67 Finland

White with a blue cross extending to the edges of the flag. The vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag). The blue represents the thousands of lakes scattered across the country, while the white is for the snow that covers the land in winter.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Completed in 1868, the Uspenski Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Helsinki is the largest Russian Orthodox church in Western or Central Europe.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

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


According to Britannica, Finland adopted a republican constitution in 1919; it has been amended several times, notably in the mid-1990s. Legislative power rests in the unicameral parliament (Eduskunta), whose members are elected for four-year terms, and in the president, whose term is six years. Executive power is shared by the president and the Council of State, or cabinet, the meetings of which are chaired by the president. The president appoints the prime minister and the cabinet. A clause in the constitution stresses that government ministers are responsible to the parliament.

The six-year term of office and the possibility of reelection enhance the president’s powers and provide the country with an important source of stability, in view of the frequent changes of government caused by the multiparty system. In cases of complete deadlock, the president can appoint a nonpolitical caretaker government. Government bills can be introduced into the parliament in the president’s name; the president can refuse to sign a bill but must endorse it if it is passed in a subsequent parliament. The president also can dissolve the parliament, has certain decree-making powers, and is the head of the armed forces. Moreover, the president conducts the country’s foreign policy, but decisions on major treaties and questions of war and peace must be validated by the parliament.

Finland is divided into 19 maakunnat (regions; singular maakunta), including the autonomous region of Åland (Ahvenanmaa). Each regular maakunta is governed by a council. The country was divided into 12 läänit (provinces) until 1997, when that number was reduced to five, plus the autonomous territory of Åland, all of which were subdivided into maakunnat. In 2010, however, the läänit were abolished, and the existing maakunnat divisions became the primary administrative units. To aid with the transition, six regional state administrative agencies were established that same year to work with the local authorities. The regional state administrative agencies assisted in such areas as basic public services, health, safety, and environmental protection. Finland is further divided into more than 300 local authorities (municipalities), the majority of which have fewer than 10,000 residents.

Åland has special status as a demilitarized, self-governing region. The Act on the Autonomy of Åland (1920), settled by a decision of the League of Nations (1921), provided for Finnish sovereignty over Åland, predicated on a division of political power between the islands and the rest of Finland. Åland has its own parliament (Lagtinget), flag, and representative on the Nordic Council.

The Finnish judiciary is independent of the legislature and executive; judges are removable only by judicial sentence. There are local, municipal, and rural district courts (käräjäoikeus) held in cities and towns by the chief judge (oikeuspormestari) and assistants and in the country by a judge and jurors. Appeal from these courts lies to courts of appeal in Helsinki, Turku, Vaasa, Kuopio, Kouvola, and Rovaniemi. The Supreme Court (Korkein oikeus), in Helsinki, appoints the district judges and those of the appeal courts. The chancellor of justice (oikeuskansleri) is the supreme judicial authority and also acts as public prosecutor. The parliament appoints a solicitor general, who acts as an ombudsman. The Supreme Administrative Court (Korkein hallintooikeus) is the highest tribunal for appeals in administrative cases.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is an authority in license, registration and approval matters. The Agency will promote the transport system and safety of traffic and ensure that everyone in Finland has access to high-quality and secure communications connections and services. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) and certain functions of the Finnish Transport Agency merged to form the new Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom on 1 January 2019.


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. Finland eAIP

Airspace Classification

Airspace Classification

Drone Regulations

Drone laws

Register as a drone pilot and take the test – Each drone pilot must register as a drone operator and take the test.

Registration and theoretical examination

The new drone regulation harmonizes the rules on drones throughout the EU. For the Finnish drone users, the regulation introduces an obligation to register as a drone operator in the new national register. In the past, the obligation to notify on the use of remotely piloted aircraft has only applied to the professional users of drones. The registration is required according to the new rules, if you are flying a drone weighing 250 g or more or a drone with a camera. When you are flying a drone weighing less than 250 g and has no camera, or a drone that is defined as a toy, there is no requirement to register as a drone operator.

If the drone operator’s place of residence is in another EU member state, they must register in their home country. If the drone operator’s place of residence is outside EU, they must register in the first EU member state they intend to fly.

Registration costs 30€ for 1 year, 75€ for 3 years or 100€ for 5 years.

All drone pilots will have to familiarize themselves with the rules on flying a drone, and in most cases, pass an examination. For common drone hobbyists, passing the online theoretical examination is usually enough.

Familiarize yourself with the self-study material .

Users of the following unmanned aircraft types are not subject to the new EU registration requirements:

  • An unmanned aircraft with weight less than 250 grams and not equipped with a camera or some other sensor capable of capturing personal data,
  • An unmanned aircraft that is considered to be a toy within the meaning of Directive 2009/48/EC,
  • Control line model aircraft with a maximum take off mass of no more than 1 kg

The regulation to harmonize drone operation throughout the EU entered into force on 31 December 2020. According to the regulation, those using drones with a mass exceeding 250 g or drones equipped with a camera must register as a drone operator, familiarize themselves with drone operation and in most cases pass an examination. Operating in the ‘open’ category does not, however, require a separate operational authorization.

