A 44-year-old man from Rotterdam has been fined 100 euros for not keeping his drone in sight during a drone flight over amusement park De Efteling in Kaatsheuvel (NL), April last year. The judge also considered it proven that the man flew over contiguous buildings, but did not impose a penalty, partly because the rules for flying over buildings have changed since the end of 2020.
The man made the flight in the afternoon of April 11, 2020. He had just bought the drone before. He consciously chose the Efteling for his first flight because his daughter, recovering from illness, has a special bond with the amusement park. The park was closed to the public due to the corona pandemic and he thought no one would be there.
He made recordings of the attractions George and the Dragon and the Python. Park employees discovered the drone and alerted the police. Later, the Public Prosecution Service offered him a transaction of 250 euros for flying over so-called "contiguous buildings" and not having a constant view of the drone. The man refused.
During the hearing, the man said that he thought he was well prepared for his flight. He knew, for example, that his drone was not allowed to fly above crowds or over contiguous buildings, but he assumed that this meant blocks of houses and not attractions of amusement parks.
In addition, the drone was equipped with a safety system that indicated where you may or may not fly. As a result, he also knew that flying was prohibited in a large part of the park due to the proximity of Gilze-Rijen airfield. The part of Efteling where he flew did not fall under that prohibited area. He did acknowledge that he did not have a constant view of his drone through the trees.
The Subdistrict Court finds it proven that the man flew over continuous buildings. According to the judge, this does not only include housing blocks, but also other large-scale buildings such as attractions in amusement parks. However, the judge does not impose a penalty on him for this.
In January, the European rules were amended so that it is no longer punishable for his type of lightweight drone to fly above contiguous buildings. The judge does find it punishable that the man has not kept a constant view of the drone, as he himself stated. The drone can hit something and fall down. This can have dangerous consequences for passers-by.