Can You Fly A Drone in Chernobyl? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Chernobyl?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Chernobyl

Can You Fly a Drone in Chernobyl?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Chernobyl. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine (SAAU), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Chernobyl’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • All drone operators must strictly adhere to a maximum altitude limit of 400 feet (120 meters).
  • Special permissions must be obtained for flights exceeding the maximum altitude limit, and such permissions are granted under exceptional circumstances only.

Distance Restrictions

  • All drone operators must maintain a minimum distance of 15 kilometers from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant for safety and security reasons.
  • Drones are required to fly at a height not exceeding 400 feet (120 meters) above ground level to avoid interference with any aerial activity related to research or maintenance efforts in the exclusion zone.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Prohibited Activities: Direct flight over the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and its immediate surroundings is strictly forbidden. Any violation of this airspace can result in severe penalties and criminal charges.
  • Actions Required: All drone operators must obtain a special permit from the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management before any drone flight within the Exclusion Zone. Without this permit, drone operation is considered illegal and may lead to fines or imprisonment.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must obtain explicit consent from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone authorities before capturing any type of photographic or video data, ensuring that the privacy rights of individuals and entities operating within the zone are not infringed upon.
  • Data captured by drones, including all videos and photographs, should be used exclusively for the purpose stated in the permit application. Any distribution, sharing, or use of the data for other purposes is strictly prohibited to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the area.

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must obtain a special permit from the Ukrainian Government, specifically from the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, before any flight within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is conducted.
  • Commercial drone flights within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone must adhere strictly to designated flight paths and altitude restrictions, which are specified in the permit, to avoid interference with ongoing scientific research, monitoring activities, and security protocols.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

Violating drone regulations can result in hefty fines and potential legal consequences. In many countries, fines can range anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the violation. For instance, unauthorized drone flights in restricted areas or those that result in invasion of privacy may be subject to higher fines. In some severe cases, the offender may also face imprisonment if the drone is used for illegal activities or causes serious harm.

Beside financial penalties, other consequences may also include confiscation of the drone and the revocation of your drone operating license, if you have one. For repeat offenders, the penalties could be even more severe. It’s crucial to understand and adhere to the drone regulations of each specific country to avoid such penalties. Remember, the rules apply to everyone and ignorance of the law is not an accepted excuse.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Chernobyl

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Proper Planning: Research about the area thoroughly and plan your flight path in advance to avoid any restricted areas, unpredictable weather, or potential obstacles.
  2. Radiation Protection: Employ drones fitted with radiation detectors to monitor exposure levels and ensure operator safety.
  3. Reliable Communication: Invest in top-grade communication devices to maintain constant contact with your drone, considering the challenging environment of Chernobyl.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Perform regular equipment checks to ensure your drone is in optimal condition, given the harsh conditions it will encounter.
  5. Emergency Protocol: Have a comprehensive emergency plan in place, including potential landing sites and methods to recover the drone in case of malfunction or loss of control.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Chernobyl?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Chernobyl, as long as you adhere to any additional safety and legal guidelines, including those that may specifically apply for nighttime drone operations. Always ensure your actions are respectful and law-abiding.

Can You Bring a Drone to Chernobyl?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Chernobyl. However, remember to respect local regulations and guidelines for drone operation. Always ensure your activities do not interfere with the ongoing scientific research or safety measures in the area.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Chernobyl?

Yes, you need a permit to fly a drone in Chernobyl. The Ukrainian government requires drone operators to secure a special permit for Chernobyl to ensure safety and respect for the historical site.


Before you launch your drone into the Chernobyl skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Chernobyl but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Positano, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Adirondacks or exploring drone opportunities around Thailand, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

Leave a Comment