Millennium Post

Govt prohibits foreigners from flying drones in India

New Delhi: When civilian drones take to skies under the new regulations from December, foreigners will not be piloting them as they have been barred from operating remotely piloted aircraft in the country.

The requirements for operation of civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), which were unveiled on Monday, would come into force from December 1.

For operating drones, which are unmanned aircraft system, entities have to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) from aviation regulator DGCA.

Besides, there should be an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) for commercial drone operations and for each flight, permission has to be taken through the proposed digital sky platform.

The civilian drones have been classified into five categories based on Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) — nano, micro, small, medium and large.

In a detailed set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding drones, the aviation watchdog said that registration would be required for flying them even inside a building. However, the requirement would not be applicable for nano drones, those weighing less than or equal to 250 grams. According to the regulator, foreigners are not permitted to fly drones in the country.

"Foreigners are currently not allowed to fly drones in India. For commercial purpose, they need to lease RPAS to an Indian entity who in-turn will obtain UIN and UAOP from DGCA," it said.

While drone operations can be carried out only in daylight, the regulator said that flying of micro drones could be allowed during night subject to various conditions.

"All drone operations are restricted to daylight and within visual line of sight. However, if you are shooting in well-lit enclosed premises using micro drone up to 200 feet above ground level is allowable.

"Ensure your drone is NPNT (No Permission No Takeoff) compliant and issued with UIN. Also, you need to inform local police before flying," the watchdog said.

The answer has been given to the question — 'I am a wedding photographer and I have a micro drone. Most of the marriages in Northern India happen after sunset. Can I use my drone for covering marriages at night?'

Micro drones are those having a weight of more than 250 grams but less than or equal to 2 kg. In a separate communication on 'Dos and Don't', the regulator has said people seeking to operate drones should do their homework before spending the considerable money for a drone as well as understand all operational and regulatory aspects.

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