58 Belgium

Three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France. The colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field).

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Our Lady of the Sablon Church in Brussels was built in the 15th century in a late Gothic style known as Brabantine. It is renowned for its brightly colored stained-glass windows.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Belgium is a member of ICAO, EUROCONTROL, JARUS, EASA, and the EU.
Last updated on April 17, 2024


According to Britannica, Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. The Belgian constitution was first promulgated in 1831 and has been revised a number of times since then. A 1991 constitutional amendment, for instance, allows for the accession of a woman to the throne. Under the terms of the Belgian constitution, national executive power is vested in the monarch and his Council of Ministers, whereas legislative power is shared by the monarch, a bicameral parliament comprising the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, and the community and regional councils. In practice, the monarch’s role as head of state is limited to representative and official functions; royal acts must be countersigned by a minister, who in turn becomes responsible for them to the parliament. The prime minister is the effective head of government; the position of prime minister was created in 1919 and that of vice prime minister in 1961. Typically the leader of the majority party or coalition in the parliament, the prime minister is appointed by the monarch and approved by the parliament.

Prior to 1970 Belgium was a unitary state. An unwritten rule prevailed that, except for the prime minister, the government had to include as many Flemish- as French-speaking ministers. Tensions that had been building throughout the 20th century between the two ethnolinguistic groups led to major administrative restructuring during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. A series of constitutional reforms dismantled the unitary state, culminating in the St. Michael’s Agreement (September 1992), which laid the groundwork for the establishment of the federal state (approved by the parliament in July 1993 and enshrined in a new, coordinated constitution in 1994). National authorities now share power with executive and legislative bodies representing the major politically defined regions (Flemish: gewesten; French: régions) of Belgium, the Flemish Region (Flanders), the Walloon Region (Wallonia), and the Brussels-Capital Region, and the major language communities of the country (Flemish, French, and German). The Flemish Region, comprising the provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders, West Flanders, and Flemish Brabant, and the Flemish Community are represented by a single council; the Walloon Region, comprising the provinces of Hainaut, Namur, Liège, Luxembourg, and Walloon Brabant, and the French Community each have a council, as do the Brussels-Capital Region and the German Community. The regional authorities have primary responsibility for the environment, energy, agriculture, transportation, and public works.

They share responsibility for economic matters, labour, and foreign trade with the national government, which also retains responsibility for defense, foreign policy, and justice. The community councils have authority over cultural matters, including the use of language and education.

Farther down the administrative hierarchy are the provinces (Flemish: provincies), each of which is divided into arrondissements and further subdivided into communes (gemeenten). The provinces are under the authority of a governor, with legislative power exercised by the provincial council. The Permanent Deputation, elected from the members of the provincial council, provides for daily provincial administration. Each commune is headed by a burgomaster, and the communal council elects the deputy mayors.

Judges are appointed for life by the monarch; they cannot be removed except by judicial sentence. At the cantonal, or lowest, judicial level, justices of the peace decide civil and commercial cases, and police tribunals decide criminal cases. At the district level, judicial powers are divided among the tribunals of first instance, which are subdivided into civil, criminal, and juvenile courts and commercial and labour tribunals. At the appeals level, the courts of appeal include civil, criminal, and juvenile divisions that are supplemented by labour courts. Courts of assizes sit in each province to judge crimes and political and press offenses. These are composed of 3 judges and 12 citizens chosen by lot.

The Supreme Court of Justice is composed of three chambers: civil and commercial, criminal, and one for matters of social and fiscal law and the armed forces. The last court does not deal with cases in depth but regulates the application of the law throughout all jurisdictions. The military jurisdictions judge all cases concerning offenders responsible to the army and, in time of war, those concerning persons accused of treason. The State Council arbitrates in disputed administrative matters and gives advice on all bills and decrees. The Arbitration Court, established in 1984, deals with disputes that develop between and among national, regional, and community executive or legislative authorities.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The mission of the Belgium Civil Aviation Authority is to prepare, implement and support mobility and transport policy in consultation with our partners at regional, federal and international level. To this end, they seek a fair balance between economic development, security, the environment, social interests and the integration of the different modes of transport.


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. Belgium AIP

Belgium AIP

Belgium ANS

Drone Regulations

Start2Drone – advice to prepare your flights safely – If you are using your drone, also called UAS or Unmanned Aircraft System, for the first time, there are four steps to follow to  properly prepare your flights (hereafter referred to as operations) in the Open category in complete safety. These steps are defined in accordance with the new European regulation 2019/947, applicable since 31 December 2020.

