Flying a drone in Spain (legally) is more complicated than many assume. In fact, very few countries have stricter regulations toward the use of a drone in the country. But… where exactly can you fly them? For all of you wanting to skip the boring stuff, go directly to the DO’s and DONT’s
If you flown a drone before 2014, you belong to the few that enjoyed the freedom of the Wild West. You could capture some excellent videos such as birds-eye views of football stadia and beaches. There were no fines and the rules were simple: stick to the legal flying places.
2015 changed it all, so be careful if you read articles issued before that year. The Spain’s ruling of drone laws in 2015 kicked in, establishing fines of circa €400,000.
Why? Spain deem the art of flying a drone to be dangerous, reminiscent of drones used in wars. To protect the nation from any incoming terrorist attack, various military forces are constantly watching the air for any suspicious activity. If your drone shows up, it could put the country on red alert and waste valuable governmental resources in preventing a false attack. And for those who think that Spain’s rules are a case of all bark, no bite: the Spanish government has collected almost €2 million from drone fines alone since 2015. No joking. Be careful!
Now, there are differences between private drone flying and commercial usage. The problem here is that as a private user, you can’t sell your aerial photos and videos without having a license, security, and official permission from the AESA (Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aerea). To get permission, write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I fly my Drone?
No big deal here. I recommend you going straight to IcarusRPA, a Spanish webpage with a map that outlines all the (many!) forbidden zones.
Flying a drone in Spain for private usage
Important! Do not try to fly your drone over populated areas as you’ll be on the cards to get fined or even detained. See the Barcelona’s detailed map below? All the city air space is banned to drone flying, even the mountains behind the city…
Can I capture footage with my Drone?
It depends. From a legal point of view, you can only capture footage if you are authorised by the AESA. This is big stuff, as the Spanish public administration is not as flexible as it should be.
In the real world, my advise is: stick to small areas that are not populated highly, don’t stick too close to the ground, yet don’t fly at an obscenely high altitude. You have to know your limitations. You could possibly fly around your back yard, garden or even a park. Anything more than that and Spain’s tough law system could crack down on you and, looking at their track record, there would be no issue in them doing so.