Ny-Ålesund is potentially a good place to operate unmanned scientific aircrafts due to the low frequency of other types of flights, and low population density on the ground. However, since use of unmanned systems almost always requires the use of a radio transmitter/receiver for communication, there is also a general wish to keep this scientific activity at a reasonably low level. To avoid unnecessary flights, collaboration and coordination is strongly encouraged. Please familiarise yourself with past, present and future unmanned flight activity by research groups in Ny-Ålesund to ensure that you don’t duplicate other campaigns.  

Recreational/hobby use of drones in Ny-Ålesund is not allowed.

Using unmanned aircraft is not without risk. To keep the risk levels acceptable it is important that the teams operating in the Ny-Ålesund area do this in accordance  with Norwegian legislation and local regulations, and that all necessary permits are obtained.

Below you will find an overview of the agreements and regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft in and near Ny-Ålesund.

Photo: Rune Storvold (NORCE)


Norwegian civil aviation authorities – CAA

All unmanned aircraft operators planning to fly in Ny-Ålesund need to obtain a flight permit from the Norwegian civil aviation authorities. The only exception to this rule is RPAS cat. RO1 operations which calls for CAA to be notified before the operation starts and after it ends.

Information about the Norwegian regulations for unmanned aircraft

The operator must submit the appropriate forms to the CAA (depending on RPAS operative category):

For BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) and BRLOS (Beyond Radio Line of Sight) the application for flight permit must be submitted no later than 3 months before the start of planned flight operations. For VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) flights the application must be submitted no later than 4 weeks before the first planned flight.

Governor of Svalbard

Any planned activities with unmanned aircraft must be applied for to the Governor of Svalbard. This should be done while registering the research projects in the RiS database.

Norwegian National Security Authority

A permit from the Norwegian National Security Authority is needed if any airborne sensor systems are used. The exception here are RPAS with photo/video sensors ONLY, operated within line of sight (VLOS), and outside/away from restricted installations and areas. Use of other airborne sensors from manned or unmanned platforms is subject to approval. This also includes RPAS operations beyond line of sight (BLOS).

Application to be sent to post@nsm.stat.no 

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Chicago Convention Article 8 demands that: No aircraft capable of being flown without a pilot shall be flown without a pilot over the territory of a contracting State without special authorization by that State and in accordance with the terms of such authorization.

Any foreign operators must therefore obtain an approval for operating over Norwegian territory. In addition, a traffic permission must be obtained for doing aerial work. Both these are given by the CAA as part of the operational approval. A fee is charged for the Traffic permission of NOK 2000,-

Operators affiliated with their government or that may be defined as State operators, also need a diplomatic clearance from the Norwegiain Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


All operators of unmanned aircraft in Norway shall hold a valid insurance covering damage on third parties. Each UAS operator must provide proof of insurance in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), or equivalent, of 750,000, in accordance with the European Union established policy of EC785/2004, Article 7.1.

Radio Frequencies

Ny-Ålesund is a radio silent area within a 20 km radius from the centre of town, and there are radio frequency restrictions in this zone. Permission from Nkom is obligatory for use of any frequency in the range 2 –32GHz in this zone. Alternative frequencies, like 433 MHz or 868 MHz might be used for the control of equipment on unmanned aircraft provided certain conditions are met. No frequency can interfere with ongoing scientific measurements in Ny-Ålesund.

Read more about restrictions on radio frequency use in Ny-Ålesund  

Kings Bay and the local Traffic Information Zone (TIZ)

The operator must sign an agreement with the local AFIS (Kings Bay AFIS in Ny-Ålesund and Longyear AFIS) regarding use of airspace/runway and how to handle communication between AFIS and the operator during flying. It is the operator’s responsibility to provide means of contact during flight operation.

Contact: airport@kingsbay.no

Photo: NORCE drones

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