The operation of unmanned aircraft systems or “drones” can pose a serious threat to manned flights and people and property on the ground, especially when they aren’t operated safely and responsibly, or in accordance with State rules and regulations.
In light of their growing popularity, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) launched a UAS Toolkit specifically aimed at helping States regulate these activities.
Anybody considering operating a new drone will benefit from the following tips:
1. You should always consult your local Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) since unmanned aircraft regulations and guidelines differ from country to country. Many States’ regulations can be accessed from the Toolkit.
2. Depending on the weight or purpose of the flight, many States require you to obtain a permit before operating it.
3. Unless approved otherwise by your CAA, keep the unmanned aircraft within sight at all times. You should also be able to scan the airspace for other aircraft.
4. Only operate your unmanned aircraft as described in the users’ manual produced by the manufacturer.
5. Inspect your unmanned aircraft to ensure it is safe to fly before each flight.
6. Make sure you comply with your States rules regarding the minimum distance from people, buildings, vehicles or vessels.
7. Most States limit how high you can fly. Ensure you comply with these limits to ensure the safety of other aircraft.
8. Check your States/CAA’s rules on how close you can fly to an airport. Some States may mandate specific approvals to operate close to airports.
Planning to fly a drone? Check out this video first!