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French Laws

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Hi Guys. I am looking at the possibility of moving to France. Does anyone know how the flight regulations differ between the UK and France. Would I need to undergo a completely new training course and approval procedure similar to the CAA or can the CAA version be used to apply for the French equivalent?
 
Hi Mark..... I can help as I am a Brit living in Normandy and have gone through the necessary hoops to be qualified for commercial UAV flying in France.

I preface the following by stating that I went through all this two years ago (2014). It is possible that new rules/regulations have been introduced since I attained my qualifications

I am afraid that the BNUC is not sufficient in France. You need to take the theory part of their ULM (Ultra Léger Motorisé) exam (basically, the ULM is the equivalent to the UK's PPL). The theory test involves studying the ULM manual (Manuel du Pilote ULM - 11e édition , Collectif , Editions Cépaduès) and then attending a local testing centre and taking a multiple-choice exam (40 questions.... you need to get 30 or more correct).

Once you have your ULM qualification, you just need to get your drone authorised by the DGAC (CAA equiv)..... can be as painful as pulling teeth and is a mammoth exercise in paper/document generation. Your French needs to be tasty to work through this! This is greatly simplified if you buy a -pre-authorised Inspire 1 (comes with parachute that is required by the DGAC) >> DJI Inspire 1 Pro homologué S1, S2 & S3

If you do move over here and are interested in taking this further then let me know - I would be happy to explain further and help in whatever way I can.
Best - Richard
 
Hi Mark..... I can help as I am a Brit living in Normandy and have gone through the necessary hoops to be qualified for commercial UAV flying in France.

I preface the following by stating that I went through all this two years ago (2014). It is possible that new rules/regulations have been introduced since I attained my qualifications

I am afraid that the BNUC is not sufficient in France. You need to take the theory part of their ULM (Ultra Léger Motorisé) exam (basically, the ULM is the equivalent to the UK's PPL). The theory test involves studying the ULM manual (Manuel du Pilote ULM - 11e édition , Collectif , Editions Cépaduès) and then attending a local testing centre and taking a multiple-choice exam (40 questions.... you need to get 30 or more correct).

Once you have your ULM qualification, you just need to get your drone authorised by the DGAC (CAA equiv)..... can be as painful as pulling teeth and is a mammoth exercise in paper/document generation. Your French needs to be tasty to work through this! This is greatly simplified if you buy a -pre-authorised Inspire 1 (comes with parachute that is required by the DGAC) >> DJI Inspire 1 Pro homologué S1, S2 & S3

If you do move over here and are interested in taking this further then let me know - I would be happy to explain further and help in whatever way I can.
Best - Richard
 
Richard.

Thanks for your response although not entirely the news I had hoped for. From your experience was the French system harder work to attain than the UK one, not withstanding the language barrier of course. How long did it take for you to get through the process? Are the general flight restrictions similar to the CAA version. Regards Mark
 
Mark - I've lived here for 5 years and I never took the UK qualifications so I can't make the comparison....sorry! What I can say is that everything in France has a mountain of bureaucracy behind it.... UAV certification is no exception. That said, the ULM qualification is not too hard even with limited French language skills. There are online example test papers that, if you do enough of them, make the real test pretty simple. It took me 3 months from buying the manual to passing the exam and my French was OK, not great.

The bigger hurdle is the certification of the UAV and unless you can write technical French well, I would not go this route. I did (with the help of a French colleague) to certificate a F550 and it takes months of writing operating manuals etc etc (the good news is that I am also a registered 'manufacturer' of drones in France!). I also had to make and submit a video of it free-falling from 60m following a motor cut. All commercial UAV's (>2kg) in France must be equipped with a parachute to prevent a crash of >69 Joules. It costs but the most realistic way of getting the UAV certified is to buy an 'off-the-shelf' DGAC approved version .... plenty of French resellers offer these (see URL in previous posting).

