All About India’s Drone Regulations

By admin | Regulation

Oct 31
Drone in flight

Drones have been highly restricted in India and the lack of regulation made it very difficult for not just drone users but authorities and policy implementers alike.

Now India has a new drone policy which is completely digital and uses a  Digital Sky Platform which is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT).

There are many issues that come with flying a drone in a crowded place. Flying a drone in a crowded Indian city can seem like a recipe for disaster but can be managed with careful planning and security checks. Issues like Privacy, safety and security are all important and have to be regulated to ensure drones can be used in a viable manner.

Flying drones in India is expected to be legal in India from December 2018, according to multiple sources. The ministry of civil aviation which regulates airspaces and air traffic has finalized a national drone policy, and has fixed parameters for UAVs. The policy is clear about No Drone zones and specifies that places that will remain drone free will include areas around airports, international borders, some government offices in state capitals, military installations etc.

Registration of all drone pilots is essential and permission if required for each flight made by the drone. Users will need to apply for permission on an app and digital permits will be given instantly through an automated process.

During daytime flights, drones can be flown to a height of up to 400 ft (121.92 metres) and for flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number will be necessary.

“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.” India’s minister of Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu said.

Here are some of the important drone-related terms that Indians must know before investing in a UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle):

  • UIN: Unique Identification Number, which is similar to the license plate on your car, so you can identify every drone in the sky
  • Digital Sky: the online platform through which all applications, submissions and clearances will be done
  • UAOP: Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit, the equivalent of your driver’s license. It allows an individual to be qualified enough to fly the drone by requiring minimum amounts of training. It will be valid for five years from the date of issue.
  • Zones: Red zones are no-fly areas (which include regions close to airports, national borders and military bases); yellow zones require approvals before flying, and green zones are unrestricted.
  • Categories: the drones are classified into five categories based on weight. They are: Nano (250 grams or less), micro, small, medium and large (heavier than 150 kg). Permissions and restrictions vary based on the category.

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