Rules and Regulations for drones in India

This Blog intends to bring clarity about the legality of drone operation in India.

Rule 1 :

There have been many doubts and uncertainty about the rules and regulations framed by the DGCA for drones/RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) in India. The DGCA has brought drones/RPA under the civil aviation regulations and framed a CAR for RPA.

The talk henceforth will be according to DGCA acronyms.

Civil RPA is categorized according to max. All-Up-Weight (including payload) as indicated below:

(i). Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams.
(ii). Micro: Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.
(iii). Small: Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.
(iv). Medium: Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.
(v). Large: Greater than 150 kg.

Imported RPA

  1. The importer or seller or manufacturer of RPAs should obtain Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing (Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing) Dept. of Telecom. Such approval shall be valid for a particular make and model.
  2. The applicant (other than Nano category) should apply to DGCA for import clearance through the Digital Sky Platform. Nano drones do not need import clearance.
  3. After receipt of import clearance from DGCA, the applicant should approach DGFT (all categories) for an import license.

Only after receipt of import license, the applicant can import the RPAS into India.

Locally purchased RPA

  1. The applicant should ensure that locally purchased RPA has ETA from WPC Wing, DoT for operating in a de-licensed frequency band(s). Such approval shall be valid for a particular make and model.
  2. The applicant should submit information as per the format given in the Digital Sky Platform along with the application for the issue of UIN.

Unique Identification Number (UIN)

  1. Except for Nano (flying up to 50ft. in uncontrolled/enclosed premises) and a few Govt. bodies, others are required to obtain UIN.
  2. For imported RPA, ETA from WPC, import clearance from DGCA and import license from DGFT are required before applying for UIN.
  3. For locally purchased RPA, ETA from WPC and NPNT compliance certificate from OEM is required before applying for UIN.
  4. The application for UIN is to be submitted through the Digital Sky platform.

Rule 2 :

Supporting Documents:-

  1. Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing
  2. OEM Certificate
  3. Security documents from MHA or copies of any 2 IDs (Passport, Driving License, Aadhar)
  4. Specification of UAS & applicable Manuals.
  5. Any other supporting documents deemed necessary

Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) 

The following entities will not require UAOP:

a) Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.
b) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.
c) RPA owned and operated by the NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence agencies.

After obtaining UIN, the eligible applicant should apply for UAOP through the Digital Sky platform along with the following supporting documents and requisite fees.

(i) Standard Operating Procedure
(ii) Permission of the land/property owner (only for the area used for take-off and landing of RPA);
(iii) Details of the remote pilot(s) along with security clearance from MHA or self-attested copies of at least two out of three valid identity proofs viz. Passport, Driving License/ Pilot License or Aadhar Card and copies of training records.;
(iv). Insurance details (as applicable);

(v). Security program as approved by BCAS.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

RPA operation shall be restricted to Indian territorial airspace with the exception that no RPA shall be operated:

a) beyond 500 m from the coastline into the sea
b) within 25 km from International Border.

  1. Remote Pilot Station shall be located on the ground and shall not be onboard any moving or stationary vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  2. The height of the operation of RPA shall be restricted to below 400 ft AGL.
  3. RPA operation shall be conducted within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) of the remote pilot, only in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and within the tolerance limits on wind and precipitation specified by the manufacturer.
  4. RPAS operation shall be conducted only during daylight; i.e. between sunrise and sunset. Launch and recovery sites for RPAS operation, including emergency operation zone and any safety zone for operations shall be under the full control of the RPAS operator.

Any RPAS, nano or micro, operating above 50 feet (15 m) AGL and 200 feet (60 m) AGL respectively will need to obtain the required certifications from the DGCA and the pilot operating will need to obtain a UAOP.

Rule 3 :

OPERATING RESTRICTIONS

13.4.1 No RPA shall be operated:

  1. Within a distance of 5 km from the perimeter of airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad;
  2. Within a distance of 3 km from the perimeter of any civil, private or defense airports, other than those mentioned in Para 13.4.1 a);
  3. Above the applicable Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS) surfaces, whichever is lower, of an operational aerodrome;
  4. Within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas, Temporary Reserved Areas (TRA) and Temporarily Segregated Areas (TSA) published in AIP, including those areas published for short duration through NOTAM;
  5. Within 3 km from the perimeter of military installations and facilities;
  6. Within 5 km radius from Vijay Chowk in Delhi;
  7. Within 2 km from the perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA);
  8. Within 3 km from a radius of State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals; and i) Over eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries notified by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC).
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