THE NATIONAL DRONE POLICY
Author: Lavanita Chityala
The National Drones Policy, 2018 released under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (the “DGCA“) on 27th August 2018 which came to effect from 1st December 2018. The regulation is about 'Requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)'. The final guidelines for operating drones by ordinary citizens were recently released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Drones were also called Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), reflect this change most aptly. Drones are remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).RPA is an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station. The RPA, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links, and any other components form a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).On December 1st the usage of drones became legal. The civil aviation requirements need to be issued below the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937. These RPAs will need a Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), and other operational needs.
What is the policy on?
The new regulation by the name Drone Regulation1.0 has cleared the doubt of where, how, and when the drones can be used or operate in India.
With the policy coming into effect, it has become legal in India.
Through the Digital Sky Portal, the ministry of Civil Aviation has started the registration of drones.
The drone policy 2.0 is a policy roadmap for establishing a fully functional drone ecosystem that would allow commercial usage of drones in India and allowed them to operate beyond the airspace level that is 400ft.
The policy seeks to establish segregated airspace, namely the Drone Corridor, to keep commercial drone operations away from airspace where manned aircraft operate. The policy also envisages laying down new principles for enhanced airworthiness requirements keeping in mind commercial operations that the drones may be engaged into
What was the need?
A few businesses have managed to manufacture or operate drones in India, without attracting hostile government attention.
They supply products and services primarily for the cinematography, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.
However, there were no rules in place that guarantee the legality of their products and services.
It has been tough for these businesses to attract investors, limiting their ability to grow.
Highlights of the policy :
Drone types - DGCA has recognized the different categories of drones, broadly classified as:
Nano (weighing up to 250 g)
Micro (more than 250 g but lower than 2 kg)
Small and beyond (weighing 2 kg or more)
Drones of other categories will be registered on the Digital Sky portal.
Digital Sky portal – It is an online platform as designated as No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT). Here, a drone operator can obtain all the necessary paperwork required and procedures to conduct a drone operation, together with final flight permission immediately before the operation.
Permission - DGCA will issue a Unique Identification Number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircraft Operator’s Permit (UAOP). This much be displayed on the aircraft, similar to the registration number of vehicles. The fee for a fresh UIN is Rs 1,000. No foreign citizen or entity can issue. Users of larger drones need to obtain a Unique Air Operator’s Permit (UAOP) similar to a driver’s license for normal vehicles. The fee for a fresh UAOP is Rs 25,000, valid for 5 years and renewals will cost Rs. 10,000. Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.
Training - UAOP must undertake a five-day training program of all the requirements. This will expose them to regulations, basic principles of flight, and air traffic control procedures and also learn about weather and meteorology, emergency identification and handling, etc. Before they get permits, the operators have to give written tests and flight tests.
Time - All categories of drones must be flown in the visual line of sight, and only during daytime but photography using drones is allowed in well-lit enclosed premises but still mandatory to inform the local police before flying.
Drone Policy 2.0 - The ministry has constituted a task-force on this recommendation and is expected to release its final report by the end of this year. The framework for RPAS are expected to include
regulatory architecture for autonomous flying
delivery via drones
beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights
1. An individual who is a citizen of India and at least 18 years of age; or
2. A company or a body corporate whose substantial ownership and effective control should vest with Indian nationals and -
(a) Registered and has its principal place of business within India;
(b) Its chairman and at least two-thirds 2-3rd of its directors are citizens of India.
The author has stated supra all about drones. The drones will work effectively even to catch criminals.