Laws on drone usage vary from country to country

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 23 Nov 2017

Permit needed: Operating a drone is easy but technically every unmanned aircraft needs a permit from the DCA to fly in Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Laws governing drone usage vary from country to country but generally, most nations allow unmanned aerial vehicles to operate in their airspace with restrictions and conditions.

For example, Myanmar and Vietnam require drone operators to get a mandatory permit from their Defence Departments and their respective Civil Aviation Depart­ments to fly drones.

Travellers to these countries are advised to secure the permit before entering the country or risk having their drones seized upon arrival.

The good news is that travellers may reclaim their seized drones upon departure.

Indonesia and Singapore allow drones to be flown without a permit.

However, they must fly below an altitude of 60m in Singapore and 150m in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, drones also cannot be operated near an airport or in an airplane’s flight path and in some places, over temples. They also cannot fly over people.

Those found breaking the law face three years’ jail and a fine of up to one billion rupiah (about RM304,000), according to the Indonesia Transport Ministry’s Regulation No. 90.

In Singapore, a drone operator also needs to have the device within sight at all times and may not fly it near buildings.

However, those conducting aerial surveys or commercial photography have to obtain a permit from Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority.

In Thailand, any drone without a camera can fly without a permit.

Flying any drone with a camera mounted requires permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), a requirement introduced early this year.

Thailand also requires drone operators to be above the age of 18.

A special permit from the Historical Park Office is also needed when flying a drone over historical parks or sites.

Anyone caught flying without a permit will have their devices confiscated.

Drones are not allowed to fly over cities and villages in Thailand and the maximum altitude is 90m.

Drone owners also need insurance coverage.

In Britain, drones may not be flown within 150m of a congested area and 50m of a person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the pilot.

The British government also requires all aerial vehicles weighing more than 250g to be registered with the Transport Department.

Those who fail to register their drones will be fined.

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