Flying at night with a drone is still formally not allowed in the Netherlands, even since the introduction of European regulations. Those who still want to fly outside the Uniform Daylight Period (UDP) must first apply for an exemption from the Inspectorate Environment and Transport (ILT). It has recently also been possible to apply for a long-running night fly waiver.

Outside UDP

The ban on flying with drones outside the daylight period (from fifteen minutes after sunset to fifteen minutes before sunrise) stems from existing Dutch rules for so-called visual flight rules (VFR) flights. In European drone regulations, there is no longer talk about a ban on night flying, but on this point the Dutch rules govern the European.

This means that in the Netherlands it is only allowed to make night flights on the basis of an exemption. ROC holders already had that option, but the waiver had to be reapplied for every occasion, with the necessary costs and lead times that would entail. But recently, the ILT also offers the possibility to apply for a long-term waiver. For this, an adjustment must be made in the operational manual. After that, the cost is €261 to adjust the ROC permit.

The exemptions issued are valid until the end of 2021: from that date, ROC operators must, in principle, have switched to the new operating licences, for operators in the Specific category. How by that time the transposition of a long-running overnight flight waiver has not yet been known. Those who already fly in the Specific category can also request the exemption.

Amendment of the law

According to the ministry, work is underway on a legislative change that will completely eliminate the ban on drone flights outside the daylight period. But as long as this is not regulated by law, operators need an exemption.