Register for free as an operator – Subscribe to an insurance policy  adapted to the operations envisaged before registering because you will be asked for a supporting document when you register. If you would like information on insuring your UAS, contact your insurer or broker. When you have your insurance document, you can then  register  for free as a UAS operator via the  Drone Portal of DG Air Transport. This portal is available online 24 hours a day.

what kind of drone

Your registration is validated when an operator number is assigned to you. Be sure to write this number on your UAS in a permanent and visible way. If your drone is equipped with a remote identification system, you must also load your operator number into this system.

Determine the total mass of the drone you want to use – Until the end of 2022, the operating category of UAS with a low level of risk is called  OPEN Limited. For this category, the operating conditions of your UAS depend on its maximum take-off weight (accessory included). Make sure you know the maximum authorized weight of your drone at takeoff (-500 g, -2 kg or -25 kg) in order to determine under what conditions your operations will have to be carried out.

Train yourself to become a good pilot – Carefully read the user manual for your UAS and receive theoretical and/or practical training depending on the sub-category of operation in which you wish to operate your UAS. An operating sub-category is defined based on the UAS maximum take-off weight. There are three within the OPEN Limited category.


Free theoretical training and exam


Free theoretical training and exam

– Practical training

Additional Theoretical Exam in the premises of DG Air Transport

When you pass your exam, you receive a certificate of completion of online training or a certificate of proficiency as a remote pilot. You must always be in possession of your document justifying your pilot abilities when operating your UAS.

As a UAS pilot, you are required to comply with the training requirements provided by European regulations. Training and examinations are organized to allow you to obtain the necessary recognition of your skills. The certificates thus obtained are valid in any Member State of the European Union. These trainings cover basic knowledge to be mastered, in areas such as safety, aeronautical regulations, airspace restrictions, flight operating procedures, respect for privacy, etc.

The new European regulations no longer differentiate drones according to their use (recreational or commercial) but according to the risk they entail for aviation safety. This distinction takes the form of three distinct categories (Open, Specific and Certified), each with remote pilot skill requirements tailored to the type of operations performed.

Open Category – To fly a UAS in the Open category, the pilot must be aware of the manufacturer’s instructions by reading the user manual. They must also undergo training and pass a theory test depending on the operating subcategory in which they intend to fly.

– Sub-categories A1 and A3: The training and the examination are done online. If you pass the exam, proof of online training, valid for 5 years, will be issued to you.

– Sub-category A2: In this sub-category, you will need, in addition to holding proof of successful completion of the A1/A3 online training:

  • follow a practical training which can be carried out in a self-study manner in the operating conditions of sub-category A3 (at least 150m from inhabited areas);
  • pass an additional theoretical exam organized on the premises of the DGTA. This exam consists of a minimum of 30 questions covering the following subject.
    When creating your profile on  the exam platform, upload proof of successful completion of A1/A3 training.
  • after passing this additional OPEN A2 exam, download your OPEN A2 certificate via  the DRONE PORTAL by uploading a signed declaration  that states that you have acquired the skills required in the context of the required practical self-study.

– Drones of < 250 gr. (C0 or privately built): To fly these UAS, it is not necessary to obtain proof of completion of online training. You just need to make sure that you have read the user manual thoroughly. We also encourage you to take the free online training.

– Model Aircraft Clubs and Associations: Members of model aircraft clubs and associations are not required to comply with educational requirements to fly a UAS or model aircraft as part of club activities. They must nevertheless respect the training requirements defined by the model aircraft federations and clubs. On the other hand, for any operation outside the activities of the club, the model aircraft maker must fulfill the training conditions described above.

Location and cost of training and exams

Subcategories A1 and A3

The training and the theory test for subcategories A1 and A3 take place online. Registration, follow-up and issuance of proof of online training follow-up (after passing the online exam) are free. Registration via this link.

Subcategory A2

The practical training required within the framework of subcategory A2 can be carried out in self-training under the operating conditions of subcategory A3 (remote from any inhabited area). It is therefore free.

No training is provided by the DGTA for the additional theoretical examination of sub-category A2. Training can be offered by private organizations, independent of the DGTA, and for which they themselves determine the price.

The additional theoretical examination for sub-category A2 takes place at the premises of the FPS Mobility and Transport (Rue du Progrès in Brussels). It is also free. Registration via this link

Specific Category – To fly a UAS in this category, the skills you must have will be defined:

  • either by the standard scenario under which you will make a declaration and carry out the exploitations;
  • either according to the operational risk assessment, carried out by the UAS operator, and which will determine the training(s) that you may have to follow and the exams that you may have to pass in order to be able to carry out the flights in complete safety security.

To this end, a list of the entities responsible for theoretical and practical training with details of the training provided is made available by the DGTA.

Certified Category – To date, the competency requirements for the Certified category are not yet known.

