Singapore

CAAS proposes changes to law governing drone use

They include mandatory training, more requirements

As more drones and unmanned aircraft take to the sky here, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is proposing enhancements to the laws governing their use in a bid to ensure public safety.

Five changes are being proposed to the existing unmanned aircraft regulatory framework, which was established in 2015.

They are the enhancements of operating guidelines for unmanned aircraft, an online training programme that will be compulsory for those flying unmanned aircraft weighing 1.5kg or more, as well as a pilot licensing scheme to ensure users have a minimum competency level.

There are also plans for the introduction of training organisation framework to support the proposed pilot licensing.

Another proposed change is the implementation of additional requirements for those flying unmanned aircraft weighing more than 25kg.

These requirements could include the partial or full certification of the device, as well as the certification of the operator and maintenance organisation.

The CAAS said yesterday that it is seeking public feedback about the proposed amendments.

Currently, the law requires operators of unmanned aircraft to apply for permits from the CAAS, depending on purpose, weight of the device and where it will be flown.

Mr Kevin Shum, CAAS director-general, said while the rapid growth in unmanned aircraft activities benefits both users and the economy, they may also pose a risk to aviation and public safety, particularly in Singapore's urban environment.

The CAAS said 1,137 activity permits for drones were filed between April 2016 and April last year, up from the 781 filed in the same period between 2015 and 2016.

CAR-FREE SUNDAY

The public consultation exercise was launched yesterday at a drone showcase during the first Car-Free Sunday SG event to be held outside the Civic District and Telok Ayer.

The half-day event took place at one-north, and was organised by JTC and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. About 3,000 people attended.

Companies and public agencies such as ST Aerospace and the National Parks Board demonstrated the use of drones for tasks such as delivering packages and tree inspection.

Singapore University of Technology and Design's assistant professor of engineering and product development Foong Shaohui said the proposed amendments, which apply mainly to drones weighing 1.5kg and above, would not affect most recreational users.

"A 1.5kg drone may not seem heavy, but if it falls on someone at high speeds, it could be dangerous."

Members of the public can offer their feedback about the proposed amendments until May 31, by visiting the Reach website at www.reach.gov.sg

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