“What is foreseen is that failing to observe this regulation constitutes an aeronautical transgression,” Ribeiro said at a news conference to present the regulation published earlier this month in the state journal, the Diário da República, which allows for sanctions from 250 to 2,500 euros.
While “the value of the fines must be updated in future”, he said, “the most important thing is to ensure that rules exist and that they are followed for the security of all.”
Ribeiro said that there was no more time to be lost in regulating the use of air space by remotely piloted flying machines - drones - while admitting that the regulation could be overtaken by European Union legislation that is currently being drafted.
Under Portugal’s new rules, drones may thus only “effect daytime flights, in the line of sight, up to 120 metres (400 feet), in cases in which the aircraft are not flying in areas subject to restrictions or in the proximity of airports.”
Restricted areas are mapped out on the website www.voanaboa.pt
Flights above 120 metres can only be undertaken with the express authorisation of ANAC.
Drones must at all times maintain a safe distance from persons and property, so as to avoid damage in case of accident, and the remote pilot must give priority to crewed aircraft and keep the drone away from them whenever they might exceptionally be flying at an altitude close to the drone.
Drones must also always have their identifying lights on and may not be operated by anyone whose physical or mental capacity is impaired in any way.
Drone users are not required to register themselves or their equipment under the new rules.
Ribeiro explained that during the consultation process ANAC heard “the concerns of a large number of users of air space” and attempted to accommodate as many concerns as possible.
“There are countries in which they cannot fly within a radius of five kilometres of airports,” he noted. “We had to take into consideration that in Lisbon that would mean that drones could practically not fly in Lisbon.”