Practical details of the exam – Measures related to Covid-19  – The FPS Mobility and Transport takes into account the special Covid-19 measures taken by the government when organizing its exams.

Planned health protection measures:

  • Follow the directions posted in the building.
  • Respect the rules of social distancing.
  • Wearing a mask is compulsory throughout the building and for the duration of your event.
  • If you arrive early (more than 15 minutes), please wait in front of the building.  You can enter the lobby   15 minutes before the exam start time.   No delay will be tolerated, if you arrive after the time indicated on your invitation, access to the exam room will be refused.
  • Go to the reception with  your invitation and your identity card . You will be prompted to proceed to the exam room.
  • Disinfect your hands   before entering the premises. A hydroalcoholic solution dispenser is at your disposal before the elevators.
  • The examination stations are arranged at a good distance from each other. As soon as you arrive,   take your seat and remain seated   until the end of your event.
  • When you’re done, head straight for the elevators.
  • Disinfect your hands when leaving the room.  A hydroalcoholic solution dispenser is at your disposal at the exit of the elevators.

If you wish to request an adjustment of the exam due to a disability, illness or learning disability, you must first contact   rpas.exam@mobilit.fgov.be.

Rooms and computer equipment are disinfected between each exam session.

Bicycle parking is available in the lobby of the building.

Prepare for each flight – Before each operation of your UAS, please observe the following rules:

  • Make sure you are physically fit to perform the scheduled operations.
  • Follow the instructions in your UAS user manual.
  • Check that your batteries are sufficiently charged and that your UAS is in good working order.
  • If you have added an accessory to your drone, be sure to weigh it to check that it does not exceed the maximum takeoff weight. Also check what the operating conditions are based on this new mass.
  • Check that the area you want to operate your drone in is not restricted or prohibited. The verification of these geographical areas can be done via  Droneguide and their conditions of access are available via the website of DG Air Transport.
  • Observe the environment of your operating area to identify obstacles to avoid and the presence of people who are not involved in the operation.
  • Always ensure that you comply with the operating conditions of the OPEN Limited sub-categories  that apply to your operations.

Now you can fly safely and responsibly.

DO’s and DON’Ts

The new European legislation defines different categories (called OPEN or SPECIFIC) according to the risk of UAS exploitation, and no longer according to the type of use of the UAS (leisure or professional). The definition of the category in relation to the risk is based on several elements, such as the flight height of the UAS, its distance from people, the visibility of the UAS and its weight, etc. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, and whatever category you operate your UAS in, it is important that you are aware of the risk and take care of your own safety and that of others.

Common rules – In order to guarantee the safety of people in the vicinity, as well as the proper use of your UAS, you must imperatively, whatever your operating category:

  • register as a UAS operator with  the DGTA (with the exception of toy drones and UAS under 250gr without sensor used only in the OPEN category);
  • read  your UAS user manual;
  • take out insurance;
  • verify in advance the presence of a UAS geographical area in the space where you want to operate your UAS;
  • respect the privacy of people not involved in the operation (do not take photos or film without prior authorization).

All these rules are cumulative and mandatory. They must therefore all be respected when operating your UAS. However, in addition to these common rules, there are specific obligations for each category of operation linked to the level of risk of the planned UAS operations.

The OPEN category – The OPEN category defines low-risk UAS operations. In order to properly exploit your UAS in this category, it is necessary to respect some basic principles additional to the common rules.

Do’s Don’ts
Take theoretical training and pass the exam Do not fly over or near airports, prisons, waterways and highways
Always fly with your UAS in sight (VLOS) Do not fly above 120m height
Fly away from people not involved in your operation Do not fly over gatherings of people, people or dwellings
Do not drop any object carried by your UAS

The SPECIFIC category – If your UAS operation carries an increased risk, then you move into another category of operation: the SPECIFIC category. The latter has additional basic principles different from the OPEN category.

Do’s Don’ts
Take theoretical AND  practical training Prohibition to fly a UAS under 16 years old
Always have with you either the confirmation of his declaration, or his authorization or his simplified UAS operator certificate (issued by the DGTA)
Fly with your UAS in sight (VLOS) or out of sight (BVLOS) Do not fly your UAS without being attentive and planning for your flight environment
Ability to fly above 120m height
Ability to fly over crowds of people Do not fly your UAS above assembly if it has a dimension greater than 3m
Ability to drop objects Prohibition of transporting people or dangerous materials


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

2021 – Antwerp Port to launch UTM system – appoints Unifly as industrial partner

2023 – Brussels Airport plans DronePort share acquisition

2024 – Unifly’s UTM Platform Advances Urban Air Mobility in Europe



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 Brussels, 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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