Laws for operating Drones or RPAS in South Africa


The ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in South Africa found it necessary to add regulations that govern the operation of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). Under these standards and laws, you need to acquire a permit from the South African Authorities to operate different forms of RPAS. The operations could range from private, commercial, corporate to non-profit use.

Private use

The RPAS can only be used by an individual for private purposes if there is no financial gain

There is no need for a Remote Pilots License (RPL) to operate one

It is not necessary to undertake an aviation medical test

You do not have to the RPAS

The drone cannot be flown night if you have special permission

You can fly a drone that is up to 7kg

You can to fly up to a maximum of 400 ft

The drone can fly up to 500M away from the pilot but should maintain direct line of sight

You should fly the drone 50 meters away from people, road and, buildings

the drone Should  fly 10km away from airports

Do not fly in restricted or prohibited airspace including prison, police station, nuclear power plant, crime scene and national key points. You can only get to fly in these areas if you have a permission from SACAA.

Additional Laws for commercial use of RPAS

First, the rules require that anyone operating a drone commercially must have a valid and approved pilot license from CAA. One should also be in possession of an approval letter to fly a drone. The approval letters are valid for one year, so one should get to renew them annually.

You must undergo an RPL pilot training (practical and theory training for RPAS in line with Part 101)

You must have an English Language Proficiency Certificate

Be in possession of an Aviation Medical Certificate

You must have a Restricted Radio License by undertaking an online theory exam at CAA and a practical exam with a certified examiner

You need to carry a remote operator’s certificate (ROC) and an Air service license

It is a must to register the drone with the SACAA

You need to record all your flights in a logbook

You must tune and maintain the aircraft to ensure that it flies safely.

It is important to visit the CAA website for full details on its aviation regulations related to RPAS part 101.





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Archmedes is a Features Editor at PC Fuse, where he tests and reviews desktops, laptops, monitors, HDTVs, printers and much more. Besides articles and reviews, he also provides news coverage for all hardware and software related tech news for techguy.