What permit are you required to own in order to fly your drone? Here's an explanation of the various types.

Liang Hwei  |  Singapore
Published 2015-06-03 16:54:49

This article originally appeared on Vulcan Post

If you’re a drone-owner, you would know by now that the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Act has regulated the operations of drones in Singapore. Now, under certain situations, you will need to register your drone in order to use it.

This is how you can register your drones:

Permission For Take-off

Image Credit: NPR
Image Credit: NPR

If your drone is more than 7kg in total weight at take-off, used for anything other than recreation or research, or flying over a restricted/danger zone, then you will need to apply for an Operator and Activity Permit.

You can apply for it on the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)’s one-stop online portal, where you simply need to provide your phone number, company name, IC number, home address, and email address.

These are the permits that may be awarded to you:

1. An Operator Permit

Image Credit: Gizmodo
Image Credit: Gizmodo

The applicant is able to ensure safe operation of unmanned aircraft, taking into account the applicant’s organisational set-up, competency of personnel especially those flying the unmanned aircraft, procedures to manage safety including the conducting of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each of the aircrafts.

Drone operators in the above situations will be required to have an operator permit, which will be valid for up to one year. Applications are expected to be processed in two weeks.

2. An Activity Permit

Image Credit: Associations Now
Image Credit: Associations Now

You need this if you’re planning a single activity or a block of repeated activities, which will be carried out by an unmanned aircraft at a specific area of operation, and which are of specific operational profiles and conditions.

If you already possess an Operator Permit, your application for an Activity Permit may take a shorter time to process than the expected two weeks.

3. Miscellaneous Permits

The Istana, one of the many gazetted “Protected Areas”. (Image Credit: Straits Times)
You may be required to have other permits if:
  • There is discharging or dropping of substances/items from the unmanned aircraft.
  • The radio frequencies and power limits used for operating the unmanned aircraft do not comply with IDA’s guidelines on radio frequencies and power limits for short range devices.
  • The unmanned aircraft is flown over Protected Areas [i.e. security-sensitive locations and their immediate vicinity (defined by a lateral limit of 150m from the perimeter of a designated location)]. These will be listed on the Government Gazette and updated on the OneMap portal, and drone operators are required to check the list from time to time for updates.
  • Photographs (including videoing and live-streaming) of a Protected Area are taken using the unmanned aircraft.
  • The unmanned aircraft is flown in Special Event Areas as declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the POA. This includes venues where the SEA Games are now taking place.

These additional permits may take much longer to process, so drone operators are asked to apply for a permit well in advance of the event.

Tiny Drone Operator

This may seem like a lot to take in at once, but don’t fret! If your drone is lighter than 7kg, and used recreationally in a public space — like at a park or the beach — then you will be able to operate without a permit. However, recreational drone users will be asked to follow safety procedures, like keeping your drone in sight, flying in good weather conditions, and knowing your drone inside and out.

Here is an infographic provided by the CAAS.

Image Credit: CAAS
Image Credit: CAAS

Fly safe, drone fans!


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