FYI, the French hardly use eBay. Their preferred way of selling used items is leboncoin.fr..... you can usually find used/new, DGAC approved (for DGAC S1, S2 and S3 scenarios) UAV's listed there. For example>> DJI Inspire 1 RAW homologué S1, S2 & S3 Image & Son Pyrénées-Atlantiques - leboncoin.fr

The full, official 'nine yards' can be found here (but you have to dig around) and it's not for the faint hearted! Deep breath >> Télépilote de drone civil - Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Energie et de la Mer

I have started a French company (SAS) with a colleague specifically to undertake commercial UAV flying/filming.... if you do take the plunge and move to France we may be able to help you further.
Richard
 
Richard

Thanks for the further information which is most useful. Do you happen to know what charges may be applicable for the various stages of certification. As in the UK are you expected to attend a 2 day ground school before submitting approval requests etc. When you say that you have to write a lot of technical info, is this to produce an operations manual ? If so could this be translated and modified from an English version ?

Mark
 
Mark.... the costs are relatively trivial. The ULM manual required for the ULM theory test is 39 Euros and to register/sit the exam was either free or no more than 50'ish Euros. No on-site flying course is required.

I can see no reason why the english ops manual can't be translated and submitted to the DGAC. I have attached the MANUEL D’UTILISATION ET D’ENTRETIEN and the DOSSIER TECHNIQUE that we submitted to the DGAC for my old F550... these were completed to their format and provided the info they requested..... they give a flavour what was required then and still might be the case.

I stress that I went through all this a couple of years back.... I assume, like in most geographies, much has changed for commercial UAV flying in France. Without a ton of research that I don't have time for at the moment I suspect that I am out of date and it may be that the DGAC have streamlined/simplified the process given the demand for UAV flying in the intervening years. However, I hope I have been able to provide a flavour of what is required here in France.

I also attach a doc that I have just downloaded from the DGAC website (Quelle place pour les drones dans le ciel français ? - Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Energie et de la Mer) that outlines most of the requirements... this was released in August (2016).

I do not confess to being a current expert or up-to-date so some of what I have detailed here may now be out-of-date/ incorrect. Please do not take everything I have written as the gospel truth! ..... but if you want to make the jump and get certificated in France I would be happy to offer some further help.
 

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Mark.... the costs are relatively trivial. The ULM manual required for the ULM theory test is 39 Euros and to register/sit the exam was either free or no more than 50'ish Euros. No on-site flying course is required.

I can see no reason why the english ops manual can't be translated and submitted to the DGAC. I have attached the MANUEL D’UTILISATION ET D’ENTRETIEN and the DOSSIER TECHNIQUE that we submitted to the DGAC for my old F550... these were completed to their format and provided the info they requested..... they give a flavour what was required then and still might be the case.

I stress that I went through all this a couple of years back.... I assume, like in most geographies, much has changed for commercial UAV flying in France. Without a ton of research that I don't have time for at the moment I suspect that I am out of date and it may be that the DGAC have streamlined/simplified the process given the demand for UAV flying in the intervening years. However, I hope I have been able to provide a flavour of what is required here in France.

I also attach a doc that I have just downloaded from the DGAC website (Quelle place pour les drones dans le ciel français ? - Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Energie et de la Mer) that outlines most of the requirements... this was released in August (2016).

I do not confess to being a current expert or up-to-date so some of what I have detailed here may now be out-of-date/ incorrect. Please do not take everything I have written as the gospel truth! ..... but if you want to make the jump and get certificated in France I would be happy to offer some further help.
 
Richard

You have been extremely helpful with your information. Thank you very much. As you say if I do make the jump across the pond, it would be useful for me to draw on your experiences. Regards Mark
 
Richard

You have been extremely helpful with your information. Thank you very much. As you say if I do make the jump across the pond, it would be useful for me to draw on your experiences. Regards Mark
Mark.... the costs are relatively trivial. The ULM manual required for the ULM theory test is 39 Euros and to register/sit the exam was either free or no more than 50'ish Euros. No on-site flying course is required.

I can see no reason why the english ops manual can't be translated and submitted to the DGAC. I have attached the MANUEL D’UTILISATION ET D’ENTRETIEN and the DOSSIER TECHNIQUE that we submitted to the DGAC for my old F550... these were completed to their format and provided the info they requested..... they give a flavour what was required then and still might be the case.

I stress that I went through all this a couple of years back.... I assume, like in most geographies, much has changed for commercial UAV flying in France. Without a ton of research that I don't have time for at the moment I suspect that I am out of date and it may be that the DGAC have streamlined/simplified the process given the demand for UAV flying in the intervening years. However, I hope I have been able to provide a flavour of what is required here in France.

