Commercial Drone Laws South Africa

Commercial Drone Laws South Africa

South Africans fly drones for multiple reasons. While the popularity of drones began as entertainment, drones have become a useful tool in commercial operations; they make complex jobs (like surveying) much easier and faster to complete. Due to privacy issues and the lack of barriers (literally), drone flying has been regulated to protect those in surrounding areas. Commercial drone laws are no different.

What constitutes commercial drone use?

Any drone that is used to assist in a professional capacity to generate profit (whether directly or indirectly) is known as a commercial drone.

Drone Laws Defined

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) oversees and enforces drone regulations nationally. If the rules are not adhered to, the person responsible for flying the drone may be subject to a hefty fine, and even confiscation of the equipment. The following are guidelines of drone laws to keep in mind:

  • Without special permission from the SACAA, drones may not be launched within 10km of an airport.
  • A drone may not be flown if it weighs more than seven kilograms.
  • To protect privacy, drones may not be launched within 50 metres of a private residence or of surrounding public unless given explicit permission by said individuals.
  • Drone pilots may not lose sight of their drones while on the ground as this poses a potential safety risk and breach of the abovementioned regulations.
  • Unless given explicit permission, drones may not be flown at night; daylight hour flying only.
  •  SANPark and other national parks are protected and will not allow the use of drones in or around them. This is for the safety of the animals.

Drone regulations are often changing, given that drone flying is relatively new to South Africa. It is important to regularly research your facts before setting up for drone surveying. For more information on our state-of-the-art surveying drones, and the software that supports them, give us a call!

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