New regulations on drone operations

The Government, which lifted the ban on civilian drone operations yesterday, is to introduce new regulations, which will include carrying a clearance sticker to operate the drone.

On the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne issued directives to the relevant authorities to lift the ban imposed on drone operations to the pre-21 April, 2019 period with immediate effect.

Restrictions on drone operations were imposed under Gazette S/No. 2123/10 issued on May 13, 2019 citing security concerns.

As per the instructions, the ban on drone operations will however continue in dangerous and restricted flying zones.

All civil drone operators are required to obtain prior approval from the Defence Ministry to operate drones in all zones.

A drone, which is technically named as an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is a flying robot that is remotely controlled with onboard sensors and GPS.

It is widely used for military purposes and also for civilian activities ranging from search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting.

Personal drones are mainly used for photography, videography, agriculture and also for delivery services.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director Operations Lushan Fernando told that while the ban on drone operations has been lifted, there will be some regulatory changes on some categories of drones prior to getting them registered with the CAA.

He said each drone operator has to obtain clearance from the Defence Ministry and visit the CAA with the drone to get it registered in its database.

“We have to check the drone, its weight, camera etc before granting permission. A sticker will be issued for approved drones to operate,” he said.

According to Fernando, under the new regulations the drone operators will be given permission by the CAA to operate drones only in the requested location and also for the mentioned purpose.

“They will also be given permission to operate the drone only for the requested time period,” he said adding that there is a significant demand for flying drones from media institutions, foreigners, wedding videographers, photographers and commercial advertising companies. (Colombo Gazette)