Drone license plate: what needs to be on the plate?
If you want to buy a drone, you also have to deal with the question of a drone license plate. We reveal here which rules apply according to the current EU drone regulation and what has to be on such a drone sticker.
There has been a labeling requirement for drones in Germany since 2017. With the EU drone regulation, which came into force on January 1, 2021, the labeling requirement was expanded. It is intended to define uniform rules for all EU countries – among other things, it specifies which drones require license plates or a sticker. For this purpose, a subdivision into five risk classes is made, for which specific rules apply.
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Why is there a labeling requirement?
A drone needs the license plate for the same reason as a car. It's all about locating the owner. According to the new EU drone regulation, this requires a so-called e-ID – an electronic identification number that you receive after registering with the Federal Aviation Office.
Being able to clearly assign a drone to its owner makes sense, for example, in the event of an accident – for example, if the injured party wants to assert claims for damages. But even if you lose your drone, the license plate can be helpful.
Does my drone need a license plate?
All drones with a camera need a license plate, including so-called mini drones. Image: © DJI 2022
Whether your drone needs a license plate depends on the weight on the one hand and the equipment on the other. Unless you are using a pure toy drone, the answer is most likely yes. Your drone needs a license plate if it:
- weighs more than 250 grams, or
- has a sensor for collecting personal data.
With this second point, all camera drones are subject to the labeling requirement – even those that weigh less than 250 grams, for example the mini drones DJI Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro .
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What must be on the drone sticker?
What has to be on the drone sticker has also changed when the EU drone regulation came into force. Before 2021: A plaque with the name and address of the owner must be permanently and fireproof attached to the drone. This is no longer necessary. Today it is enough to attach the e-ID to the drone. You receive this by registering your drone with the Federal Aviation Office.
Are there specifications for the sticker?
The sticker only has to contain the e-ID, name and address are optional. Image: © YouTube/Emanuel Schreiber Schilderfabrik 2022
The requirement that the badge must be fireproof and permanently attached to the drone, which will apply until the end of 2020, has been overtaken by the EU Drone Regulation. Today there are no longer any specifications regarding the type of sticker, ie a simple sticker with an e-ID printed on it would be sufficient for identification. Nevertheless, it can of course make sense to choose a robust and durable badge. Also consider whether you might want to voluntarily attach your name and address to the drone. Should it be lost, finders will have an easier time returning it.
However, make sure that the plaque is not too large or heavy. After all, it should not negatively affect the flight characteristics of your drone.
Where can I get a drone registration number?
There are a number of providers of professionally manufactured drone badges on the Internet. You get high-quality drone license plates, e.g. B. at Schilder Schreiber , but there are also cheap offers at Amazon. You often have the choice between plaques made of aluminum or acrylic, the writing is engraved by laser. You usually don't have to spend more than 10 euros.
Where is the best place to attach the plaque?
The plaques are often made of acrylic, written with a laser and attached with strong adhesive tape. Image: © YouTube/Emanuel Schreiber Schilderfabrik 2022
There is no blanket answer to this question. The best place to attach the drone license plate depends on the design of your drone. It is important that you attach it to a smooth, free surface that is large enough for the plaque. Nothing should survive. Some manufacturers are now even recommending placement of the badges on some of their models. An overview of placement recommendations for many models can be found e.g. B. here at sign writers . Before attaching the badge, you should also make sure that the area is clean so that the license plate will last for a long time.
- According to the EU regulation, drones must be clearly attributable to their owner.
- You need an e-ID for this, which you can get from the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt.
- A labeling obligation applies to all drones over 250 grams and for those with sensors for recording personal data – i.e. all drones with a camera.
- It is up to you whether you only attach the e-ID or also your address to the drone.
- There are no specifications for the badge. Ideally, however, it is weatherproof.
- Common suppliers sell license plates made of aluminum or acrylic with engraved laser writing.
- Attach the plaque to a flat surface large enough or learn about placement recommendations.