56 Austria

Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red. The flag design is certainly one of the oldest – if not the oldest – national banners in the world. According to tradition, in 1191, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria’s white tunic became completely blood-spattered. Upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed. The red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

The Rathaus (City Hall) in Vienna is the seat of the mayor and the city council. It was built in the Gothic style between 1872-83.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Austria is a member of ICAO, EUROCONTROL, JARUS, EASA, and the EU.
Last updated on April 16, 2024


According to Britannica, under the constitution of 1920, with minor changes made in 1929, Austria is a “democratic republic: its law derives from the people.” A federal republic, Austria consists of nine self-governing Länder (states): Burgenland, Kärnten (Carinthia), Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), Oberösterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol, Vorarlberg, and Wien (Vienna). The states have considerable autonomy.

In 1934 the Austrian constitution was replaced by an authoritarian regime under Chancellors Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt von Schuschnigg. This in turn was eliminated by Adolf Hitler after Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938 (see Anschluss). With the liberation of Austria in 1945, the constitution of 1929 was revived and subsequently became the foundation stone of constitutional and political life in the “Second Republic.”

The federal president and the cabinet share executive authority. The president, elected by popular vote for a term of six years, acts as head of state and calls parliament into session. The president can dissolve parliament during the four-year legislative period, unless it dissolves itself by law, and can order new elections. The president also acts as commander in chief of the armed forces.

The head of government is the federal chancellor. The president appoints the chancellor, although the parliamentary majority actually determines the president’s choice. The chancellor nominates the other cabinet members, who also are officially appointed by the president. The cabinet cannot remain in office if it and its members do not enjoy the confidence of the majority of the National Council (one of the houses of parliament).

The parliament, known as the Federal Assembly, consists of two houses: the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). The National Council, wielding the primary legislative power, is elected by all citizens who are at least 16 years of age, and every citizen over age 26 is eligible to run for office. The distribution of seats in the National Council is based on a system of proportional representation. The members of the Federal Council represent the states. The assemblies, or diets, of the states elect the members by a proportional system based on the population of the state.

The legislative process originates in the National Council. Each bill, except for the budget, which is the sole prerogative of the National Council, must be approved by the Federal Council. The National Council, however, can override a Federal Council veto by a simple majority vote.

Each of the nine states is administered by a government headed by a governor (Landeshauptmann); the governor is elected by the legislative diet, which in turn is elected by general ballot. The local municipalities each elect a mayor and a city council. Vienna is a unique case: as it is both a municipality and a state, its mayor functions as the governor.

The administration of justice is independent of Austrian legislative and administrative authorities. Judges are not subject to any government influence: they are appointed by the cabinet upon nomination by judicial panels and can be neither dismissed nor transferred without the panels’ agreement.

Austria has three high courts: one sitting as the highest body of appeal in civil and criminal matters; a top administrative court to which citizens aggrieved by administrative decisions can appeal; and a constitutional court that decides on all constitutional matters, civil rights, and election disputes.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The Supreme Civil Aviation Authority is part of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and acts as higher and partly as oversight authority for further aviation authorities (like Austro Control, Aero Club, Federal Provinces and districts). Main task of the Supreme Civil Aviation Authority are the regulation of the legislative basis on national level, the representation of Austria at the EU and at international organizations as well as the negotiation of bilateral aviation agreements. Based on the effective legal provisions aviation regulatory permissions, e.g. commercial transport, aerodromes, air navigation service providers and aerodrome fees are granted. Furthermore the Supreme Civil Aviation Authority executes oversight of organizations, especially aerodromes, aerospace companies, air navigation service and providers as well as quality control in the sense of safety in aviation.


SkyVectorGoogle MapsADS-B Exchange

ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austria AIP

Austro Control GmbH has been responsible for air traffic control and air safety in Austrian airspace since 1 January 1994. There are as many as 3,000 controlled flights in Austrian airspace on some days, often at altitudes of 10,000 meters or more. Aided by state-of-the-art technology, the air traffic controllers of Austro Control bring planes into the right airways and ensure that they keep their distance from others.

Austro Control publishes a poster on airspace structure and has more information available to the public.

Airspace Classification

Drone Regulations

Dronespace is the Austro Control drone portal – the central point of contact for all questions relating to unmanned aircraft – from registration to the drone driver’s license to the drone flight.

Regulation (EU) 2019/947 uniformly regulates flying with drones throughout the EU. Transitional regulations until 2023 and beyond ensure that drones that have already been purchased can continue to be used. With the drone regulations of the European Commission, the national laws on unmanned aerial vehicles of the EU member states were standardized. This standardized the European market, which should lead to simplifications for the drone user but also for the manufacturer. The new regulations came into force on December 31, 2020, with a transition period for older drones that do not meet the new technical requirements until January 1, 2024.

Drone operations are divided into the categories “open”, “specific” and “certified”. The “open” category relevant to leisure users is divided into three further subcategories (A1, A2 and A3). This gives users as much freedom as possible and at the same time ensures the safety of manned aviation and safety on the ground. In the “Open” category, flying up to 120 m above ground is permitted, flying over crowds of people is strictly prohibited. Drone owners must complete an operator registration, which is valid for 3 years. Online training and proof of competency (“ drone license ”) may also be required to promote safety understanding. Little will change for micro drones under 250g , as previous data shows that they are already very safe.

Depending on the risk, the operation of drones is classified into three categories: “open”, “specific” or “certified”.

Categories of drones based on risk

Drone LicenseThe “drone pilot’s license” is mandatory for all drone pilots  who want to fly with drones in the “open” category with a weight of more than 250 g (A1, A2 and A3). There is an online course that is provided free of charge by Austro Control. After completing the course and a few practice questions, a multiple choice test with 40 questions must be taken – also online and free of charge. If the assessment is positive, the certificate of competence obtained can be saved or printed out directly via the link sent afterwards. The proof must be carried with you on every flight either electronically (e.g. on a smartphone) or in printed form.

To fly your drone in subcategory A2 you must observe the following steps:
1. Complete the online course and take the online test to obtain the “drone driver’s license” (subcategory A1/A3).

2. Prepare for the theory test at Austro Control. The exam consists of 30 multiple-choice questions and includes questions on meteorology, flight performance, and technical and operational ground risk mitigation. The learning objectives for the individual areas of the A2 exam. The preparation for the theory test can be done in self-study (books, electronic content, …) or with the help of external training providers (online training, face-to-face courses, …).

3. Become familiar with the controls of your drone and acquire the necessary practical skills to operate your drone. You can find the exercises to be completed for this in the application form provided in the download area.
Caution: Only practice in areas where there are no bystanders and keep a safe distance of at least 150 meters from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas!

4. Register with Austro Control – at least 10 working days before the desired date – at examinations@austrocontrol.at for the theory test. To do this, please use the form provided in the download area. When registering, confirm in the Application form to have successfully passed the online exam and completed the practical flight exercises. The exam must be taken on site at Austro Control and registration for this costs EUR 43.20.

5. After successfully passing the exam (75% of the questions must be answered correctly), you will receive your long-distance pilot certificate and may also operate your drone in subcategory A2.


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone over City Hall in Vienna, pictured above.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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