New Delhi, August 28 2018: The Indian government has released rules and guidelines to regulate the flight of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS),otherwise known as drones.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has created Digital Sky Platform: a first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) for drones. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly. The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.
Releasing Drone Regulations 1.0, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said, “Today we start an exciting new chapter in India’s aviation history by allowing commercial use of drones….These regulations will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018.”
The Regulations 1.0 are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 ft altitude operations. Air space has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).Going forward, the Drone Task Force under the chairmanship of the Minister of State Jayant Sinha will provide draft recommendations for Drone Regulations 2.0 to ensure certification of safe and controlled operation of drone hardware and software, Aar space management through automated operations linked into overall airspace management framework, Beyond visual-line-of-sight operations and contribution to establishing global standards.
For full text of drone regulations and FAQ see Snapshot
Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0 are:
Notification of Final Regulations for Civil Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued today the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones. The regulation was developed after extensive consultations among various stakeholders, and will be effective from 1st December, 2018.
As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
Operational/ Procedural Requirements:
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.
No Drone Zones:
The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports;near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc.
Operations through Digital Platform:
Operations of RPAS to be enabled through Digital Sky Platform. The RPAS operations will be based on NPNT (No Permission, No Take off). The details including links for the digital sky platform shall be available in DGCA website from 1st December, 2018. There will be different colour zones visible to the applicant while applying in the digital sky platform, viz, Red Zone: flying not permitted, Yellow Zone (controlled airspace): permission required before flying, andGreen Zone (uncontrolled airspace): automatic permission.
Enforcement Actions:The enforcement actions are, (a) suspension/ cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions, (b) actions as per relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act 1934, or Aircraft Rules, or any statutory provisions, and (c) penalties as per applicable IPCs (such as 287, 336, 337, 338, or any relevant section of IPC).
The DGCA has defined remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) as an unmanned
aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station. “The remotely piloted aircraft,
its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any
other components forms a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS),”
the policy states. Also, as per the civil aviation requirements – issued under
the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 –
hese RPAs will need a Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned
Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and need to adhere to other operational
The DGCA has segregated drones into five different categories
i) Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
ii) Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
iii) Small : From 2kg to 25kg.
iv) Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
v) Large : Greater than 150kg.
All drones, other than in the nano category, need to apply to DGCA
clearance and based on that Directorate General of Foreign Trade
shall issuelicense for import of RPAS.The policy also stipulates that
RPAs shall be flown only by someone over 18 years of age, having
passed 10th exam in English, and undergone ground/ practical training
as approved by DGCA.
How can drones be operated in India?
The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime
only and that too within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)”.
The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only
and that too within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)”. This applies to all categories.
Also, along with other SOPs, the DGCA has clarified that no remote pilot can
operate more than one RPA at any time. Plus, manned aircraft will also get
priority. There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything
hazardous. It cannot in any manner cause danger to people or property.
An insurance will be mandatory to cover third-party damage.
What are the restrictions in place for drones in India?
RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in
Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and
within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
It cannot fly within “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and
Danger Areas” and within 25km from international border which includes
the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground
Position Line (AGPL).
It cannot fly beyond 500 m into sea from the coast line and within 3 km
from perimeter of military installations.
It also cannot fly within a 5 km radius of the Vijay Chowk in Delhi,
within 2 km from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations
notified by Ministry of Home Affairs and within 3 km from radius of
State Secretariat Complexes.
It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle,
ship or aircraft.
Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are
off-limits without prior permission.