Contributor: Kyrre W. Kielland and Alexander W. Barg
1. Are UAS considered as “aircraft” in your country?
As a starting point – yes. However, pursuant to section 15-1 of the Norwegian Aviation Act 1993 (the “Aviation Act”), the Ministry of Transport and Communications is given authority to give derogative regulations for aircraft without a human pilot on board. This opportunity has been applied by Regulations FOR-2015-11-30-1404 on aircraft without a human pilot on board etc. (the “UAS Regulations”).
It should also be noted that UAS which are exclusively used for recreational, sports, or competition purposes are to be regarded as model airplanes and not “aircraft”. Such operations are nevertheless considered as “aviation” and provisions of the Aviation Act not specific to “aircraft” will apply.
2. Which bodies regulate the remotely-piloted and/or unmanned aircraft operations in your country, under what basic laws?
The supervision of operators of UAS is performed by The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (“NCAA”), cf. the UAS Regulations Section 5.
3. Is there a distinction between “State UAS” and “Private UAS”?
According to Section 69 of the UAS Regulations, the UAS Regulations (except for section 18 on insurance coverage) do also apply for civil aviation with a governmental purpose in connection with police work, customs, public search and rescue services, firefighting, coast- and border patrol, or similar activities and services.
The UAS Regulations do not apply to the Norwegian Armed Forces’ use of UAS, cf. Section 3.
4. Is there any distinction between public, leisure and commercial UAS? What regulations are provided for UAS operations in each group?
There is a distinction. As mentioned above, if the aviation is exclusively for recreational, sports, or competition purposes, this is regarded as operation of model airplanes and is thus subject to the provisions of the UAS Regulations chapter 2, which are much less comprehensive than the provisions which apply to other UAS.
5. Is there a distinction, in terms of regulation, between completely autonomous UAS and remotely-piloted UAS?
The UAS regulations do not allow completely autonomous UAS which cannot be overruled by a pilot. Further, there is a regulatory distinction between UAS operated within the visual line of sight (VLOS) and UAS operated beyond the line of sight (BLOS).
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Operations - Safety
6. How are UAS operations regulated in terms of safety?
Chapters 3 to chapter 9 of the UAS Regulations include comprehensive safety regulations concerning UAS operations.
7. Is the applicable regulation considering the rule of 1 UAS = 1 pilot?
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") Operations - Licensing
8. What procedures are there to obtain licenses or the rights to operate UAS?
If the UAS operation in question is considered as flying of model airplanes, there are no licensing requirements. For other UAS operations, the UAS Regulations have different rules based on which category the operations fall within – RO1, RO2, or RO3 – depending on the weight of the UAS and the scope of the operations.
Operations in the RO1 category do not require a license. It is sufficient to send the NCAA a notice prior to the commencement of the operations and a declaration stating that the operator will comply with the applicable requirements as set out in the UAS Regulations. RO2 and RO3 operators must obtain a license from the NCAA.
9. Are there any kind of taxes or fees regarding the licensing procedure?
Fees payable to the NCAA may apply, cf. Regulations FOR-2017-03-03-286. There is a fee for the processing of applications for approval as RPAS-operator. Licensed operators within the RO2 and RO3 category must also pay an annual fee.
10. Is a Certificate of Airworthiness mandatory to operate a UAS?
Operators of UAS in the RO2 and RO3 category can only operate UAS which are documented to be airworthy.
11. Is access to the market for the provision of UAS operation services regulated and, if so, how?
Yes, the UAS Regulations Chapters 4-6 contain provisions relevant for providers of UAS operation services that will vary with category (RO1, RO2 and/or RO3).
12. What requirements apply in the areas of financial strength and nationality of ownership regarding control of UAS?
There is no requirement as to financial strength, but pursuant to Section 18 of the UAS Regulations all operators (excluding governmental operators) are obliged to have liability insurance covering statutory strict liability for any damage to third parties caused by the UAS operations.
The Aviation Act Section 2-2 provides requirements regarding nationality. Aviation within Norwegian territory may only be undertaken with aircraft which are of Norwegian nationality (except as otherwise provided by the act, such as in Section 16-1 regarding EEA) or if the aircraft has nationality in a foreign state which has signed an agreement with Norway regarding aviation rights. Further, aviation may be allowed by a special authorization by the NCAA.
13. Is drone transport permitted / regulated in your country?
Transportation of passengers with UAS is not yet permitted. Transportation of goods with UAS is possible, however this is subject to a special permit and must be described in the operations manual.
Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") - Operations - Others
14. Is there a specific Data & Privacy Protection regulation applicable to UAS operations?
There is no specific Data & Privacy Protection regulation focused on UAS operations. More general rules on privacy and data protection may apply to the specific use of the UAS, such as the Personal Data Act.
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority has made its own instruction manual on the use of drones.
15. Is there a specific control-link interference regulation applicable to UAS operations?
16. Do specific rules regulate UAS manufacturers?
There are no specific rules governing the legal position of UAS manufacturers. General rules on manufacturing and distribution of products will apply, hereunder the Product Control Act and the Product Liability Act (both based on similar EU directives).
17. What requirements must a foreign UAS operator satisfy in order to operate to or from your country?
The UAS Regulations apply to all operations of UAS in Norway, hereunder Svalbard, and in the airspace above the Norwegian continental shelf and economic zone. No distinction is made between Norwegian and foreign UAS operators.
