Camera drones and other unmanned aviation at Aalto University



In Finland, the use of camera drones and other unmanned aircrafts is regulated by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency TRAFICOM.

The valid Trafi aviation regulation OPS M1-32 on remotely piloted and model aircraft entered into force on 7 December 2018. 

Source: (

Regulations in aviation standards:

  • Use of remotely piloted aircraft and model aircraft (OPS M1-32)
  • Sections 2 (definitions), 9 (exceptions to the aviation regulations) and 11 (airspace restrictions), chapter 5 (need of commander, commander’s responsibilities, flight planning and execution), as well as sections 76 (use of flight locations and other areas), 136 (liability for damages) and 159 (activities endangering flight safety) of the aviation act (Ilmailulaki 864/2014)
  • Government decree on areas where aviation is restricted (Valtioneuvoston asetus 930/2014 ilmailulta rajoitetuista alueista)
  • Aviation insurance regulation (EC) No 785/2004
  • Plant protection products act (Laki kasvinsuojeluaineista) 1563/2011; prohibition on aerial spraying
  • Private life, sanctity of the home, data protection…
  • General order and security
  • Commercial rights management
  • Noise, nature conservation and other environmental issues
  • Defining priorities in situations where (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, RPAS)
    • other activities are prevented due to RPAS activities
    • other activities prevent RPAS activities
    • operators engaged in simultaneous activity (also RPAS/RPAS) cause a hazard

Regulations outside aviation standards:

Significance of regulations at Aalto

For the purposes of Aalto, any aircraft referred to here falls under the definition of an ‘unmanned aircraft’. Regulations concerning model aircrafts are not applicable, as Aalto does not operate aircrafts for recreational or sports purposes.

Unmanned aircraft

An unmanned aircraft is an aircraft which is meant to be flown without a pilot on board (Trafi). Unmanned aircrafts are often equipped for certain functions, such as photographing or various measuring tasks. Remotely-piloted aircrafts are a subcategory of unmanned aircrafts. They are piloted by a remote pilot, or have the ability to allow intervention by a remote pilot at any stage of flight.

Model aircraft

Model aircrafts are unmanned aircrafts that are used for recreational or sports purposes. Model aircrafts can be either remotely piloted or autonomous, so-called free-flight model aircrafts..

Consequently, no aircraft used in Aalto operations can be categorised as a model aircraft.

RPAS aerial work

Aerial work refers to all other operations except recreational or sports activities. For example, RPAS flying for teaching purposes constitutes aerial work, whether or not a fee is charged for the operation.

Notification requirement

User of a remotely piloted aircraft must submit a notification to Trafi before using the remotely piloted aircraft for the first time, and the operator must keep the information up to date!

The notification is submitted via an electronic form: Notification on the use of remotely piloted aircraft.

Trafi must be notified of any changes in the submitted information without delay.

The RPAS operator notification costs €20 / year, in accordance with Ministry of Transport and Communications decree (1245/2016) (however, one notification may include several aircraft).

Trafi must be notified of all accidents and abnormal situations involving an unmanned aircraft.

Internal Aalto register of unmanned aircrafts

A notification of all existing devices must be submitted to Emergency Preparedness Specialist Katja Paasikivi with the same information as for the register of Trafi.

Remote pilot and piloting an aircraft

Remote pilots must be able to operate aircraft safely and be familiar with emergency procedures. The person responsible for a remotely piloted flight shall be at least 18 years of age.

The flight must be a visual line-of-sight operation (VLOS), i.e. a direct visual contact must be maintained with the remotely piloted aircraft at all times.

The flying height must be under 150 metres from the ground or water level.

Flying a remotely piloted aircraft over an open-air assembly of persons or over a densely populated area is only permitted under the conditions of section 3.1.15 of OPS M1-32:

  • Maximum mass of the aircraft must not exceed seven (7) kilograms.
  • The aircraft must be flown at such an altitude and equipped so that risks to outsiders and their property are minimal.

·         The aircraft must be flown in direct visual contact.