I also attach a doc that I have just downloaded from the DGAC website (Quelle place pour les drones dans le ciel français ? - Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Energie et de la Mer) that outlines most of the requirements... this was released in August (2016).

I do not confess to being a current expert or up-to-date so some of what I have detailed here may now be out-of-date/ incorrect. Please do not take everything I have written as the gospel truth! ..... but if you want to make the jump and get certificated in France I would be happy to offer some further help.
 
Richard

Would it be more useful in any future communication to use email accounts? rather than through the forum? I am happy to supply my address. Mark
 
Hi all--sorry to bump this thread but I didn't want to make a new one since we are discussing this.

I am looking to fly in France non-commercially, so it would seem that Inspire 1s would fall under Category A of the laws, as outlined on this page (Regulatory News) and on the French site itself (in French, http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Guide_Aeromodlisme_v1-0.pdf)

Am I correct that, since Inspire 1s fall under Category A, we are generally permitted to fly subject to these general guidelines (http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Notice_drone_VF_GB_web.pdf)?
 
Last edited:
Hi all--sorry to bump this thread but I didn't want to make a new one since we are discussing this.

I am looking to fly in France non-commercially, so it would seem that Inspire 1s would fall under Category A of the laws, as outlined on this page (Regulatory News) and on the French site itself (in French, http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Guide_Aeromodlisme_v1-0.pdf)

Am I correct that, since Inspire 1s fall under Category A, we are generally permitted to fly subject to these general guidelines (http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Notice_drone_VF_GB_web.pdf)?

Yes, my take on the French regulations are consistent with yours, emtea. If you are not flying commercially then the French are relatively relaxed so long as people abide by the basically, common-sense rules laid out in the 'Règles d’usage d’un drone de loisir' document that can be downloaded as a pdf (I am guessing this is the second URL in your posting above.... but is a broken link). I have attached this pdf to my reply so you, and others considering flying non-commercially in France, have seen their code-of-practice.
 

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Yes, my take on the French regulations are consistent with yours, emtea. If you are not flying commercially then the French are relatively relaxed so long as people abide by the basically, common-sense rules laid out in the 'Règles d’usage d’un drone de loisir' document that can be downloaded as a pdf (I am guessing this is the second URL in your posting above.... but is a broken link). I have attached this pdf to my reply so you, and others considering flying non-commercially in France, have seen their code-of-practice.

Great, thanks very much! Do you know what the deal is with the private/public property? I read through the laws and it seems like flying in public places is not permitted and flying on private property is permitted with the owner's permission?

(I've also fixed the link in my post for future users who reference this post!)
 
Great, thanks very much! Do you know what the deal is with the private/public property? I read through the laws and it seems like flying in public places is not permitted and flying on private property is permitted with the owner's permission?

(I've also fixed the link in my post for future users who reference this post!)
..... strictly speaking, you are correct but in reality if you are abiding by their code of practice, not causing anybody nuisance (privacy issues), not flying in protected/culturally sensitive places (nature reserves, historic monuments/chateaux etc) and generally behaving in a adult, responsible manner (ie not flying over crowds of people, in town centres etc etc) the French have a relaxed approach to non-commercial flying.

For instance, if you go down the beach and you are flying away from people (not difficult on beaches that run for many kilometres), and not causing anybody any nuisance...no-one will bat an eyelid... even if they see you.

Few authorities even know their own ever changing rules/regs here.....act responsibly, follow their code of practice and you'll be fine.
 
..... strictly speaking, you are correct but in reality if you are abiding by their code of practice, not causing anybody nuisance (privacy issues), not flying in protected/culturally sensitive places (nature reserves, historic monuments/chateaux etc) and generally behaving in a adult, responsible manner (ie not flying over crowds of people, in town centres etc etc) the French have a relaxed approach to non-commercial flying.

For instance, if you go down the beach and you are flying away from people (not difficult on beaches that run for many kilometres), and not causing anybody any nuisance...no-one will bat an eyelid... even if they see you.

Few authorities even know their own ever changing rules/regs here.....act responsibly, follow their code of practice and you'll be fine.

That seems like good common sense. Thanks for your input on this, really helpful!
 

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