The legal situation in Croatia is slightly awkward for drone pilots. In this post, we’ll explain how to get permission for drone flights in Croatia and what rules to follow.
Similar to the drones laws in Austria, there is a subdivision of the flight areas according to the settlement.
- Class I: Areas without elevated structures or facilities or humans, except for the crew required to control the copter.
- Class II: Area with agricultural outbuildings or structures not intended for stays by persons. People are allowed to travel sometimes through the flight area (e.g., cyclists, pedestrians, etc.).
- Class III: Area with buildings or installations intended primarily for residential, commercial or leisure purposes (residential buildings, schools, offices, sports facilities, parks, etc.).
- Class IV: Urban zone (center of cities or other settlements).
Model aircraft (private use) only in classes I and II. The four categories A, B, C, and D are linked to the take-off weight, with different regulations:
|Take-off weight||Class I||Class II||Class III||Class IV|
|Less than 5kg||A||A||B||C|
|From 5kg and less than 25kg||A||B||C||D|
|From 25kg and less than 150kg||B||C||D||D|
Your copter flight will also be classified as category D if you are flying over gatherings of people or industrial equipment that can explode or catch fire because of a crash.
For flights in category A, the minimum age is 16 years. The other categories can be flown with 18 years.
Within category B an C, you must use at least one Hexacopter (6 rotors or more). Alternatively, you can also attach a parachute with own power supply.
In categories C and D you need at least an octocopter with a parachute.
Except for category A, your copter may not reach the kinetic energy of 79 joules in free fall.
Apply for permission for drone flights in Croatia
To be allowed to fly in Croatia with a drone, you must always obtain prior approval from the Croatian Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA). To do this, you must complete the form FOD-FRM-005 and send it to Dorotea Mikšić (firstname.lastname@example.org). When completing the application, note the following tips:
- Quadrocopters can only be admitted in category A.
- For Croatia, you have to stick an alphanumeric identification number to your drone, which must not start with the letter D and which you can think of yourself. You have to enter this number in the form under “ridentification.”
- Expect to spend at least two weeks to register with the CCAA.
After sending the form by e-mail, the CCAA will check your details. If no errors are found, you will be asked to submit the original document to Zagreb by post mail.
But there is still the catch: If you want to take aerial photos with your drone in Croatia, then you also need a permit from the State Geodetic Administration (SGA, contact email@example.com). The applications are treated very differently, and so far it has not been possible to determine the criteria for the approval of the authority. However, it seems to be beneficial if you detail that your recordings are for family use only and should not be published. In the case of private flights, theoretically no permission is required from the SGA, but the authority decides in each case whether the permit is necessary. Also, there was already the information from the SGA that aerial photographs may not be created for private purposes.
The applications at the SGA are discussed with the Ministry of Defense. The processing time can, therefore, be significantly more than four weeks. So I recommend that you get all the permits for Croatia half a year in advance.
Rules for drone flights in Croatia in the overview
If you have all the permits in your pocket, you must observe the following rules in Croatia.
Maximum flight altitude: I do not know a maximum flight altitude. However, the maximum flight altitude is also limited by the 79-joules rule.
Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Your copter must always be within sight and cannot move more than 500 meters away from you. First Person View is only allowed for private model pilots if a second person maintains visual contact and is directly in the vicinity of the pilot.
Deviating flight maneuvers require the agreement of the CCAA.
Compulsory insurance: For Croatia, as a recreational user, you need a valid drone liability insurance only when your aircraft weights more than 20kg.
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): The current law permits a maximum take-off mass of up to 150 kg. From a flying weight of 5 kilograms, a fireproof identification plate must be attached to the drone. The sign must contain the name, address and contact information. For flights of category D, the license plate must be issued by the Croatian Aviation Agency. All other plates must not start with the letter D.
Distance to airports: A distance of 3 kilometers must be kept to airport facilities.
Other safe distances: Your Multicopter must maintain a minimum distance of 30 meters to persons, animals, objects, vehicles, ships, other aircraft, roads, railways, waterways or transmission lines. You have to keep a distance of 150 meters to gatherings of people. Minor gaps are only possible after approval by the Croation Civil Aviation Agency (CCAA).
Flight bans: Flights are only permitted in uncontrolled airspace.
Flight approval: For flights of categories A and B, submitting a declaration of flight maneuver is sufficient. For drones in category C, an operation manual is also requested. The Operation Manual must include the following:
- Table of Contents
- Record of revision and list of affected pages
- Duties and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the flight maneuver
- Standard working instruction
- Measures of maintenance
- Emergency plans
- Flight restrictions
- Reporting (who will be when informed about what)
- Risk management
- Qualification proof of the pilot
Flights in category D are only possible with the explicit permission of the CCAA and can be valid for up to two years.
Time of operations: Drones can only be controlled during the day in Croatia.
Specific regulations: The Croatian drones’ law makes an exception for unmanned aircraft if they can not reach a kinetic energy of 79 joules. This makes flights with some camera copters possible, without having to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles!
Copter maneuvers must also be documented with the following information:
- Flight date
- Times of take-off and landing, as well as flight time
- Name of the pilot
- Place of the flight
- Classification of the flight
- Take-off weight of the used drone
- Notes about specific incidents during the flight.
The records must be kept for two years. You can order a flight book for the documentation that fulfills the demands here.
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Croatia to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Croatia!