kg to 150 kg;

The maximum permitted flight altitude for an unmanned aircraft is 100m above the ground. For flights above 100m, permission from the Civil Aviation Directorate is required. Aircraft records maintained by the Civil Aviation Directorate are entered in all category 3 and 4 aircraft, while category 1 and 2 drones are recorded if used for: flying at altitudes greater than 100m, flying near an airport, flying at a horizontal distance greater than 500m from unmanned aircraft operator, flying above people, flying near people, flying in a restricted area, flying at night, ejecting liquids or objects or carrying external cargo that is not an element of the structure of the unmanned aircraft.

As mandatory the following documentation for aircraft record:

  • Proof of payment of customs duty (if the proof of payment of customs duty is unavailable the applicant may submit a document proving ownership) or a certified written statement by the owner if the aircraft is manufactured in Serbia
  • Manufacturer’s instructions for using the unmanned aircraft in Serbian or English
  • Liability insurance contract for damage caused by the use of an unmanned aircraft to third parties
  • For unmanned aircrafts  belonging to category 4, the applicant is required to submit technical documentation, which can determine the ability to fly safely, as well as to enable a demonstration flight in the presence of an authorized official of the Directorate.

Regarding persons who can operate unmanned aircrafts, the Regulations prescribe who can operate unmanned aircrafts and under what conditions.

Anyone can buy an unmanned aircraft and they are sold freely, however, the disposal of it is the responsibility of the Directorate of Civil Aviation.

An unmanned aircraft operator must be an adult who is medically fit and has passed a proficiency test.

With regard to knowledge assessment, the applicant submits a written request for a knowledge test to the Directorate of Civil Aviation and within 30 days of receiving the request the Directorate issues a decision approving the knowledge test. The assessment is carried out no later than six months from the date of submission of the request. It is possible to take the test in Serbian and English and the candidate must answer 75% of the questions correctly in order to pass the test. There is one exception to this rule, as regards the control of airplanes of a mass not exceeding 0.9 kg and belonging to category 1, provided that they do not fly more than 100m in height. In this situation under age person is allowed to operate Unmanned aircraft under the supervision of an adult.

When operating an unmanned aircraft, an unmanned aircraft operator must have:

  • certificate of passing the knowledge test
  • the approval of the Directorate, if it was obliged to obtain it
  • manufacturer’s instructions for use of the unmanned aircraft in printed or electronic format
  • a document proving health

In terms of maintenance, the owner or user of the unmanned aircraft is obliged to ensure that the unmanned aircraft is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
For flights requiring a permit from the Civil Aviation Directorate, an application for approval must be submitted no later than 15 days before the scheduled flight. The request may relate to one flight or series of flights.