Latest Drone Laws in Finland

Drones form a significant part of Finland’s modern life, especially in aerial photography and mapping. They are also useful in search and rescue missions in unreachable and dangerous remote areas.

The latest drone laws in Finland are the road map to safe and legal drone flights within the country’s borders. While most cover drone flying guidelines in the European Union, a few only apply to Finland.

The current drone operations laws guide you on registration, flight maximum takeoff mass, altitude, range, no-fly zones, and more. You must adhere to the rules to ensure safety and avoid colliding with the authority.

This article is a definitive guide covering all you must know about lawfully flying your aircraft in Finland.

Let’s dive in.

What Are the Latest Drone Laws in Finland?

According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (TRAFI), here are the Finnish drone regulations:

General Laws

Whether you’re a commercial or recreational drone flier, ensure that you follow the following rules during your flights. Also, you must register your drone if you don’t fall under the following exemptions:

  • Your drone weighs less than 250g and doesn’t have a camera or personal data-recording device.

  • You can control your model aircraft with a maximum takeoff of 1kg or less.

  • It meets Directive 2009/48/EC, classifying your drone as a toy.
  • The maximum flight altitude should be 150 meters (certified category), 120 meters (specific category), and 70 meters (open category).

  • You must maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) with your drone throughout the flight.

    If operating in First-Person View (FPV), apply to fly beyond VLOS, but have a visual observer work with you.

  • Keep off residential or crowded airspaces. To ensure safety, maintain a 1km perimeter protection zone around these areas.

  • Maintain a safe distance of 500m from private buildings, structures, vehicles, individuals, and animals.

  • To ensure safety, airspaces near airports and heliports should be avoided by maintaining a minimum distance of 8km and 3km, respectively.

  • Don’t fly your drone near a military installation, archaeological site, public utility facility, or other private or public property.

  • You may not fly your drone within 1km of the airport runway without permission from the air traffic control tower.

  • Flying a drone between 1 and 3 km from an airport runway is legal up to the surrounding obstacle’s height. If the obstacle is close, fly 15m above it with the owner’s permission.

  • Control zone flight further than 3 km from the airport runways is legal, with a maximum flight altitude of 50m.

  • Never fly your drone during night hours.

  • Your drone should weigh 25kg or below. 

Commercial Laws

You must get a permit to operate a drone commercially in Finland. Obtain authorization from the Ministry of Transport and Communication before flying your device.

Once you receive a permit, follow the drone regulations below for safe flights:

  • Just like Ethiopia drone laws you need to be 18 years or above.
  • Have liability insurance covering you and your drone.
  • Attach an identification sticker with your contacts.
  • Maintain a logbook for flight recording purposes.

Although the drone laws in Albania are not exactly established yet, you can follow the basic rules listed below to be on the safer side: 

  • You can only fly your UAV during daylight hours, and not at night.
     

  • Fly your drone within your Line of Sight (LoS) at all times.

  • Go through your aircraft’s user manual before taking it out for the aerial adventure.

  • Conduct a pre- and post-flight inspection of your drone.

  • Don’t fly over 140 metres (or 400 feet) from the ground. 

  • Avoid flying within 50 metres (or 55 yards) of or over people, property, or vehicles.

  • Stay away from flying your drone near airports, military and government facilities, and densely populated areas.

  • A valid remote pilot license/permit is mandatory for deploying your drone for commercial purposes.

Recreational Laws

The laws require you to read self-study materials and pass the relevant online examination if your drone is more than 250 grams. Also, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Ensure manual override feature availability on the switchboard for functionality and safety purposes.

  • Maintain a clear line of sight during your flights for optimal safety.

  • Keep off city limits, clouds, and restricted sites for safety reasons.

  • Adhere to the ‘open’ category and its subcategory rules.

  • Procure liability insurance for adequate protection.

  • Exclusively use your drone for non-commercial tasks.

  • Fly away from urban areas and industrial sites.

