A drone flies in the nature

Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation

Legal basis

Conditions for flying into geographical zones

In principle, unmanned aircraft or drones are free to use the airspace. However, this only applies as long as the use of airspace is not subject to additional conditions under the Civil Aviation Act (LuftVG) or any other regulation.

Section 21h of the German Rules of the Air Regulations (LuftVO) (German only) lists geographical zones in which operations are only possible under certain conditions. The following list provides an overview of these geographical zones and indicates the conditions under which operations in these zones are possible in the ‘open’ and ‘specific’ categories.

To the extent possible, the geographical zones described here can be viewed using the provided Map Tool.

Geospatial reference data can be accessed via the Web Map Service (WMS), instructions are provided via dipul.

Copyright information/information on the origin of the geographical zones can be found here (German only).


Details on the geographical zones 

  • Aerodromes (sect. 21h(3) no. 1 of the LuftVO)

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 1,500 metres from the boundaries of aerodromes that are not airports

    Conditions for operation:
    Operations in the ‘specific’ category or with consent from the aviation supervision office, aerodrome flight information service or operator at the aerodrome

  • Airports (sect. 21h(3) no. 2 of the LuftVO)

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 1,000 metres from the boundaries of airports and within a lateral distance of less than 1,000 metres from all runway centrelines at airports both in the direction of arrival and departure extended by 5 kilometres;

    Conditions for operation:
    Operations in the ‘specific’ category

  • Industry and energy supply as well as special facilities and authorities (sect. 21h(3) no. 3 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 100 metres from the boundaries of industrial plants, prisons, secure psychiatric units, military installations and organizations, central energy generation and distribution plants as well as over facilities that are used for activities subject to authorization of protection level 4 within the meaning of the Biological Agents Ordinance

    Conditions for operation:
    Explicit consent from competent body or operator of the facility

  • Other facilities and authorities (sect. 21h(3) no. 4 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 100 meters from property that is the seat of constitutional bodies of the Federal Government and the federal states or top-level and higher-level Federal Government and federal state authorities or diplomatic missions or consular offices and international organizations under international law as well as property of the police and other security authorities

    Conditions for operation:
    Explicit consent from competent body or operator of the facility

  • Rail, ship and road transport (sect. 21h(3) no. 5 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 100 metres from federal trunk roads, federal waterways and railway installations

    Conditions for operation:

    • Operations in the ‘specific’ category and particular risks of flying over federal trunk roads or railway installations have been sufficiently taken into account in the risk assessment
      or
    • Explicit consent from competent body or operator of the facility
      or
    • Height above ground of the aircraft at all times less than lateral distance from infrastructure and lateral distance from infrastructure at all times greater than 10 metres
      or
    • Aircraft, when flying over federal waterways, is operated at least 100 metres above ground or water, uses the shortest route possible and does not overfly ships and shipping facilities, in particular locks, weirs, ship lifts and berths
  • Nature conservation areas (sect. 21h(3) no. 6 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    over nature conservation areas within the meaning of section 23(1) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, over national parks within the meaning of section 24 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act and over areas within the meaning of section 7(1) nos. (6) and (7) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act

    Conditions for operation:
    Explicit consent from competent nature conservation authority, operation of unmanned aircraft in those areas regulated otherwise in accordance with federal state law, or, except for national parks,

    • where the UAS is not operated for sport or recreational purposes
      and
    • operations take place at an altitude of more than 100 metres
      and
    • the conservation objective is known to the remote pilot and is explicitly taken into consideration
      and
    • the operational purpose can only be achieved by overflying the protected area.
  • Residential property (sect. 21h(3) no. 7 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over residential property

    Conditions for operation:

    • Explicit consent from the owner or other authorized user whose rights are affected by the operation over the residential property
      or
    • take-off mass of the unmanned aircraft is 0.25 kilograms or less and equipment of unmanned aircraft has no functions for optical or acoustic recording and transmission and no functions for recording and transmitting radio signals from third parties
      or
    • operations take place at an altitude of at least 100 metres; and
    1. the use of airspace over the residential property concerned is necessary to fulfil a legitimate operational purpose, public land or property other than residential property cannot be used for the overflight and consent from the property owner or other authorized user cannot reasonably be obtained;
    2. all measures to avoid invasion of privacy or interference with the right of the individual to control one's personal data have been taken, and persons whose rights are affected are informed regularly in advance;
    3. perations do not take place between 22:00 and 6:00 local time; and
    4. operations are not expected to exceed ambient air reference values in accordance with no. 6.1 of the Technical Instructions on Noise Abatement
  • Outdoor swimming pools (sect. 21h(3) no. 8 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over outdoor swimming pools, beaches and similar facilities

    Conditions for operation:
    Outside operating or bathing times

  • Control zones (sect. 21h(3) no. 9 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    In control zones

    Conditions for operation:
    With air traffic control clearance in accordance with section 21 of the LuftVO

  • Hospitals (sect. 21h(3) no. 10 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 100 metres from the boundaries of hospitals

    Conditions for operation:
    Explicit consent from competent body or operator of the facility

  • Accident and deployment sites (sect. 21h(3) no. 11 of the LuftVO)  

    Geographical zones:
    Over and within a lateral distance of 100 metres from accident scenes and sites where security authorities and organizations are deployed as well as over mobile facilities and troops of the Federal Armed Forces within the context of notified manoeuvres and exercises

    Conditions for operation:
    Consent from head of operations

    * It is not possible to identify these zones in the context of the Map Tool, as neither the deployment sites nor the deployment times can be determined permanently.

  • Temporary geographical zones (sect. 21h(4) of the LuftVO)  

    In addition to the defined geographical zones, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, or a federal authority designated by it, may define further geographical zones and specify details of the operation of unmanned aircraft.

 Back to geographical zones