27/05/2016 5:35 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Buying A Drone? You Need A License To Fly It

Marina Lystseva via Getty Images
A man flies a drone at the 9th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition 'HeliRussia 2016' at the Crocus Expo International exhibition center in Moscow, Russia, May 19, 2016. Marina Lystseva/TASS (Photo by Marina Lystseva\TASS via Getty Images)

Thinking of buying a drone, or already own one? Then you need to get a license and permission from Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA). A draft bill a draft bill released by DGCA spells out the proposed policy to legalize the use of drones. Work on the bill began In April, the organization started working on framing the policy to legalize the usage of the drones. Here are some of the salient points from the policy.

1. Owning a drone

For owning a drone you would need to get a unique identification number (UID) from DGCA. For the registration, you would need to provide proof of address, a permit from the police and one from the telecommunication department. You will need to give the specifications of the drone to the authorities. After all the documents are cleared you have to install a fire-proof plate over the panel that has the UID.

2. To fly the drone

If you want to fly a drone above 200 feet you have to take permission from DGCA. But if you have a recreational drone which flies below 200 feet you have to take permission from the local administration. Even educational institutes will have to take permission for any drone-related activities.

3. How to obtain a license?

Your Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) has to go through a set of procedures. The following documents have to be submitted to the authorities 90 days before flying.

– Permission from either a civil or defense Air Navigation Service (ANS) provider

– Permission of the land or property owner to take off and land Unmanned Aircraft

– Details of remote piloting and training records

– Third party accidental insurance (if applicable)

– Security clearance from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India

The license will be valid for two years. So even if you want to own a small recreational drone just to fly in your house, you need to go through all this procedure. There is no clear guideline if there would be an online portal dedicated for the purpose.

4. Classification of the drones

-Mirco: Less than 2 kg

-Mini: Greater than 2 kg and less than 20 kg

-Small: Greater than 20 kg and less than 150 kg

-Large: Greater than 150 kg

As pointed out by medianama, the permission has to be taken, regardless of the size based on the flying condition.

5. Security and Flying conditions

For security purposes, the owner can't transfer the drone to someone else without taking prior permission of DGCA. So you can't lend your drone to a friend who wants to experiment with it as his flying space might not be approved by the authorities.

For all the flights above 200 feet, the authorities have to be informed of the flight plan. If the event is canceled you have to inform them about that too. For micro drones, you have to fly them under 500 meter of the visual line of sight.

Additionally, you can even drop substances without prior permission which would mean that something like Amazon's drone delivery won't work. You would also need to get the drone insured.

6. Pilot qualifications

Drones are generally objects which can be flown by anyone, even children. But according to the bill you need to be at least 18 to fly a drone. Apart from that, you need to take special ground training equivalent to that undertaken by aircrew of manned aircraft or a private pilot’s license holder.

Drones were largely a space and an area of interest for the enthusiast until recently. A report says that the sales of the drones have tripled in the last year. It is expected that almost 7 million drones will be sold every year by 2020. Companies like Xiaomi releasing consumer drones would also attract a lot of people to the industry. The upcoming bill will shape the future of the drones in India and in its present form the bill seems very restrictive.

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