Now, feel free to take aerial videos, photos with drones in UAE

Firms and individuals are using pilotless rotorcrafts at events and to fly them for their own leisure

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Filipino inventor Kyxz Mendiola tests his flying car during its launch in the province of Batangas, Philippines, September 23, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Filipino inventor Kyxz Mendiola tests his flying car during its launch in the province of Batangas, Philippines, September 23, 2018.

REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Drone enthusiasts can now use their devices to create videos and images at regulated flying zones, authorities have announced on Sunday.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), in coordination with the Ministry of Interior (MoI), has issued a new regulation allowing drone owners to take photos and videos in permitted flying zones of the country.

Initially, individuals were allowed to use drones after getting permits from the GCAA but were not allowed to use any video or image capturing devices or be equipped with release and drop devices. Only registered firms were being allowed to use drones for creating footages and images.

Authorities also launched the 'You are Responsible' campaign to remind people and establishments about the legal requirements for light sports including drones. Firms and individuals are using these pilotless rotorcrafts at events and to fly them for their own leisure. A total of 8,028 drones belonging to entities and individuals have been registered with the GCAA.

"Initially, the use of cameras on private drones or those owned by individuals was not allowed. But from today, individuals are allowed to use their drones to take photos and videos in the acceptable fly zones," said Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, said at a Press conference on Sunday.

"We are keen on meeting public expectations on the use of new technologies as the UAE is considered among the best countries in the region for the use of drones."

Al Suwaidi also urged people to register with the GCAA and obtain licences allowing them to fly drones in the country.

Major-General Ahmed Nasser Al Rissi, Inspector-General of the MoI and chairman of the committee for the follow-up of the implementation of legal requirements for light sports including drones, said: "Drones are allowed in the UAE but their use is regulated to protect people's privacy. Individuals are allowed to own drones only after getting licences from the GCAA and should fly them the permitted zones only.

"Also, it's not allowed to fly drones more than 400 feet above ground level."

Al Rissi said they have launched the awareness campaign on different platforms - including social media and workshops- to educate the public on rules regulating the use of the pilotless rotorcrafts to ensure people's safety and privacy.

"The drone regulations aim to ensure safety in the air and on land. They also aim at protecting user data and their privacy," he said.

The official noted that authorities are taking action if they catch anyone using drones without a licence or those violating other drone regulations.

Like any other flying objects, drones are also prone to accidents, causing damages to external properties, attached cameras, instruments, as well as to people. Though no figures have been given out, authorities said they register one to two drone-related incidents in the UAE every month.

Officials also noted that there has been a significant decrease in drone-related incidents over the past few years because of individuals and firms complying with the regulations and increased awareness on the proper use of drones.

Drone rules for recreational users

>User and drone should be registered with the GCCA before flying

>Only drones weighing 5kg or less are allowed to fly in the approved zones for flying-the green zone

>The GCAA forbids flying drones near, around and over airports

>Drones are allowed to fly only during day-time and in good weather.

>The flying range should always be within the line-of-sight and not fly more than 400 feet above ground level

>The drone should not be used for commercial activities

>The responsibility is on the user to ensure that the drone is used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and is inspected before use

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