In its effort to establish a world-leading drone ecosystem, the ministry of civil aviation on Monday announced Drone Regulations 1.0, a national drone policy, which would come into effect from December 1, 2018, enabling safe and commercial use of drone.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) or commonly known as drones, are used for a wide range of applications, which includes photography, agriculture and infrastructure asset maintenance.
Global standard drone regulations have been developed by the ministry that would permit, will appropriate safeguards, and the commercial application of various drone technologies.
The ministry has formulated an all digitised platform called Digital Sky Platform for the smooth operation of drones. It's the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT).
It requires users to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly.
To prevent unauthorised flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to takeoff.
The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.
Here's all you need to know about Drone Regulations 1.0:
As per the regulation, there are five categories of RPAS categorised by weight:
Categories of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) or drones Nano: Weighing less than or equal to 250 grams
Micro: Weighing between 250 grams to 2 kg
Small: Weighing between 2 kg to 25 kg
Medium: Weighing between 25 kg to 150 kg
Large: Weighing more than 150 kg.
No Drone Zones
The policy has partitioned the airspace into three zones: Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
It has also defined “No Drone Zones” around airports; near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State secretariat complex in state capitals, strategic locations or vital and military installations.
All the drones, except for the Nano category, or owned by National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Aviation Research Centre (ARC) and Central Intelligence Agencies have to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN).Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) has to be obtained from the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), which will be valid for five years, however not transferrable.
Nano drones can be operated below 50 feet or 15 meter in an uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises.
Micro drones can be operated below 200 feet or 60 meter in an uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises, but requires to inform the local police 24 hours prior.
NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies can operate their drones after intimating local police.
The policy specifies that the drone can be operated by an individual, who is over 18 years of age, has passed matriculation with English and has undergone ground/practical training as approved by DGCA.
Currently, the drones are to operate within visual line of sight, during day time only and up to maximum 400 feet of altitude.For flying in controlled airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) or Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary.