DGCA Regulations on the use of Drones in India

Posted On - 2 April, 2019 • By - Raghav Gaind
  • Introduction:

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is an
Indian regulatory body under the administration of the Ministry of Civil
aviation. DGCA issues various rules and regulations to promote safe and
efficient air transportation and reduce the aviation accidents. On August 27th,
2018 the DGCA has released Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) i.e. the National
Drone Policy 2018. This policy focuses on the ‘Requirements for Operation of
Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)’. As per this policy Flying of
Remotely Piloted Aircrafts or drones, will be legal across India. This policy
has been issued in compliance with the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of
the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and stipulates the requirements for obtaining Unique
Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and other
operational requirements for civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The
Policy shall come into force from December 1st, 2018 with an
objective to explore and manage the opportunities in the Indian civil aviation

  • Applicability:

National Policy on Drones 2018 is applicable to Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft
Systems, which are Remotely Piloted from a Remote Pilot Station.

  • Categories
    of RPA or Drones:

On the
basis of the weight of the drones it can be divided into five categories. These
are following:

Sr. No. Categories Maximum
weight of RPA
  Nano Less than or equal to 250 grams
  Micro Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.
  Small Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.
  Medium Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.
  Large Greater than 150 kg.
  • Need
    of Unique Identification Number:

As per
Civil Aviation Requirements 2018 every RPA or drones shall require Unique
Identification Number by the DGCA. It shall be granted to the owner of drone
who may be a citizen of India, central or state government, a company
registered in India.

Unique Identification Number shall not be required for RPA in Nano category
intended to fly up to 50 feet (15 m) Above Ground Level (AGL) in uncontrolled
airspace/ enclosed premises for commercial / recreational / R&D purposes. RPAs owned by National Technical
Research Organization (NTRO), Aviation Research Centre (ARC) and Central
Intelligence Agencies are also exempted from obtaining Unique Identification

  • Need for
    issue of Unmanned Aircraft Operation Permit (UAOP):

 RPA operators shall submit duly filled
application through Digital Sky Platform along with requisite fees for issue of
UAOP to DGCA at least 7 working days prior to actual commencement of
operations. The UAOP
shall be issued by DGCA within 7 working days, and it shall be valid for the
period of 5 years. The UAOP is non transferrable. It can be renewed after the
fresh security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • Following
    entities will not require UAOP:

a) Nano
RPA operating under 50 feet (15 m) AGL within airspace or enclosed premises which
is uncontrolled.

b) Micro
RPA operating under 200 feet (60 m) AGL within airspace or enclosed premises
which is uncontrolled. However, the user shall inform local police office 24
hours prior to conduct of actual operations.

c) RPA
owned and operated by agencies. However, the agency shall intimate local police
office and concerned ATS Units prior to conduct of actual operations.

  • Equipment
  • All RPA (except for Nano category intending to operate up to
    50 ft (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises),shall be equipped
    with the following serviceable components/ equipment:

for horizontal and vertical position fixing

Autonomous Flight Termination System or Return Home (RH) option

Flashing anti-collision strobe lights

and GSM SIM Card/ NPNT compliant for APP based real time tracking

e) Fire
resistant identification plate inscribed with UIN

f) Flight
controller with flight data logging capability

  • In addition to the equipment required under Para 11.1, all
    RPA (except Nano and Micro category operating in uncontrolled airspace)
    intending to operate in controlled airspace up to 400 feet (120 m) AGL shall be
    equipped with the following additional equipment/capabilities:

a) SSR
transponder (Mode ‘C’ or ‘S’) or ADS-B OUT equipment

Barometric equipment with capability for remote sub-scale setting

Geo-fencing capability

c) Detect
and Avoid capability

  • Remote pilot shall be equipped with communication facilities
    to establish two way communications with the concerned ATS unit.
  • The tracking system of the RPA shall be self-powered and
    tamper/ spoofing proof to ensure data relay even in the event of RPA accident.
  • Indian Air Force shall monitor RPA movements in the country
    in coordination with Airports Authority of India.[1]
  • Glimpse
    necessary operating requirements by RPA:

policy has laid down various requirements which are essential for the
operations of the RPAs. These necessary operating requirements are following:

  1. Irrespective of weight category, all RPA operations shall be
    restricted to day only, within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
  2. Every operator of the RPAs except Nano RPA shall obtain
    permission before undertaking flight through ‘Digital Sky Platform.
  3. All RPA operators (except micro and Nano) are required to
    file flight plan at least 24 hours before actual operations.
  4. All RPA operators (except Nano RPA operating below 50 ft),
    shall inform the concerned local police office in writing prior to commencing
    the operations.
  5. The take-off and landing areas should be properly segregated
    from public access.
  6. No person shall act as a remote pilot for more than one RPA
    operation at a time
  7. RPA operator shall be responsible for ensuring that the RPA
    is operated safely and remains clear of all manned/ unmanned air traffic,
    terrain and obstacles.
  8. RPA shall not discharge or drop substances unless specially
    cleared and mentioned in UAOP.
  9. RPA shall not transport any hazardous material such as
    explosives or animal or human payload.
  10. RPA shall not be flown in a manner to cause danger to any
    person or property.
  11. RPA operator/ remote pilot shall be liable to ensure that
    privacy norms of any entity are not compromised in any manner.
  • Restrictions
    on the operation of RPAs:
  • RPA shall not be flown within the 5 km from the perimeter of
    airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
  • RPA shall not be flown within a distance of 3 km from the
    perimeter of any civil, private or defence airports.
  • Within 25 km from international border which includes Line
    of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line
    (AGPL) the operation of RPA is prohibited.
  • It cannot be flown within permanent or temporary Prohibited,
    Restricted and Danger Areas.
  • It is prohibited to operate beyond 500 m (horizontal) into
    sea from coast line provided the location of ground station is on fixed
    platform over land.
  • Within 3 km from perimeter of military installations/
    facilities/ where military activities/ exercises are being carried out unless
    clearance is obtained from the local military installation/facility it is
    prohibited to operate.
  • It cannot be operated within 5 km radius from Vijay Chowk in
    Delhi. However, this is subject to any additional conditions/ restrictions
    imposed by local law enforcement agencies/ authorities in view of the security.
  • Within 2 km from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital
    installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs unless clearance is obtained
    from MHA the operation of RPA is prohibited.
  • An RPA cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving
    vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  • Legal

Civil Aviation Requirement, 2018 provides that a UIN or UAOP which is being
granted by DGCA does not confer on the Remote Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)
any rights against owner or resident of any land or building or over which the
operations are conducted, or prejudice in any way the rights and remedies which
a person may have in respect of any injury to persons or damage to property
caused directly or indirectly by the RPA[2].

The DGCA shall not absolve the operator or the remote pilot from compliance with any other regulatory requirement, which may exist under the State or local law.

Contributed by – Raghav Gaind

Source:   http://dgca.nic.in

[1] http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3X-X1.pdf

[2] http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3X-X1.pdf

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