  • The operator of the remotely piloted aircraft shall have drawn up a written safety assessment for the specific operation.
  • The operator shall have drawn up written operational instructions that include a description of both normal operations and emergency/malfunction procedures. Instructions for drafting a safety assessment operating procedures can be found on Trafi’s website: ‘RPAS Operations Manual’.


According to the terms of Aalto University’s insurance policy, the maximum take-off mass must not exceed 20 kilograms. This is an exemption to the general rule of 25 kilograms.

However, the take-off mass may not exceed seven kilograms, if the aircraft is operated over an open-air assembly of persons or over a densely populated area. In practice, all Aalto campus areas and the entire Capital Region are ‘densely populated areas’. 

Flight areas

In Aalto Otaniemi campuses, there are no areas where flying an unmanned aircraft is restricted. Nevertheless, please note that occasional, temporary flight restrictions may occur. The temporary flight restrictions will be declared beforehand.

Exception to Aalto’s internal aviation restriction areas.

It is strictly prohibited to operate an unmanned aircraft in the premises of Metsähovi Radio Observatory (address: Metsähovintie 114, 02540 Kylmälä). An exception to this prohibition can be made in certain cases (for example, flights operated in research purposes). Only Metsähovi Radio Observatory can grant a permission to operate aircrafts in its premises. For further information and permissions, please contact Laboratory Engineer Juha Kallunki ([email protected]).

When operating an unmanned aircraft, the Government decree on areas where aviation is restricted (Valtioneuvoston asetus ilmailulta rajoitetuista alueista 930/2014) must be observed.

Do not encompass areas where aviation would be restricted. The closest prohibited areas are: EFP35 MEILAHTI, EFP40 MUNKKINIEMI and EFP50 KRUUNUNHAKA. Of the danger zones, especially EFD139A ARABIA (see D zones) must be observed.

Insurance policies

Operating unmanned aircrafts such as camera drones as part of the core activities of the university is covered under the liability insurance policies. The insurance policy is similar to other Aalto University insurance policies, i.e. it includes a sizeable excess, but disasters are compensated for. Operators must understand that so-called strict liability is applied to the activity:

Strict liability, i.e. no-fault liability, from which there is no exclusion even by demonstrating that all measures were taken to avoid damages.

In the Aalto insurance policy, there are certain special conditions imposed on aviation activities that must be met to ensure the validity of the insurance policy:

  • The take-off mass of the aircraft, including load, equipment and fuel, must not exceed 20 kg
  • The aircraft may not be jet-propelled
  • The aircraft may not be used for recreational or sporting purposes: Aalto University’s insurance policy covers only teaching and research operations!

·         The liability insurance of Aalto covers also Aalto University students when they are engaging in activities included in the curriculum while operating an aircraft.

·         The flight must be a visual line-of-sight operation (VLOS).

  • All written permits required for this activity have been acquired and are valid, and all the laws and decrees applicable to this activity have been complied with.
  • The person engaging in aviation must meet the requirements concerning training and skills laid down in legislation and regulations.

Additional information (read before flight!)

Contact persons for schools and units

The following persons may be contacted directly in questions concerning instructions and procedures related to aviation, as well as available equipment and user rights:

  • Aalto ARTS

Antti Huittinen, +358505344531, [email protected]

Postal address

P.O Box 31000, FI-00076 AALTO

Street address

Väre, Otaniementie 14, 02150 Espoo

  • Aalto ENG, Department of Built Environment

Milka Nuikka, Laboratory Manager, +358504066288, [email protected]

Postal address

P.O. Box 14100, FI-00076 AALTO

Street address

Otakaari 4, 02150 Espoo, Finland

Administrator of the internal Aalto register

  • Aalto University, Emergency Preparedness Specialist

Katja Paasikivi, +358503064380, [email protected]

Postal address

P.O. Box 18000, FI-00076 AALTO

Street address

Otakaari 24, 02150 Espoo


Download the free Droneinfo app!

Mobile application for drone pilots is now available for download on Android and iOS devices.

This service is provided by:

Aalto University Security and Lobby Services

Kampuksen turvallisuudesta vastaa Aalto-yliopiston turvallisuus- ja aulapalvelut yhteistyössä Aalto CRE:n kanssa.
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