South Africa: The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is set to clampdown on the illegal flying, in civil airspace of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The move was prompted by recent reports that purported that there are individuals and/or organisations that are already operating or intending to operate UAS in the South African civil aviation airspace.
“It is disconcerting to hear that there are individuals or organisations that, for some reason or another, are determined to contravene applicable international and local aviation prescripts. The fact is that the SACAA has not given any concession or approval to any organisation, individual, institution or government entity to operate UAS within the civil aviation airspace. Those that are flying any type of unmanned aircraft are doing so illegally; and as the regulator we cannot condone any form of blatant disregard of applicable rules,” said the Director of Civil Aviation, Poppy Khoza.
“Unmanned aircraft systems are relatively a new component of the civil aviation framework, one which the SACAA, together with other regulators worldwide and under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, are working to understand, define and ultimately integrate in to the civil aviation sector. As such, the process of developing policies, procedures, regulations and associated standards in order to certify and subsequently authorise operation of UAS is currently in progress,” Khoza explained.
In collaboration with member states, including South Africa, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is working towards providing a regulatory framework through Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), with supporting Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) and guidance material, to underpin routine operation of UAS in a safe, harmonised and seamless manner comparable to that of manned operations.
“The SACAA acknowledges that the current civil aviation legislation does not provide for certification, registration and/or operation of UAS in the South African civil aviation airspace. We are also cognizant of the urgent need and demand for UAS usage for commercial and many other reasons. Hence, the SACAA has allocated the necessary resources to the UAS programme to ensure a speedy integration of drones into the South Africa airspace. However, until then we would like to appeal to those that are disregarding the laws to desist from such actions,” Khoza concluded.
Source: sUAS News and SACAA