18. Are fares or pricing of UAS operations regulated and, if so, how?
The Aircraft (“UAS”)
19. Must UAS be registered in any particular register?
According to the NCAA there exists no particular register for the registration of UAS and the Norwegian Civil Aircraft Registry (“NCAR”) does not deal with the registration of UAS.
However, as RO2 and RO3 operators must obtain a license from the NCAA and the application must be accompanied by an operations manual, one could say that such UAS are registered at least by implication.
20. Who is entitled to be mentioned in the UAS register?
21. Do requirements or limitations apply to the ownership of a UAS listed on your country’s register?
22. Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of UAS?
The UAS Regulations contain provisions on the maintenance of UAS.
23. Which are the operational and distance limitations for an aerial work with a UAS? Is there any kind of certificate or permission to operate beyond those limitations?
Concerning UAS falling within the scope of model airplanes, Section 6 of the UAS Regulations provides that the UAS may only be flown during daylight hours and not at altitudes of more than 120 metres above ground or water. Further, the UAS may not be flown closer than 150 metres to people, motor vehicles or buildings which are not controlled by the aircraft operator, except during take-off and landing.
If the flight is securely conducted under the auspices of a model aircraft association, the above-mentioned restrictions do not apply.
Flying of a model airplane-UAS is not permitted in the vicinity of military areas, embassies or prisons without permission from the local person in charge. Further, flying of a model airplane is not permitted in restricted areas pursuant to the Aviation Act or the Police Act, in the vicinity of an incident site established by the emergency services or the Armed Forces in connection with accidents or extraordinary events, cf. Section 7.
UAS which are not regarded as model airplanes are not to be flown over or in the vicinity of military areas, embassies or prisons, and further not to be flown closer than 5 km to an aerodrome, unless the flight has been cleared with the local air traffic control services or flight information service, cf. Section 54. Flying above or in the vicinity of places where an incident site has been established by the emergency services or the Armed Forces in connection with an accident or other extraordinary event may only be performed by permission from the incident commander, cf. Section 55.
Chapter 8 and 9 of the UAS Regulations contain more detailed provisions on operational and distance limitations.
24. Are UAS obliged to take off from and/or land in specific facilities?
No, but according to the UAS Regulations Section 16, as a main rule UAS cannot land or take off at an airport.
25. Which kind of airspaces are UAS permitted to operate with?
We refer to the answer given to question No 23 above.
26. Which airspaces are restricted for UAS?
We refer to the answer given to question No 23 above.
27. Which zones are UAS operations banned?
We refer to the answer given to question No 23 above.
28. Who provides air traffic control services for UAS in your country?
Governmentally owned Avinor Air Navigation Services AS.
Liability and Accidents
29. Are there any special rules in respect of loss or damage to cargo?
The Aviation Act chapter 10 contains provisions regarding liability for carriers concerning loss or damage to cargo when the transportation is performed as a paid service.
30. Are there any special rules about the liability of UAS operators for surface damage?
According to the UAS Regulations Section 8, operators of UAS falling within the model airplane category have a strict liability for damage or loss occurring due to the aviation operations.
According to Section 17, which applies to all RPAS-operators (other than just operation of model airplanes) there is a strict liability for the operator for any third-party loss or damage due to the aviation operations. The strict liability does not apply to damage to other aircraft or persons or objects within such aircraft.
Civil UAS operators must have mandatory liability insurance, cf. Section 18.
31. Is there a mandatory accident and incident reporting system and, if so, how does it operate?
According to the Aviation Act Section 12-2 the operator and owner (among others) of the aircraft are under a joint duty to immediately inform the closest unit of the air traffic service, closest police authority, or the rescue coordination centre, unless they are aware that such notice has already been given.
32. What system and procedures are in place for the investigation of UAS accidents?
There are no specific rules on the investigation of UAS accidents, but the provisions in the Aviation Act on the investigation of accidents will apply.
33. Are UAS operators obliged to have insurance for their operations? If so, which are their main features?
Pursuant to the UAS Regulations Section 18, which applies to all RPAS-operators, the operator is responsible for the existence of a valid insurance covering third-party liability, cf. Section 11-2 of the Aviation Act. The insurance obligation does not apply to UAS which are considered as model airplanes.
34. What is insured? The operator, the business or the aircraft?
What is insured depends on the specific insurance contract. However, the compulsory insurance coverage which is to be taken out by the operator, relates to coverage of third-party liability.
Financial Support and State Aid
35. Are there sector-specific rules regulating direct or indirect financial support to companies by the government or government-controlled agencies or companies (state aid) in the UAS sector? If not, do general state aid rules apply?
General state aid rules apply, which in Norway is based on the EU/EEA regulations on state aid.
36. What are the main principles of the stated aid rules applicable to the UAS sector?
Any state aid falling within the scope of EU/EEA regulations on state aid must be reported to the Ministry of Trade, which will decide whether state aid will be contrary to any Norwegian or international regulations on state aid.
37. Are there exemptions from the state aid rules or situations in which they do not apply?
Not for UAS in particular.
38. Must clearance from the competition authorities be obtained before state aid may be granted?
Pre-clearance from the Ministry of Trade is required, cf. question 36 above