Operators who fly drones more than 7kg in weight will require permit after new laws kick in

Operators who fly drones more than 7kg in weight will require permit after new laws kick in

SINGAPORE - As the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones become more popular, operators who fly an unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 7kg will soon be required to obtain a permit, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on Monday.

Drones weighing less than 7kg or less can be flown for recreational and private uses without a permit unless they meet certain restrictions.

This and other upcoming legislation will be in place to mitigate risks associated with operating drones as they are used for a range of purposes, such as the delivery of goods, aerial filming and photography, search and rescue, and inspection of infrastructure and facilities.

The Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Bill was introduced for First Reading in Parliament on April 13 by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in Parliament on Monday. It aims to streamline current regulations while ensuring the safe usage of such devices.  

With the new regulations, drone operators will not be allowed to carry dangerous materials and substances such as weapons, bio-chemicals or radioactive material, or to discharge any substance from a drone without a permit.

Other measures include gazetting security-sensitive locations as 'protected areas' to prohibit unauthorised overflying or photography by unmanned aircraft. Drones would be barred from flying over 'special event areas' - such as certain venues of the Southeast Asian Games 2015 - without a permit. Drone operators will also be required to get a permit for flying drones within 5km of an aerodrome, regardless of height, or at altitudes above 200ft (61m) above mean sea level when they are 5km or more outside of an aerodrome 

A permit is also required for drones used for commercial purposes or specialised services, such as surveying or flying display performances.

CAAS says these new laws will help to facilitate the use of drones while minimising the associated safety and security risks associated with their use.

The enhancements to the regulatory and permit framework are expected to take effect on 1 June 2015.

CAAS will also set up an online permit application system to serve as a "one-stop shop" and issue all the permits granted in a package through the same online system after this date.

Under the enhanced regulatory framework, a permit will be required to operate an unmanned aircraft under any of the circumstances described below:

CategoryDescription
Types of OperationOperation of unmanned aircraft for the following activities:
(a) Commercial purposes (activities that involve hire or reward)
(b) Specialised services (for example, activities relating to agriculture, construction, surveying, observation and patrol, flying display performance for the purpose of providing an exhibition or entertainment at an organised event, search and rescue, aerial advertising, and research & development with activities that would not be able to comply with any of the guidelines in Annex B)
(c) Discharge or dropping of substances/items
Location of OperationsUnmanned aircraft operations into and within the following: (a) Protected Areas, i.e. security-sensitive locations gazetted as such and their immediate vicinity (defined by a lateral limit of 150m from the perimeter of a designated location)
- Additional permit is required for aerial photography (including videoing and live-streaming)
(b) Special Event Areas as declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the POA
(c) Restricted or Danger Areas declared by CAAS for aviation and/or public safety reasons
(d) 5km of an aerodrome regardless of operating height, or above 200 feet beyond 5km of an aerodrome
Total Weight of Unmanned AircraftOperation of unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 7kg in total weight (i.e. weight of laden aircraft – weight of aircraft plus weight of fuel, payload, equipment etc that it may be carrying)

cynloh@sph.com.sg

Annex B: Advisory on the Safe and Responsible Operation of Unmanned Aircraft
               (For Recreational and Private Uses Only)

 

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