Information Bulletin: Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Russian Airspace
There has recently been an increase in the number of the Russian Federation airspace violations committed by owners of unmanned aircraft systems (drones).
In some cases the abovementioned violations posed a threat to manned aviation as well as people and installations on the ground.
Unauthorized launches of unmanned aircraft from aerodromes (heliports, landing sites) constitute the greatest threat. Most of the violating unmanned aircraft are classified as amateur (with a maximum take-off mass of 30 kg or less), i.e. used for private purposes.
The violations by unmanned aircraft are mainly attributed to insufficient knowledge of Russian airspace utilization procedures and the threats associated with unmanned aircraft operations.
To prevent unauthorized launches of civilian unmanned aircraft, unmanned aircraft owners must pay due attention to the following airspace regulations.
An unmanned aircraft operation is considered to be an airspace utilization activity. Individuals and entities intending to operate a drone, need to have knowledge of the rules and procedures stipulated by the Russian Federation airspace legislation and follow them properly.
Russian airspace management procedures, including unmanned aircraft operation procedures are set out in the Federal Airspace Management Rules of the Russian Federation, approved by the Decree of the Russian Government No. 6 dated 11 March 2010 (hereafter the Federal Rules).
Unmanned aircraft operations require airspace authorization regardless of the airspace class.
An authorization-based procedure stipulates submission of a flight plan to Russian operational units (centres) of the Joint ATM System and obtaining an authorization to operate in Russian airspace from these centres.
Unmanned aircraft operations require establishment of temporary and local regimes as well as short-term restrictions to facilitate the unmanned aircraft activities.
Applications for temporary and local regimes are submitted by airspace users in accordance with the Instruction on the development, establishment, implementation and removal of temporary, local and short-term restrictions (approved by the Ministry of Transport on 27 June 2011).
Airspace planning and coordination are performed by the respective centres of the Joint ATM system pursuant to the Federal Aviation Rules “Airspace Management in the Russian Federation” (approved by Order of the Ministry of Transport No. 6 dated 16 January 2012).
If unmanned operations are conducted above residential areas, an airspace user (unmanned aircraft owner) needs to obtain an additional approval from the corresponding local municipality.
A flight plan is filed to the operational centres of the Joint ATM System by an airspace user (unmanned aircraft owner) in accordance with the Procedures of Air Traffic Messages Exchange in the Russian Federation approved by Order No. 13 of the Ministry of Transport
dated 24 January 2013. The ninth paragraph of the Procedures allows filing unmanned aircraft flight plans to the Joint ATM Centers over the phone (fax). In addition, all the contact information necessary for the filing of a flight plan is available on the following websites: www.ivprf.ru and /servisy/.
Prohibited and restricted areas are established pursuant to the Orders of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation No. 47 “Establishment of Restricted Areas” and
No. 48 “Establishment of Prohibited Areas” (dated 9 March 2016).
Paragraph 40 of the Federal Rules requires that airspace users (unmanned aircraft owners) obtain a special authorization from the parties concerned if flights of unmanned aircraft are performed within prohibited and restricted areas. Information regarding postal addresses, telephone numbers and aviation radio frequencies of those who are entitled to issue such authorizations can be found on the official website of the Federal Air Transport Agency.
Section VI of the General Rules of Aviation Activities (part of the Federal Aviation Rules “Preparing and Conducting Civil Aviation Operations in the Russian Federation” approved by Order of the Ministry of Transport No. 128 dated 31 July 2009, classifies aerial photography and filming as well as other methods of remote sensing, including those conducted by unmanned aircraft, as aerial activities. Aerial activities performed by individuals and entities must meet certification requirements set out in the Federal Aviation Rules “Mandatory Certification Requirements for Individuals and Entities Engaged in Aerial Activities. Certification Procedure” approved by Order of the Ministry of Transport No. 249 dated 23 December 2009.
Please be informed that Presidential Decree No. 202 dated 9 May 2017 stipulates reinforcement of the security measures during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and this requires obtaining an additional authorization. Information on the authorization obtaining procedure will be promulgated in aeronautical information documents and on the Federal Air Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation official websites prior to the implementation of the reinforced security measures.
The abovementioned reinforced security measures will be introduced in the areas of major public events.
Please be aware that any violation of airspace utilization procedures shall entail the imposition of an administrative fine in the amount of 2,000 - 500,000 rubles on citizens, officials and legal entities in accordance with the Code of Administrative Violations of the Russian Federation (Article 11.4).