Flight rules in Spain
Current legislation classifies ultralight aircrafts in three different categories, A, B and C, these including helicopters, seaplanes, small planes, etc. However, any aircraft needing a physical effort from the pilot or the passenger, whether to take off or to land (such as hangliders, paragliders, powered paragliders and the like) are not considered ultralight aircrafts but designated as “aerodinos“, a more general concept including all kind of aircrafts, (with no equivalent translation in English).
This means that there is no official qualification for free flying aircrafts and therefore, in this sense no requirement is compulsory to do paragliding or hangliding.
Despite this, AVLE strongly recommend having both a good insurance (covering public liability and accidents) and a pilot qualification from your own country.
Conversely, qualifications and other requirements are needed to practice as a business activity, (teaching, tandem, etc.). This point is particularly difficult because of the seventeen different federations existing in Spain, each one corresponding to a Community and the Spanish Federation, who are the responsible of all these qualifications and requirements. For further information, please contact with the Federation of your interest.
Minimum altitudes for free flying are those considered in SERA 5005, section f, for VFR (Visual Flight Rules), December 2018 document, namely:
- f) Except when necessary for take-off or landing, or except by permission from the competent authority, a VFR flight shall not be flown:
(1) Over congested areas of cities,towns or settlements or over an open-air assembly of persons at a height less than 300 m (1 000 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft;
(2) Elsewhere than as specified in (1), at a height less than 150 m (500 ft) above the ground or water, or 150 m (500 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 150 m (500 ft) from the aircraft.
In addition to the previous paragraph, Spanish airspace authority (ENAIRE) establishes the following specifications:
- Item (2): Elsewhere than as specified in (1), at a height less than 50m (150 ft) above the ground or water…
- The following VFR operations will be allowed under the altitudes established in SERA:
Hot-Air Balloon activities, model airplanes, RPAS (remotely piloting aircraft system), ultralight aircrafts and gliders in soaring as long as they don’t entail any risk or annoyance to people or goods on the ground.
Finally, free flying is not allowed in controlled airspace areas. Extensive information on the subject can be found on the INSIGNIA website:
If you come to fly to Spain you can locate the flying site on this map and learn about the restrictions if necessary.