How to Operate Drones Legally in South Africa
Although the draft regulations have not yet been adopted, a number of drone operators have begun to comply with the draft regulations.
For example, it is possible to achieve a number of the requirements of the draft regulations, including the following.
Some Drone Operators Already Have Achieved the Following:
- Restricted Radio Licence (also known as Restricted Certificate of Radiotelephony – Aeronautical). Online theory exam at CAA as well as a practical exam with a certified examiner.
- Aviation Medical Certificate (class 4 or 2, or self assessment depending on your operation).
- English Language Proficiency Certificate.
- RPL pilot training (practical and theory training for RPAS as per regs).
- Prepared documents to be ready to submit as soon as it is possible to do so (see below).
- RPAS Flight Manual.
- RPAS Maintenance program (manufacturer).
- RPAS technical description.
- Operations Manual (operator).
- SMS (as per regs).
- QMS (as per regs).
- Field Operations Manual.
- Criminal record checks of all staff.
After the draft regulations are adopted, drone operators will be able to progress further.
Not Yet Possible to Achieve:
- RPL – Remote Pilot Licence. Will be a single online exam at CAA.
- RPA registration (will be a registration number starting with ZT…)
- ROC (RPAS Operating Certificate).
- RLA (RPA Letter of Approval).
- Permission for Aerial Work from Air Services Council.
This article applies to commercial drone operations.