BAZL – Bundesamt für Zivilluftfahrt:
Drones are remotely controlled, usually very small aircraft. They are subject to the same legislation as model aircraft. In principle, drones weighing less than 30 kilograms may be operated without a permit, as long as the operator (or “pilot”) maintains visual contact with the device at all times. It is prohibited to operate a drone above gatherings of people.
Regulations governing the operation of drones and model aircraft
As long as the operator (or “pilot”) maintains direct eye contact with the drone or model aircraft at all times, it may be operated without the need for a permit.
If an operator wants to incorporate auxiliary devices such as binoculars or video goggles in order to extend the natural visual range, a permit has to be obtained from the FOCA (Licensing procedure).
Within the visual range of the “pilot”, operation with video goggles and similar devices is permitted as long as a second operator monitors the flight and if necessary is able to intervene in the operation of the drone or model aircraft at any time. The second operator must be on site at the same location as the “pilot”.
Automated flights (autonomous operation) within the visual range of the “pilot” are permitted as long as the latter is able to intervene if necessary in the operation of the device at any time.
Without exception, the operation of drones and model aircraft is strictly prohibited within game reserves and bird sanctuaries.
The recording of aerial images is permitted as long as the operator duly observes the regulations governing the protection of military installations. The operator must also observe the principle of protection of privacy and the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act.
In principle, drones may not be operated above, or within a radius of 100 metres from, gatherings of people (Further information and licensing procedure).
Anyone who operates a drone or model aircraft with a weight of more than 500 grams is required to take out liability insurance cover in the amount of at least 1 million Swiss francs to cover any damages that may be caused.
Restrictions apply with respect to the operation of drones and model aircraft in the vicinity of airfields and airports. For example, it is prohibited to operate such devices at a distance of less than 5 kilometres from runways.
Cantonal and municipal authorities may impose additional restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft (Example of the Canton of Geneva).
As before, a permit does not have to be obtained from the FOCA for public air shows at which exclusively model aircraft and drones are on show.
more and revised information can be found under:
Having a model aircraft insurance is recommended.