Drones are quite popular right now. From having them at events to flying them for your own leisure, more and more entities and individuals are owning drones. There are certain rules you need to take note of before buying and using a drone.
The Ministry of Interior has launch the second phase of its awareness campaign on unmanned aerial vehicles in January.
Drone enthusiasts who flout regulations will be fined Dh50,000 and/or jailed for three years, officials have said.
So far, 4,100 drone users have been registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), a top official said on Saturday, adding that before the campaign started last year, only 561 drones were approved and registered.
The awareness drive titled ‘You Are Responsible’ was launched last year to educate people about the rules and regulations governing drones.
Your guide on buying and using a drone in the UAE
1. Drone registration
All drones must be registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority, in order to fly them legally in the UAE. If your drone is not registered in the UAE, you will be subject to possible legal action.
To register your non-commercial drone, you need to include the below information:
Operator’s contact details: Phone, Fax, Mobile number, and Email address
Operator’s Emirates ID (front and back sides)
Operator’s Passport copy along with Visa page
Operator Passport size Photo
Drone type and model
Drone Serial number
Operator Training Certificate (Mandatory via Sanad Academy)
The above information to be included in the online submission.
2. Where should you fly it?
All drone activities shall take place within the visual line of sight of the user not above 400 ft from ground level (approximately the height of Dubai World Trade Centre) without the use of visual aids, such as binoculars and within the aircraft’s operational range.
Refer to this map, in order to check where you can and cannot fly a drone or download the UAE Drone Fly Zone Map app for iTunes and Android.
3. When should you fly it?
Fly your drone only during daytime and in good weather conditions.
4. Where are drones not allowed?
Do not fly the drone within five kilometres from any airports, helipads, landing areas or manned aircraft. Do not fly near any buildings, houses, private properties or persons. Ensure that your drone also does not project any kind of bright light source into navigable airspace .
5. Avoid collisions
You are responsible to make sure that your drone does not crash into any other object, whether moving or still. Ensure that you do not endanger any people or vehicles.
6. Personal privacy
You should not fly your drone within 50 meters of a person walking or a vehicle driving down the street. This may cause shock and/or an accident.
7. Drone photography rules
When it comes to taking photos with your drone, make sure you follow the rules and maintain good intentions.
Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law 3 of 1987) makes it clear that taking a person’s picture without their consent or in legally permitted circumstances shall be an invasion of that person’s privacy or family life. Not only will the camera or device be confiscated and the recordings destroyed, but the photographer or videographer may have to pay a fine and be imprisoned. The same punishment is also applicable to anyone who publishes such pictures.
Article 43 of the UAE Copyright Law (Federal Law No. 7 of 2002) reiterates the offence under the Penal Code but also grants some exceptions. If the photographer or videographer captures a picture of another they shall not have the right to keep, show, exhibit, communicate, distribute, or publish the pictures without the prior consent of the person of whom the picture had been taken. The offence shall be punished by detention for not more than six months and payment of a fine.
The exceptions to this offence are if:
• The picture is captured at a public event
• The picture is of official personalities, public figures or celebrities or
• The publication of the pictures is permitted by the authorities in the public interest
Fly for fun and not for commercial purposes, unless you have the correct paperwork.