When planning a drone operation, you should always consider whether the operation could be adapted so that you could operate in accordance with the rules set for the ‘open’ category. If this is not possible, the operation is subject to authorization regardless of whether the operation falls under hobby, private or commercial activities.

You can apply for an operational authorisation in the ‘specific’ category based either on a predefined risk assessment (PDRA) published by EASA or your own specific operations risk assessment (SORA). Before that, click on the following link to check whether you will be able to adjust your operations to meet the requirements of the ‘open’ category Operators in the ‘specific’ category must always be registered  and the registration period must be valid during the operation.

In Finland there are many areas where flying a drone is prohibited (e.g nuclear power plants, oil refineries and state administration areas). The restrictions or geofencing set by the manufacturers of drones do not automatically protect the remote pilot from airspace infringements. Therefore it is essential for the pilot to check the active prohibited, danger and restricted areas before every operation. The official information on valid restrictions and prohibitions can be found on national regulations, decisions and via Aeronautical Information Service.

Prohibited and restricted areas

All aviation activities, besides State aviation, are forbidden in prohibited areas (P area) and restrictive areas (R area). For special reasons, Traficom may grant permission for flying in a prohibited area. For flying in a restricted area, a permission from The Finnish Defence Forces is required. Information on permanent prohibited and restrictive areas can be found on the Government Decree on areas where aviation is restricted.

The drone pilot also has to take into account the temporary airspace restrictions that are established continuously. These areas may be established for ensuring safety during public events or military training activities. Official information on temporary airspace restrictions are published in the form of AIP Supplement in Aeronautical Information Service’s website ais.fi. In addition to the official information, the temporary restrictions can be seen on Aviamaps website.

In Helsinki, there are many Prohibited areas where flying is not allowed without a special permit granted by Traficom. These prohibited areas are EFP35 Meilahti, EFP40 Munkkiniemi and EFP50 Kruununhaka.

Helsinki no drone zone 1

Helsinki No Drone Zone 2

Helsinki No Drone Zone 3

It is not allowed to fly in Prohibited area EFP45 Luonnonmaa without a special permit granted by Traficom.

Turku No Drone. Zone

Other permanent Prohibited areas, where flying is not allowed without a special permit granted by Traficom, are EFP20 Loviisa, EFP25 Olkiluoto, EFP30 Kilpilahti ja EFP55 Hanhikivenniemi. However, no permission is required for flights specifically related to the maintenance, operation or use of the facility located in the prohibited areas EFP20, EFP25, EFP30 and EFP55. More information on permanent Prohibited and Restricted areas can be found on Government Decree on areas where aviation is restricted.

Restrictive UAS geographical zones

Traficom can establish UAS geographical zones to prohibit or restrict operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). For the safety of manned aviation, restrictive UAS geographical zones have been established around airports, airfields and heliports, where flying a UAS is only allowed by complying with the requirements and conditions of the UAS geographical zone in question. If there are two overlapping restrictive UAS geographical zones, both restrictions and conditions must be complied with.

From December 31st 2020, the restrictive UAS geographical zones have replaced the safety distances set out in the national regulation OPS M1-32 around airports, airfields and heliports. More details on UAS geographical zones.

Contact information on Air Traffic Control units can be found on Aeronautical Information Publication, part AD2. Information about uncontrolled airfields can be found on website Lentopaikat.fi. Information on heliports can be found on Aeronautical Information Publication, part AD3.

Flying near the eastern border

The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) requires a drone pilot to submit a flight plan no later than 1 hour prior to planned operation. The ADIZ area is visible on Aeronautical charts. Instructions for submitting a flight plan. Flying in the restricted area EFR100 that follows the eastern state border, always requires a special permit from The Finnish Defense Forces.

Taking photographs and inspecting military zones is prohibited

Taking photographs and inspecting military zones from the air requires authorization. Permits are issued by the Defense Command. In Helsinki, around Suomenlinna and Kaartinkortteli for example, taking photos of the buildings of THE Finnish Defense Forces is prohibited. In addition, flying inside permanent or temporary restricted areas (R areas) always requires a special permit from The Finnish Defense Forces. Instructions for aerial photographers

Model aircraft clubs may apply for an authorization that will allow them to deviate from the ‘open’ category requirements. In addition to this, UAS geographical zones allowing more relaxed rules than those of the ‘open’ category, in terms of flight altitude, for example, have been set up to make club activities possible.

Members of model aircraft clubs may continue flying their drones and model aircraft in accordance with the national aviation regulation OPS M1-32 until 1 January 2023. In the EU Drone Regulation, this transition period has been specified to pertain to club activities, in particular, meaning that this transition period does not apply to hobbyists flying drones alone. In addition to the national aviation regulation, club members must also follow their club rules and instructions in order for the operation to be considered aircraft club activity.

Despite the transition period, model aircraft club members must register according to the same rules as other drone users.

Regulation OPS M1-32 sets rules for flying model aircraft until 1 January 2023.

Restrictive and prohibitive UAS geographical zones apply to all kinds of Unmanned Aircrafts. UAS geographical zones

Changes in flying a drone starting from 1 January 2024


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

2022 – New Aerospace Research Center to Drive Drone and UAM Innovation in Finland

2023 – Study on the Future of Helsinki’s Urban Air Mobility


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 to film over Helsinki, 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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