South Africa Introduce New Regulations for UAS

South Africa Introduce New Regulations for UAS

SA Civil Aviation AuthoritySouth Africa has recently announces the introduction of new regulation for remotely piloted aircraft systems (UAS).

Traditionally, remotely piloted aircraft systems were used primarily in military operations; while their useful deployment in civilian activities has only become more apparent in recent times. It is also a fact that their rapid advancement has caught many Regulators worldwide by some level of surprise. Hence in recent times Authorities around the globe have been putting their heads together and collaborated with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO in short), in an attempt to understand, define and ultimately integrate this technology into the mainstream aviation sector.

In a speech by Director of Civil Aviation Ms Poppy Khoza on May 17, 2015;

“I have the pleasure of announcing that South Africa will be introducing new regulations that will help regulate remotely piloted aircraft systems, popularly known as drones. These regulations have recently been signed by the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters and will be published and implementable by 01 July 2015.”

Facts to Know:

In essence Part 101 of civil aviation regulations does not apply to:

  • toy aircraft;
  • an aircraft operated in terms of Part 94 (i.e. non-type certified aircraft) of the civil aviation regulations; and
  • autonomous unmanned aircraft, unmanned free balloons and their operations or other types of aircraft which cannot be managed on a real-time basis during flight.

In order to guide the basis for basic aviation safety and security, Part 101 of civil aviation regulations states that:

  • No remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) shall be operated, unless such RPA has been issued with a letter of approval; which is valid for a period of 12 months.
  • No RPA shall be sold unless the seller has notified the buyer of the operational requirements as imposed by the SACAA.
  • No person shall operate an RPAS unless:
    a. the RPA is in a fit-to-fly condition;
    b. the pilot is the holder of a valid remote pilot licence;
    c. the remotely piloted aircraft station is compatible and interoperable with the aircraft it is connected to in all phases of flight; and
    d. the RPA is being controlled by only one piloted aircraft station at any given moment in time.

No RPA shall:

  • tow another aircraft;
  • perform aerial or aerobatic displays;
  • be flown in formation or swarm;
  • be flown adjacent to or above a nuclear power plant, prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, national key point or strategic installation.

No RPA shall be operated:

  • above 400ft above the surface; and
  • within a radius of 10 km from an aerodrome.

The new regulations also states that an RPA shall give way to manned aircraft. Further, the RPA shall avoid passing over, under or in front of manned aircraft, unless it passes well clear and takes into account the effect of aircraft wake turbulence.

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