New regulation on remotely piloted aircrafts

On December 30th, just one day after being published in the “Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE)”, the new Royal Decree 1036/2017 dated December 15th (Real Decreto 1036/2017), by which the civil use of remotely piloted aircrafts is regulated, came into force. This Decree puts an end to the temporary regime introduced by Law 18/2014, dated October 15th, on the approval of urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency.

The abovementioned Decree applies to all those remotely piloted aircrafts (the so-called drones) with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of 150 kilograms as well as all those excluded from the scope of application of the European Regulation 216/2008 dated February 20th (for instance, amateur-built drones for leisure purposes as well as all those drones employed to carry out activities related to customs surveillance, search and rescue, coast-guard services and the like).

In any event, the Decree shall not apply when the flight takes place in an indoor area or when the drones are exclusively employed for air shows or recreational/sport activities. Nor does the Decree apply to all those drones which are designed to be used as a toy.

Finally, it must be pointed out that the Decree does not consider transport as a possible use for the remotely piloted aircrafts due to the fact that, according to the statement of reasons of the Decree, safety is not duly guaranteed for the time being. Thus, it will be necessary to wait for further regulatory development which will establish the use of this kind of aircraft for transport of goods and/or passengers.