Dubai grants permission to fly drones

Drones have been approved to fly in UAE skies, provided users observe privacy laws and guidelines. People are to be aware of the regulations and practical points of safe UAV flying. You can face hefty fines if you do not comply with all rules and regulations.

The rapid advances in technology have led to the development and increased use of unmanned aircrafts, which have become increasingly popular, for recreational and commercial purposes. The UAE has passed regulations on how drones are used and treated in their airspaces. Users need to be responsible and aware of restrictions in operating an unmanned air vehicle.

Here are some things every new drone owner should know before taking to the skies.

* Keep your aircraft in sight
* Do not fly drones within restricted airspace
* Always check the local aviation regulations before you fly your UAV

There are restrictions on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over urban areas and when operating within so many miles of an airport, as a misused drone hovering in the flight paths of manned air vehicles (MAVs) could compromise aircraft safety. People are asked to keep drones from flying within eight nautical miles around the two international airports, the Dubai International Airport and the Al Maktoum International Airport.

To fly small, remote-controlled aircraft used for recreational purposes, you do not need permission from authority, whereas a permit is required in drone operation for non-hobby and commercial purposes. At present, UAVs are regulated by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which has regulations in place for adherence to safety and privacy standards, while using drones.

As drones proliferate or become more routinely adopted and utilized by the public and private sectors, users are advised that taking videos or pictures of people, government buildings and military installations without permission is prohibited. Using drones for capturing images or video of objects or taking aerial surveillance requires authorization.

It is worth keeping in mind that drones are to be flown within visual line-of-sight. In other words, the drone must be kept in your line of sight and needs to be clearly observable from your position on the ground.

With recreational drones coming readily available in the UAE now, consumers need to be aware of all the rules regarding their use. Even though GCAA has given the all-clear signal for commercial drone flying, users will need to have the drones registered; government needs to know whom each drone belongs to as well to regulate drones flying in their airspace.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Ahli, Director-General of the Dubai Civil Aviation, and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services, said hobbyists flying drones have only to be responsible, while approved limited commercial drones require owners to abide by rules and regulations.

Commercial users of drones in Dubai need to obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA); this needs to happen because of the type of commercial activity of the drone flight. (Note: DCAA shall be informed for any extension to the NOC issued.)

Depending on how big the drone is and its purpose of use, it could be subject to licensing approvals and safety parameters set by GCAA. Owners might be asked to declare the altitude of operation as well as request authorization for each flight before take-off. This is obtained after registration, pre-assessment and prior approval from the related authority.

To register a UAV, visit the DCAA website. There one can apply and obtain a Drone permit in Dubai. For questions, call DCAA on 04-2162009.

 Dubai grants permission to fly drones

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