Surge in Drone Usage in the Czech Republic Prompts Regulatory Focus and Safety Concerns

The Czech Republic has witnessed a significant surge in drone usage, with the number of registered pilots and operators reaching over 50,000 and 47,896 respectively as of May 2021, including 3,000 businesses. This represents a substantial increase compared to the figures at the beginning of the previous year, which stood at approximately 38,000 pilots and 34,000 operators.

This upward trend in drone adoption is further supported by the experiences of sellers in the market. Alza.cz, a prominent retailer, reported a 25% increase in drone sales during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in the previous year. Moreover, the second quarter witnessed an even more substantial surge in customer interest, resulting in a year-on-year sales increase of approximately 40%.

However, due to the absence of individual drone registration under European regulations, it is challenging to determine the exact number of drones in operation. Instead, operators utilize an identification label, akin to a registration mark, to cover multiple drones they own. Experienced pilots often possess several drones rather than just one.

Drones have proven valuable in various sectors, assisting firefighters, surveyors, security personnel, and others. Nevertheless, the surge in drone usage has necessitated the establishment of regulations. In 2020, a requirement was introduced mandating the registration of all drones weighing more than 250 grams, including lighter drones equipped with cameras. The registration process can now be completed via Portaldopravy.cz, and pilots must pass an online test by correctly answering 30 out of 40 questions. For basic amateur drones, a free trial allows unlimited attempts. However, special tests and practical exams are mandatory for heavier drones and professional use.

It is worth noting that the enforcement of registration requirements has been relatively lenient, with only a few dozen offenders receiving fines each year, ranging up to tens of thousands of crowns, for flying unregistered drones or violating traffic regulations.

However, more severe offenses can lead to criminal proceedings for general endangerment. Instances such as amateur photographers’ drones flying in the flight paths of firefighting helicopters or interfering with rescue services are considered particularly dangerous and can result in legal consequences.

The growing popularity of drones has also prompted the development of new models with display controllers, eliminating the need for a separate mobile phone connection. This feature appeals to customers seeking easier control without the hassle of additional devices.

As the phenomenon of drones continues to rise, it is crucial for operators to adhere to regulations and prioritize safety during operation. By following the established guidelines, drone enthusiasts can ensure a responsible and secure environment for themselves and others.

Article by Prague Forum

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