Please note that we cannot answer all questions as some of them are outside our area of responsibility. However, we can help you to find the right contacts for these questions.
What are geographical areas?
A geographical area, also known as UAS area (UAS = unmanned aircraft system), is a defined portion of the airspace in which special rules for drone flights apply. It includes airports, aerodromes and their control zones, if any. The purpose of these areas is to protect air traffic. Geographical areas also include residential properties, industrial facilities, nature reserves and hospitals, among others. In these areas, the operation of drones is restricted or subject to approval.
How do I obtain a permission to conduct a drone flight in the geographical area of an airport, aerodrome or a control zone?
In order to be allowed to fly in the vicinity of an airport, you need a permission issued by the competent aeronautical authority (Landesluftfahrtbehörde) of the respective Federal State.
At aerodromes, both aerodrome control (Flugplatzkontrolle) and the competent aeronautical authority of the respective Federal State (Landesluftfahrtbehörde) can issue the permission.
In control zones, you require an individual air traffic control clearance from the competent air traffic control unit (ATC tower) in addition to the permission from the competent aeronautical authority of the respective Federal State (Landesluftfahrtbehörde).
You can obtain further information on drone flight permissions in geographical areas from the aeronautical authorities of the Federal States (Landesluftfahrtbehörden).
An overview of the competent aeronautical authorities of the Federal States can be found here:
Where can I obtain an air traffic control clearance?
You can obtain an air traffic control clearance from the competent air traffic control unit. There are several providers of aerodrome control services in Germany. Below, you can see which provider is responsible for air traffic control clearances at the respective airport or aerodrome:
Airports under the control of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH
DFS provides aerodrome control services at the following designated international airports in Germany:
- Berlin Brandenburg
- Erfurt Weimar
- Frankfurt Main
- Cologne Bonn
- Leipzig Halle
- Münster Osnabrück
You can find further information on how to apply on the page Applications and approvals.
Aerodromes under the control of the DFS subsidiary DAS
The DFS subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH (DAS) provides aerodrome control services at some German regional airports. These include:
- Karlsruhe Baden-Baden
- Magdeburg Cochstedt
- Paderborn Lippstadt
- Braunschweig Wolfsburg
Information on the procedures regarding drones applicable at these aerodromes can be found on the DAS website on drones.
German aerodromes under the control of Austrian air traffic control
The Austrian air navigation service provider Austro Control GmbH provides aerodrome control services at some German regional airports. These include the following regional airports:
- Hof Plauen
- Kassel Calden
- Frankfurt Hahn
For further information, please contact Austro Control directly.
Other airports and aerodromes in control zones
There are other airports and aerodromes with their own control zones, such as Mannheim Airport, or military aerodromes. You need to request an individual air traffic control clearance for the entire control zone. For these, no procedures have been laid down. Some aerodromes of the US armed forces offer application procedures via e-mail. We recommend that you contact the aerodrome control unit in charge directly via telephone or e-mail to obtain information on the procedures that apply there.
Are there other protected airspaces?
In addition to geographical areas, there are other protected airspaces with special rules and regulations.
- Aerodrome traffic zones (ATZ): Entry is only permitted for the purpose of landing at the respective aerodrome.
- Radio mandatory zones (RMZ): Radio contact and air-ground voice communication watch is mandatory.
- Transponder mandatory zones (TMZ): Carriage of a transponder is mandatory.
An explicit clearance from air traffic control is required to enter these airspaces. Enquiries on whether, and under what conditions, individual exemptions or letters of agreements apply must be addressed to the air traffic control unit in charge.
Please check out if there are protected airspaces in your area prior to your flight. You can find an overview on the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation (dipul).
What is a restricted flight area (ED-R)?
A restricted area, or ED-R for short, is a defined airspace where flights are subject to temporary or permanent restrictions. Its purpose is, among other things, to protect air traffic or objects on the ground. Permanent restricted areas are active permanently or at specific times, while temporary restricted areas are established for special events. Flying into an active restricted area without a prior transit permission is not allowed – and constitutes a criminal offence.
Please check out if there are restricted areas in your area prior to your flight. You can find an overview on the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation | dipul.
The application procedure for transit permissions for restricted areas can be found here (only available in German).
How do I find out whether a restricted area is active?
The times of activity of permanent restricted areas are listed in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) Germany; those of temporary restricted areas in the respective German-language publication Nachrichten für Luftfahrer (NfL). Changes to these times will be announced via NOTAM (Notice to Airmen).
An overview of all active NOTAMs can be found:
Where do I report an unauthorised drone flight?
You can report drone sightings in areas where drone flights are not allowed to the local police station or the municipal office for public order (Ordnungsamt). Drone sightings near airports or in control zones should also be reported to the respective airport security centre.
How are geographical areas defined? Can geographical areas change?
The geographical areas are determined by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) on the basis of Section 21h of the German Aviation Regulation (Luftverkehrs-Ordnung, LuftVO).
The geographical areas are defined in the German Aviation Regulation (Luftverkehrs-Ordnung, LuftVO). The provisions contained in the LuftVO are updated at regular intervals, which means that geographical areas can change.
Please check out the geographical areas in the area where you want to fly prior to every flight. You can find an overview on the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation (dipul).
Why do some geographical areas differ between the Droniq app and dipul?
The Map Tool of the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation (dipul) only shows UAS geo-zones in accordance with Section 21h of the German Aviation Regulation (Luftverkehrs-Ordnung, LuftVO) and restricted areas. The Droniq app displays additional information, such as ATZ, TMZ and RMZ.
I have questions about the Droniq app or dipul (Map Tool)