News & Events > Drones cause record number of air traffic disruptions in Germany

Drones cause record number of air traffic disruptions in Germany

  • May 10, 2019
  • Categories: Counter Drone News

German Air Traffic Control (DFS) bosses reported that most of the incidents occurred at Germany’s biggest airport, Frankfurt, where 31 incidents were logged.

That was followed by Berlin-Tegel (17), Munich (14) and Hamburg (12). In 2017, a total of 88 cases were reported, while in 2016 there were 64 incidents.


Is flying a drone legal?

Flying a drone is legal in Germany but strict rules must be followed. Drone flights over areas such as take-off and landing runways at airports are prohibited.

Drones are also not allowed to be flown over crowds, hospitals, prisons, government buildings, federal highways and railways. Drone operators must also keep their device within sight during the flight and not fly higher than 100 metres. There are exceptions at model airfields.

Control zones around German airports where drones cannot be flown can be viewed on the maps here.

The devices pose a major security risk. If they collide with an aircraft, they can damage its hull or engine. The main problem for air traffic control is that threats are not visible on the radar, DFS spokeswoman Ute Otterbein told the Hessenschau.

The figures are therefore based on information from pilots who report a drone sighting to the air traffic controllers.

Otterbein said there had been no major incidents involving drones in Frankfurt. However, last summer take-offs and landings were blocked for several minutes following the sighting of a drone. The reaction to drone sightings is decided on a case by case basis, depending on the perceived risk.


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