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Drones in Portugal

afpop - 12-08-2019

Drones in Portugal

The use of Drones, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), is growing and many of us will have encountered them and probably been annoyed as they fly over us while we're at the beach. Perhaps you are interested in buying one and want to know where you can fly them and if you can take videos or photos using them. We know that personal privacy laws in Portugal restrict the use of cameras for gathering images of people without their permission, so how does that transfer into the use of drones?

Basically the use of Drones is permitted in Portugal, with of course some restrictions. If you want to fly a Drone in daylight you can do so without any operating licence or without any liability insurance, although the latter is highly recommended for obvious reasons. The maximum weight of a Drone that can be used without permission is 25kg, which probably includes all of the recreational Drones that we see in use. The maximum height that they can be flown to is 120 metres and they must remain within the line of sight BVLOS of the operator.   

There are restrictions as to where Drones can be flown, for example they can’t be flown over groups of people, (identified as being 12 people or more in the legislation), or near airports, military or police facilities, educational centres or prisons. There is in fact an app in Portugal for smart phones that can be downloaded free of charge and which gives rules in the area that you are intending to fly a Drone. The app is called Voa na Boa and is available for Apple and Android devides.

The governing body for Drones in Portugal is the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), which is where applications to use drones outside of the permitted parameters must be addressed. For example night flights; flights that are beyond line of site or higher than 120 metres, or Drones that are larger than 25kgs must be authorised by ANAC.

Taking images, still or moving, from Drones is not allowed unless authorisation has been obtained to do so. Application must be made to the Portuguese Air Force (AAN) via their website and if you are intending to take images over beaches or the sea you must contact the Capitania in that area with proof of authorisation from AAN. The Capitania may charge for a licence to film over the coast.

The organisation responsible for policing the use of Drones is the GNR and any complaint about their use should be directed to them. Of course it’s not always possible to know who is operating a Drone, but that’s up to the police to look into and shouldn’t stop you from reporting what you believe is an illegal use of Drones or an invasion of your privacy. There is a maximum height for Drones to fly, but we have not been able to find out if there is a minimum height that they can fly, for example over gardens.   

These guidelines are referring to recreational use of Drones and there are other rules for those operating them commercially. If any Member has a specific question about the use of Drones they can contact the afpop office.


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  • Medal Insurance
  • Algarve Resident
  • Blevins & Franks
  • Turismo de Portugal - Algarve
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  • Golf for Greys
  • NCA Portugal
  • Mestre Raposa