Dubai has announced that it would start issuing Drone registration cards to commercial and private users starting May.
In addition, at least 15 areas have been marked as either no-fly zones or sensitive areas that require prior approvals.
“We do not want a repeat of the incident last year where there was an intrusion close to the Dubai Airport. The airport was closed down for close to 55 minutes,” says Michael Rudolph, Head, Aviation Regulations and Safety, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA).
“We are the only country in the world to have set up a similar system. Others are still in the process of studying and finalising a similar mechanism,” he says.
According to him, once in place all drones will have to have a registration card to operate.
The DCAA unveiled the new registration cards that will be mandatory for all drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operated in the Emirate of Dubai.
“Anyone intending to use RPAS for any commercial and hobby activity must gain permission from the DCAA. Otherwise they will be violating the law,” says Khalid al Arif, Director, Standards and Regulations Department, DCAA. He was addressing media during the first day of the World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai.
DCAA is also in the process of signing MoU with other agencies including the Dubai Police, Department of Economy and the Dubai Customs in an effort to set up a water tight regulatory framework.
Import and sale of all new drones will have to meet the new standards.
There are five kinds of registrations. One for the government entities, for commercial organisations, for professional use such as event videography, a temporary registration for visitors and for hobbyists.
A web portal will be put in place where registrations will be accepted and processed within 72 hours. This will be followed by a mobile application which will facilitate the same.
"Every single application will be assessed on a case to case basis," he adds.
DCAA is also in final level talks with an institute that would provide training and assessment before the drone or RPAS can be registered.
Sanad Air Academy could be awarded the contract do so.
"In order to register operators should undergo a training and should be aware of all the rules and regulations. The institute will be responsible to provide such training," said Salim Mohamed Bin Salim Al Suwaidi, Aerodrome Senior Inspector, Standards and Regulations Department at DCAA.
The institute will also be responsible for conducting safety checks and passing the drone.
"The RPAS will be checked for motors, body, lighting, GPS and radio frequency. The tests will be conducted annually before the registrations are renewed," says Al Suwaidi.