Russia has the distinction of being the biggest country on the planet, as it’s more than six million square miles.
You might have been contracted for a drone business project, but you’re unsure of the legalities of operating your UAV here.
Can you fly a drone in Russia?
Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport permits drone usage in Russia, but you must have a permit. You’re also usually required to register your drone, but that depends on how much it weighs.
This guide to flying a drone in Russia will help you prepare for your trip.
From taking your drone on the plane to Russia to drone flight rules in this country, we have lots of useful information ahead!
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Bringing your drone to Russia
Before you can use your drone in Russia, you have to get it there. Whether you’re traveling to St. Petersburg or Moscow, let’s go over some advice for transporting your UAV via plane to Russia.
You’re typically restricted to only one drone per traveler.
If you’re going to Russia on business and you usually bring a fleet of commercial drones, you might consider traveling with a team where each team member has one drone.
Now is a great time to purchase a drone travel backpack if you don’t already own one. These backpacks are designed for carrying your most precious cargo – your drone – safely.
You can also stash accessories like a remote control, spare propellers (or prop guards), and extra batteries.
Speaking of batteries, you must remove them from your drone before bringing it on a plane with you. You may have to stash them separately in a firecase, so please have one handy.
Do not put the batteries in checked luggage, especially if you’re carrying lithium-ion batteries. Many airlines treat those batteries as hazardous since they have been known to catch fire.
If you don’t store your lithium-ion batteries properly, the airline can seize them. That’s not a great situation, yet it’s actually the best-case scenario.
Otherwise, the airline could turn you away from boarding the plane, or you could receive a fine for improper battery storage.
Further, the airline you’re flying through will likely have restrictions on battery voltage. We recommend researching your airline’s rules before you fly.
If you can’t find the information online, contact the airline by phone or email.
All courses offered by Pilot Institute are taught by remote pilots, flight instructors, FAA commercial pilots, and other certified professionals.
Can you fly a drone in Russia?
You’ve officially arrived in Russia. Now that you’re here, it’s time to unpack your drone and begin flying.
In Russia, the Federal Agency for Air Transport establishes the drone flight rules under the country’s government. According to FATA, drones are permitted in Russia.
Some pilots have reported that cities and towns across Russia have GPS jammers that can interrupt your signal and render your drone unable to fly.
Whether or not that’s the case, you’re still technically allowed to use your drone here.
Since you’re visiting another country where you can experience language barriers and other travel difficulties, we recommend using a drone app to map out airspace when operating your drone in Russia.
Red zones represent no-drone areas. You cannot fly in these areas. Yellow zones are warning zones.
In another country besides your own, we wouldn’t recommend pushing your luck, so stay out of those areas as well.
Russia drone rules to know
For the rest of this article, we’ll go over Russia’s many drone laws to ensure you can fly safely and legally during your trip.
Obtain a permit
Commercial and recreational pilots must have a permit before launching a drone in Russia. The only exception is if your done weighs under 250 grams and you won’t use it in a forbidden or restricted zone.
You’ll have to reach out to the country’s Air Traffic Management system and request an application. Complete all the form fields on the application and then send it in.
Besides basic information such as your full name and address, you’ll also have to divulge intel such as your drone make and model, where you plan to fly your drone, and when.
Register your drone
Most pilots operating a drone in Russia must register it. Again, this does not apply if your drone weighs 250 grams or 0.55 pounds.
You’ll register your UAV through FATA, completing a registration application form.
In the form, you must include your contact information (such as your phone number and email address), your drone’s make and model and serial number, and your insurance.
You won’t receive your registration immediately, but typically within several business days. Keep that in mind if you plan to launch a commercial project as soon as you’re settled in Russia.
You might want to get your registration taken care of ahead of time if you can.
Obtain a waiver if necessary
If you plan to use your drone at night or if the aircraft exceeds 4.4 pounds, Russian drone law requires you to have a waiver.
You must apply for the waiver before you can engage in these activities.
Do not use your drone during sporting events
In Russia, operating your drone around or over a sports stadium is illegal, especially when a sporting event occurs.
Request permission before flying in a national reserve or park
Russia has differing rules on drone use in national parks and reserves. Some parks allow drones on a restricted basis, while others prohibit drones altogether.
Contact the reserve or park authorities to confirm the rules before launching your UAV.
Avoid flying near strategic infrastructure
All critical infrastructure such as hospitals, utilities, energy facilities, communications facilities, water facilities, and more strictly prohibit drone operation over or near the facility.
You also cannot operate your drone near any sensitive infrastructure like government buildings or military bases or installations.
Do not fly over the Red Square or Moscow Kremlin
To add to the list of places you cannot use a drone in Russia, you can’t operate in the Red Square or Moscow Kremlin.
Avoid heliports and airports
Drones are restricted from flying within five nautical miles of heliports, aerodromes, and airports throughout Russia.
Should you share the skies with a manned aircraft, always give the aircraft the right of way and land as soon as you can do so safely.
Do not fly over crowds
Russian drone law requires pilots to maintain the privacy of others. To that end, you’re forbidden from operating your drone too close to crowds or individual people.
You also cannot fly near Russia’s urban areas to preserve privacy.
Keep a visual line of sight on your drone
When you launch your drone into the sky, you must track its distance. You must always be able to see your drone when you’re using it, including with visual aids like contacts or glasses.
However, using visual augmenters like binoculars to see your drone means it’s outside of your visual line of sight.
Do not fly in inclement weather or low visibility
Russia’s weather is not always clear and sunny. On those days when there’s inclement weather on the horizon, you must ground your drone operations until the weather passes.
Flying in poor weather like rain, wind, hail, fog, or snow reduces your visibility and makes your drone a hazard.
Only use your drone by day unless you have permission
You’ll recall that you must have a waiver to operate your drone at night. Without that waiver, you can only legally keep your drone in the sky in the hours between sunrise and sunset.
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Are you planning to fly a drone in Russia?
Good news! The activity is legal, but you will have to obtain permitting and likely register your drone before you can take to the skies.
You’re also required to always follow FATA drone laws.
We’d highly recommend insuring your drone. Remember, multiple pilots have reported GPS jamming in Russian cities, which will render your drone inoperable.
If it crashes and burns, you want some sort of protection if you can get it!