Drone Rules In India :
Finally, after a long time ,Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the government body has published a circular in which several requirements around the ownership and operation of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) are mentioned.
Up until now, there existed no clear definitions as to what comprised these aircraft, which was clearly turning out to be a problem given their rapid proliferation. Especially in the areas of aerial photography and recreation, drones have seen a big spike in popularity. But unregulated usage of these potentially dangerous craft has led to incidents that have put either the drone operator or the general public in harm’s way.
And in the absence of a clear set of guidelines, end-users have often been unaware of the legal implications of operating a drone in public spaces.
The DGCA document defines the various classifications of UAs as i) Micro : Weighing less than two kg, ii) Mini : Greater than 2 Kg and less than 20 Kg, iii) Small : Greater than 20 Kg and less than 150 Kg, iv) Large : Greater than 150 Kg.
So if you already own a drone, or are thinking of buying one, here’s are the key takeaways from the document:
- Obtain a UIN for the craft: “All unmanned aircraft intended to be operated in India will require an Unique Identification Number (UIN) issued from DGCA.”This applies to all types of UA owner, from the smallest to the largest, and will only be granted to a citizen of India. In the case of a company or body, it has to be registered and his its principal place of business within India, its chairman and at least two-thirds of its directors are citizens of India and its substantial ownership and effective control is vested in Indian nationals.)
To obtain this UIN, the following will need to be submitted to the DGCA:
- Address of Operator along with contact details with valid identity proof (or in the case of a company, the TIN.)
- Purpose of UA operation.
- Specification of the UAS (manufacturer name, type, model number, year of manufacture, weight and size, type of propulsion system, flying capabilities in terms of maximum endurance, range and height, etc. including details of equipment.)
- Police verification of the drone operator from the local sub-divisional police office.
- Permission for all frequencies used in UAS operations from Department of Telecommunication. Note: It is unclear whether this is required even for unlicensed frequencies such as WiFi.
- Copy of Unmanned Aircraft Flight Manual.
- Copy of manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines.
- Craft identification plate: Every craft will need to have an identification plate (made of fire proof material) inscribed with UIN and RFID tag or SIM, which shall be affixed to the UA for identifying ownership.
- Drone Rules-Obtain a UA operator permit (UAOP): This will only be required where the drone is operated at or above 200 feet in uncontrolled airspace. So if a drone is used for recreation purposes below this altitude indoors or in an open area where air traffic is not provided via a control service (such as a control tower,) an operator permit would not be required. The craft UIN and the identification plate would still be required though.
The document outlines numerous other aspects of drone ownership including the process for obtaining the operator permit, security aspects, training requirements for remote pilots, maintenance of the craft, operational requirements and more.
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