India has finally permitted commercial flying of drones with effect from December 1, 2018, according to a press release from the Ministry of Civil Aviation on August 27.
The ministry announced Drone Regulations 1.0 on August 27 to enable safe, commercial usage of drones. The regulation is intended to enable visual line of sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 feet operations. The regulations partition the air space into three categories – Red Zone (Flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airpsace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
“Today we start an exciting new chapter in India’s aviation history by allowing commercial use of drones. I am sure that many new and exciting applications will emerge that will propel India’s economy forward. Our progressive regulations will encourage a vast Made in India drone industry,” Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Suresh Prabhu said.
Safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has put drones into 5 categories based on their weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
An operator permit will be required to fly the drones except for flying nano drone below 50 feet and micro drone for flying at less than 200 feet. Government agencies will not need permits to fly the drones.
There are two key restrictions that have been put in place for safe use of drones. The drones will be allowed to fly only along visual line-of-sight and only during day-time with a maximum altitude of 400 feet.
The rules announced Monday are called Drone Regulations 1.0. The government has divided the airspace into three zones: red (flying not permitted), yellow (controlled airspace) and green (automatic permission).
All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN).
Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies.
The mandatory equipment required for operation of RPAS except nano category are (a) GNSS (GPS), (b) Return-To-Home (RTH), (c) Anti-collision light, (d) ID-Plate, (e) Flight controller with flight data logging capability, and (f) RF ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
As of now, RPAS to operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and upto maximum400 ft. altitude.
For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary.
Minimum manufacturing standards and training requirements of Remote Pilots of small and above categories of RPAS have been specified in the regulation.
Minister of State Jayant Sinha said, “We want to establish a world-leading drone ecosystem. These regulations firmly place us among the global leaders. Our policy roadmap will certainly provide a strong impetus to all players in the drone ecosystem. We hope that these initiatives will enable us to create a vibrant new industry.”