Due to so many incidents reported on a daily basis about the bad drone behaviour specially incidents relating to close encounters with aircraft and disrupting other civil activities, the department of transportation United States of America will require the registration of all drones including the hobby drones. The ruling is expected to come down in Oct and will cover every type of unmanned aerial system.
With millions of drones already covering the airspace and FAA predicting than more than a million drones will become Christmas present, the authorities have not yet clearly indicated that how the regulations will take in place but some sort of measures have to be taken in place to make the sky more safe. Both the DOT and FAA will have to work hand in hand and set an example for rest of the world
One Year Licences
As part of the regulation pilots will now be required to hold a CAA approved remote pilot licence. Pilots must also obtain a 12 month letter of approval in order to operate their drone. Drone sellers are not permitted to sell to pilots without making them aware of the new SACAA regulations, however a proof of licence is not imperative to purchase of these aircraft.
All RPAS pilots must tune into the air traffic services for all controlled airspaces your drone will be entering. Pilots must also ensure all flights are recorded and in a log book.
The new regulations have clear rules on where drones are allowed to fly. Drones are not permitted to fly more than 120m above ground nor are they permitted to fly within 50m of a person or crowd or building, which include nuclear plants, courts of law, police stations and crime scenes.
Drones are not to land or take off from any public road unless given clearance by the SACAA.
RPAS pilots need to pay careful attention to specific airspace rules when flying. All drones need to keep clear of manned aircrafts, ensuring they create no obstructions in their path. Drones are also prohibited from performing aerial displays or flying in formation, towing other aircrafts or carrying cargo.
While these new regulations are strict, Smith was adamant that they will not affect Cape Townâ€™s plans to use drone operators following a number of successful tests. He continues on to say that these new regulations will more than likely affect the hobbyist pilots more than companies who would be able to afford the R50 000 licence fee. While Cape Town is the only municipality to take steps in RPAS use, we are keen to see how these new drone regulations will affect future operations in and around South Africa.