  • Strictly follow the Aviation Act 864 of 2014.

  • Don’t exceed the 25kg drone weight cap.

  • Only conduct daytime flights.

Model Aircraft Laws

Below are the laws around modern aircraft drones:

  • Keep off clouds, industries, urban areas, and other prohibited sites.

  • Have a manual override available on the switchboard.

  • Adhere to the Aviation Act 864 of 2014 regulations.

  • Obtain third-party liability insurance coverage.

  • Only operate your drone during the day.

  • Don’t use it for commercial purposes.

  • Fly within the visual line of sight.

Nation-Specified Laws

In addition to the European Union laws, each country has regulations that are only applicable within its borders. Finland has the following:

  • Recommended (not compulsory) drone insurance for drones under 20kgs.
  • Minimum age of 16 years for remote drone pilots.
  • Obtain a no-fly zones map.

What Are the Categories of Drone Flights in Finland?

Finland has three drone flight categories under EU regulations. They include the following:

Open Category

The low-risk category requires no prior authorization or operator’s declaration. However, you must operate within the following guidelines:

  • Operate a drone in class identification label 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. Alternatively, have a drone whose purchase is before January 1, 2023, with no class.

  • Don’t fly over people in a drone without a class identification label or a weight of less than 250 g (0.55 lbs).

  • Avoid flying a drone with dangerous items or dropping any materials.

  • Fly within the visual line of sight at 120m maximum altitude.

  • Don’t exceed the maximum takeoff of 25 kg (55 lbs).

  • Maintain a safe distance from people during flights.

  • Keep your drone operations below 120m (400 feet).

The ‘open’ category is subdivided into three subcategories, including the following:

  • A1: Flies over people but not in overcrowded places.
  • A2: Permitted to fly over at a safe distance from people.
  • A3: Allowed to fly far from people and settlements.

Specific Category

Flights in this category require operation authorization from governing bodies due to their moderate-level risks.

The permission depends on your mitigation measures identified during the operational risk assessment, except where your declaration is sufficient.

‘Specific’ category drones weigh 25-150kg and only serve commercial purposes. Before taking off, obtain the necessary permit through EASA.

There are two types of authorization: PDRA01 Operational Authorization and OSC-based Operational Authorisation.

Certified Category

This category requires drone certification and a licensed remote pilot. It involves high-risk operations, follows specific safety regulations, and weighs over 150kg.

You can use drones in this category for commercial purposes but must obtain an official permit from EASA.

Here is the form for drone registration.

Operations in this category involve the following:

  • Inability to mitigate risks according to SORA ( Specific Operations Risk Assessment) risk assessment.

  • Flying in overcrowded places with a large aircraft system.

  • Transit of dangerous goods.

  • Transport of people.

What Do I Risk for Flying a Drone Illegally in Finland?

You risk being fined for flying a drone illegally in Finland. The fine’s amount and scope depend on your infraction’s nature and severity.

Also, the judge evaluates if you intentionally conducted the illegal flight and if the flight was commercial-oriented.

If you’re new to drone flying, familiarize yourself with no-fly zones before starting your flights.

Is Drone allowed in Lapland?

Yes, drones are allowed in Lapland. Lapland is one of the largest ares in Finland and one of the areas that attracts tourists.

If you are planning to film or conduct other operations in Finland, make sure to check the EU and local drone laws.

Also check the weather since it gets very cold and some drones can’t handle such temperatures.

Conclusion

Our list of the latest drone laws in Finland is exhaustive enough to help you fly your gadget safely and legally. The country’s drone regulations fall under the general, commercial, and recreational classes.

Although Finland’s drone operations are under the EU drone laws, the country has nation-specified rules. They only regulate drone operations within Finland.

Additionally, there are three drone flight categories: Open, specific, and certified. Each category and subcategory (for the open category) has particular requirements.

Take time to define your category so that you can prepare accordingly. Only then will you be able to fly your drone without getting into trouble!

Author
Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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