The world of drone shows offers mesmerizing visual experiences, aerial artistic creations and luminous magic in the night sky.

These aerial performances hide strict regulations and essential safety standards to ensure that these shows take place safely and in compliance with the law.

In this article, we'll explore the current regulations for the use of illuminated drones, the licenses required, and tips for ensuring the security of these shows.

Regulations and authorizations for a drone light show

Drone shows are not simply a matter of artistic creation. They come under the heading of aviation, and are therefore subject to strict regulations.

Illuminated drones must respect the airspace and flight rules established by each country's civil aviation authority.

It is therefore essential to stay informed and obtain the appropriate authorizations to fly in specific areas, especially when the show takes place near large structures and establishments such as airports, or in urban areas.

From one country to another, anyone wishing to perform a drone show must hold a license to carry out flights, regardless of the type of flight, whether it's considered a commercial flight, to promote a brand or product, or a flight for personal use at a special event.

These licenses generally include professional drone pilot certification and specific authorizations for nocturnal performance.

drotek night session drone light show

What authorizations and certifications are required for a light show in Europe ?

In Europe, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) defines all the regulations required for local authorities to authorize a show.

These regulations are based on a risk analysis using the SORA method.

The SORA (Specific Operation Risk Assessment) method is used to analyze the level of risk involved in a drone operation, and to define appropriate safety measures.

What you need to provide are a description of the company carrying out the show, a description of the technical solution used, a risk analysis, an emergency response plan and, finally, a declaration of conformity issued by the drone manufacturer.

Using this SORA method, we obtain what is call the SAIL (Specific Assurance Integrity Level) index, resulting from the combination of two types of risk: "air risk" and "ground risk".

This index is ranked from the lowest (SAIL I) to the highest (SAIL VI).

There are different types of certification to limit risks, so it's important to find out which ones are useful for a drones show.

For example, to obtain SAIL II authorization, the IO Star must comply with step 9 of the SORA relating to the enhanced containment system.

To do this, the EASA has published an easily-available document describing the requirements for advanced containment: "MOC-2511-01". Drotek certifies that the IO Star complies with this document.

What authorizations are available in France ?

In France, the national aviation authority is the DSAC (Direction de la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile), which depends on the DGAC (Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile).

At local level, it is recommended to check with local authorities and prefectures to obtain authorization for night flights.

Several other factors are involved :

For flights with the public, you will need to obtain a request from the regional DGAC.

The city hall is also involved, as are airports and heliports if the show takes place in one of their zones.

To cover any risk of damage caused by drones, whether bodily or material, during the show, it is necessary to take out specialized drone insurance.

Weather as a first guarantee of safety

In addition to regulatory compliance, the safety of drone shows is a top priority. Here are a few tips to ensure safe performances.

Each of the drone show is meticulously planned in advance, taking account of the weather.

It's essential to be prepared for emergency situations in case of adverse weather conditions.

A sudden change in wind speed can cause severe horizontal deviation and compromise flight safety. It is therefore necessary to assess the wind before a flight.

Depending on these weather conditions, the flight zone is more or less extended to allow the drones to adapt to the winds.

To maintain good control during flight, the IO Star drone's trajectories are limited.

Communicate with all show participants

Maintaining clear and constant communication before and during the light show is vital between crew members, flight director and drone operators to coordinate movements and formation changes.

The public must also be clearly and precisely informed about the nature of the light show, the safety rules to be observed, and the areas to be avoided.

This helps avoid incidents and ensures a positive experience for the public and event organizers.


Visit the site of the drone light show

It's also important to consider all possible obstacles before and during the show.

To achieve this, the organizers visit the show site prior to any operation, to visualize the area where the fleet will be operating and to detect any potential difficulties (obstacles, overflight, take-off zone, magnetic interference, etc...).

The site visit helps to determine the location of the spectators, which is a key element in the creation and final orientation of the fleet.

Finally, it determines the network architecture: the number of access points to be used, their orientation and position, etc.

The actor of the show : the IO STAR drone

Our IO Star drones are regularly maintained, ensuring that they are in perfect working order before every flight.

This exhaustive procedure includes careful checking of batteries, sensors, lighting components and other essential elements on the drone to ensure optimum performance and enhanced safety during aerial missions.

With the IO Star drone, Drotek has positioned itself as a specialist player in the European drone show market.

Rigorous compliance with European regulations and standards makes it easy to obtain flight authorizations, and enables IO Star users to fly in complete safety.

Drotek is a French company located in South of France. The group has 2 poles of expertise : Electronics  Drone Light Show

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