New Drone Regulations for South Africa:
New rules for drones in South Africa include (basic overview):
- Do not fly more than 400 feet above the ground (about a 40 story building).
- Do not fly more than 500 meters away from the pilot (line of sight).
- Do not fly closer than 10km from an airport (any registered aerodrome, airstrip, helipad, etc).
- Do not fly closer than 50m from people.
- Do not fly closer than 50m from buildings.
- Do not fly closer than 50m from roads.
- Do not fly any drone more than 7kg for hobby use (up to 20kg for commercial use).
Commercial Drone Pilots:
Commercial RPAS operations require all of the following:
- RPL -Remote Pilots Licence (incl.: Aviation Medical Certificate , English Language Proficiency Certificate , RPL pilot training).
- Restricted Radio Licence.
- RPL - RPAS Letter of Approval (incl.: Flight Manual , Technical Specifications , Maintenance Program , Safety Case).
- ROC - Remote Operator Certificate (Operations Manual , Security Manual , Safety Management System , Quality Management System).
- Air Service Licence (from the Air Services Council - Department of Transport).
- The drone must be registered (with SACAA).
- For night flying the RPA (drone) must be approved for night flights, including strobe lights and navigation lights.
- Must have a transponder and special approval from SACAA to fly in controlled airspace.
- Must have handheld Fire Extinguisher and a First Aid Kit.
- Listed approvals in the Ops Spec (Operational Specifications): The commercial operator may have special approval to operate drones closer than 50m from people, buildings and roads, or within 10km
Fines and Enforcement of Illegal Drone Operators
To date there has been no report in the media of any drone operators being fined by the SACAA as yet. However the SACAA has been active in stopping operations, and issuing warning letters.
The SACAA has indicated they will follow their standard enforcement procedures, which include fines of up to R50 000 or prison sentence.