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Not all drones require our approval, says DCA

The Department of Civil Aviation clarified that not all operators of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are required to obtain approval from the department. — AFP file picThe Department of Civil Aviation clarified that not all operators of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are required to obtain approval from the department. — AFP file picPUTRAJAYA, Nov 24 — Drone operators can heave a sigh of relief. The Department of Civil Aviation says not all operators of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are required to obtain approval from the department.

DCA director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abd Rahman said any person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft with a mass of not more than 20 kg might fly the aircraft without an approval from the DCA as long as “he is satisfied that the flight can safely be made”.

“Notwithstanding that, all UAV are not allowed to fly in Class A, B, C or G airspace and around an aerodrome unless otherwise authorised by the DCA,” he said in a statement today in response to a recent published article “Drone Wings to be Clipped”.

According to the article, DCA is setting up an enforcement unit to act against the flying of unregistered drones in the country. The unit is reportedly expected to start operations early next year and would be based at all 21 airports nationwide.

It also said that the unit was introduced because many drone owners are not aware that flying the machines outside their home compounds is illegal.

In his statement, Azharuddin said DCA was currently undertaking an extensive study on the possibility of establishing an enforcement unit for purposes of civil aviation safety as well as the possibility of registering certain types of UAV.

“No definite decision has been made thus far and DCA will provide updates and make announcements once a decision has been reached,” he said.

According to the article, DCA is planning to tighten control on drone flights by making it compulsory for owners to register the devices.

It also said that DCA is proposing a one-time registration fee of RM800 and a renewal fee of RM500 for the following year.

Azharuddin said no charges were imposed on all types of UAV.

“However, charges may apply on certain types of UAV or flying a UAV for the purpose of aerial work where the UAV is used to provide specialised services,” he said. — Bernama

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