Part 101 - South Africa's RPAS regulations May 20 2015, 1 Comment

On May 17th, the Director of Civil Aviation Ms Poppy Khoza gave a speech announcing the new regulations in South Africa governing drones to be published and implementable by 01 July 2015. A copy of the speech is available online.

Below is a section copied directly from the speech that outlines the new regulation.

In order to guide the basis for basic aviation safety and security, Part 101 of civil aviation regulations states that:

  • No remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) shall be operated, unless such RPA has been
  • issued with a letter of approval; which is valid for a period of 12 months.
  • No RPA shall be sold unless the seller has notified the buyer of the operational
  • requirements as imposed by the SACAA.
  • No person shall operate an RPAS unless:
    • the RPA is in a fit-to-fly condition;
    • the pilot is the holder of a valid remote pilot licence;
    • the remotely piloted aircraft station is compatible and interoperable with the aircraft it is connected to in all phases of flight; and
    • the RPA is being controlled by only one piloted aircraft station at any given moment in time.
  • No RPA shall:
    • tow another aircraft;
    • perform aerial or aerobatic displays;
    • be flown in formation or swarm;
    • be flown adjacent to or above a nuclear power plant, prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, national key point or strategic installation.
  • No RPA shall be operated:
    • above 400ft above the surface; and
    • within a radius of 10 km from an aerodrome.
  • the flying of an RPA directly overhead any person or group of people or within a lateral distance of 50m from any person;
  • the flying of an RPA within a lateral distance of 50m from any structure or building;
  • the operating of an RPAS in weather conditions that do not allow unobstructed visual contact to be maintained with the RPA by the operator unless and other airspace users, unless in approved beyond visual line of sight or night operations;
  • the use a public road as a place of landing or take-off of an RPA, except when
    involved in civil defense or law-enforcement operations and provided that at all times
    reasonable care is taken to ensure the safety of persons and property; and
  • the flying of an RPAS in controlled airspace, except by the holder of an RPAS operators certificate and on condition that such operations have been duly approved.

The new regulations further prescribe that;

  • an RPA pilot is expected to complete a preflight inspection prior to each flight. 
  • no RPA shall be operated unless the RPA pilot has a functioning airband radio in his / her possession, tuned to the frequency or frequencies applicable to the air traffic services unit providing services or controlling such area or airspace. 

An applicant for a remote pilot licence shall:

  • not be less than 18 years of age;
  • hold at least a valid Class 4 medical certificate for beyond visual line of sight operations or operations involving RPAS classified as class 3 or higher; or
  • hold a restricted certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony (aeronautical); and
  • provide proof of the ability to speak the English language at proficiency level 4 or higher.

The holder of a remote pilot licence must maintain, in a pilot logbook, a record of all his or her flight time, instrument time, simulation time and instruction time.