Operating small planes, helicopters and drones around Tallinn became more flexible

Posted on 23. Apr 2024

On 18 April, Estonian Air Navigation Services introduced a renewed Control Zone in Tallinn that changes flight conditions for VFR and drone pilots. The decreased Control Zone has created additional areas for more flexible operation of small planes, helicopters and drones.

Vana ja uue lähiala piirid

The Control Zone is a part of the controlled airspace surrounding the airport, with more restricted flying rules, for example, submitting a flight plan, having a two-way radio communication and following the instructions of the air traffic controller are necessary.

Before, the Control Zone extended to approximately 20 km radius around Tallinn Airport, whereas now it is more aligned with the air traffic needs and possibilities in Tallinn area. Various locations that used to be within the boundaries of the Control Zone, were excluded from it and flying in these areas has become more flexible.

"Air traffic and procedures have changed a lot over time and the size and shape of the current Control Zone no longer corresponded to actual needs," said Mihkel Haug, head of the air traffic control department of the Estonian Air Navigation Services. "An unreasonably large Control Zone became a needless extra burden for both pilots and air traffic controllers. Consequently, the air traffic capacity around Tallinn Airport will improve."

Haug stressed that the change has been thoroughly analysed in regards to safety concerns. Throughout the preparations, feedback from pilots, as well as impacts on safety, smooth flight operations and the environment were considered. Concerning environment, new areas have emerged where pilots are able to choose shorter flight trajectories, thereby reducing the environmental impact.

The change enables drone pilots to fly higher than before in areas outside the Control Zone and with less coordination. Drone operating instructions are available in the drone map application, which is available at