Up to 30% of drone permit applications rejected last month

Up to 30% of drone permit applications rejected last month
CAAS permits are required for drones weighing up to 7kg if they are flown within 5km of an aerodrome, or at an altitude higher than 200ft (61m) above mean sea level when they are 5km or more outside of an aerodrome.

Some 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the 70 applications for a permit to fly a drone last month were rejected due to safety concerns.

These 14 to 20 applications were mainly turned down because of the risk of manned aircraft flying nearby, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo told Parliament yesterday.

She was responding to a question by Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Nee Soon GRC) on the regulations for drone use.

Unmanned aircraft weighing 7kg or less require a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) if they are flown within 5km of an aerodrome, said Mrs Teo, who is also Senior Minister of State for Finance.

A permit is also required for drone flights flying at an altitude higher than 200ft (61m) above mean sea level when they are 5km or more outside of an aerodrome. The increasing use of drones has also prompted the Transport Ministry to review regulations for drone safety and security.

The CAAS saw 70 applications for drone usage permits last month, up from the average of 12 a month last year.

Led by the Ministry of Transport and the CAAS, along with other government ministries and agencies, the review will assess if different levels of oversight are needed for different uses of drones.

It will also look at whether there is a need to register unmanned aircraft, as well as locations where such systems can or cannot operate.

Asked by Dr Lim when the review will be concluded, Mrs Teo said the extensive regulations have to be looked at before the Government can give a firm timeline.

"Consultations with the relevant stakeholders are taking place over the next few months," she said.

"As we are doing the review, we are also taking a closer look at countries such as the United States and Australia, which are similarly looking into their regulatory framework because there are lessons to be learnt and experiences to be shared."


This article was first published on February 13, 2015.
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