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Switzerland plans to launch drone register in 2020

The Local Switzerland
The Local Switzerland - [email protected]
Switzerland plans to launch drone register in 2020
Drones for private use are increasingly popular but can also cause problems for civil air traffic. Photo: Peter Linehan

Swiss aviation authorities are set to toughen up rules for private drone use by requiring pilots to register their devices as early as summer next year.

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The changes come in the wake of new European Union regulations designed to boost safety given the soaring popularity of private drones.

Under the planned new rules for Switzerland, all drones weighing 250 grams or more – in other words, the vast majority – will have to be registered, a spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Aviation Office (FOCA), told weekly newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

The registration process will be online and the launch is expected in summer 2020, according to the agency.

At present, the use of drones under 30kg does not require a permit from FOCA as long as pilots maintain eye contact with the device.

However, Switzerland does already have special rules in place for the use of drones near crowds of people and within five kilometres of airports and heliports (so-called ‘control zones’).

Boosting safety

The planned new rules in Switzerland come as incidents of drones causing problems for air traffic become increasingly frequent.

In November last year, a drone came within 20 metres of crashing into a passenger plane near Zurich's Kloten airport in late September in what safety authorities have called a "serious incident".

In December, hundreds of flights from the UK's Gatwick Aiport were cancelled after drones were spotted flying near the facility. British authorities were unable to identify who had been operating the devices.

For official information on drone rules in Switzerland, see the FOCA website here.

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