CAAS puts out list of dos and don'ts for flying drones this Christmas
Drones are a popular Christmas gift this year, prompting the authorities to remind recreational drone flyers who may have received the latest model toy to practise safe flying.
An updated list of dos and don'ts has been put out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for both hobbyists and those flying drones for the first time.
The precautionary move came about due to the 25 or so cases of drone operators flying foul of the rules since new regulations kicked in last June.
The regulations spell out, among other things, when a drone-flying permit is required, and where it can be flown safely.
CAAS director for the aviation industry, Mr Daniel Ng, said the campaign is being done in the interest of flight and public safety, and to raise people's awareness "on the need to fly their drones safely and responsibly".
It was launched last week.
Desired flying practices include sending the mini-machines up in the sky only when the weather is clear and visibility is good, said the CAAS.
Users are also advised to keep their drones in sight at all the times, and not to fly over crowds or areas where they may interfere with emergency or moving vehicles.
A permit is needed when the drone weighs above 7kg, flies above a height of 60m or is used for commercial purposes.
Operators also need to apply for a permit to ensure they do not fly over restricted and dangerous zones, including within 5km of an airport or an airbase.
Those who break the rules can be fined up to $20,000 for their first offence.
Repeat offenders can be fined up to $40,000, jailed up to 15 months, or both.
Drone retailers, such as Rotor Hobby, said sales has risen for Christmas.
It is selling about 20 per cent more this month, especially for the cheaper models that start from as low as $39, said its manager, Ms Swen Lee.
She added that first-timers "actually ask us for advice as they are afraid they may do something illegal".
Mr Alvin Lim, a staff member at The Drone Shop, said the store "has a big poster listing the dos and don'ts that we show to new flyers".
Mr Felix Oking, 34, an administrator of drone hobby group Universal Drones Singapore, said newcomers should preferably not go alone on their maiden flight.
He said: "They should do it with an experienced flyer.
"New flyers can also join online drone groups, where they can get advice and tips on how to fly their drones."