We have a distinct memory of an evening from a couple of years back when a news channel started flashing news about a drone delivering a Pizza. It felt like a fantastic new era of technology had suddenly set in upon us. It was going to be one of those things that would take away jobs and be at the cusp of a boon and a bane. The air was rife with speculation. Would restaurants now use drone to deliver food? Would supply chain companies use it to deliver things? Would your grocery reach your doorstep via a drone? Would drones be capable of invasion of privacy? What threats did they possess? Even as these questions were being contemplated, the tourism industry had new fodder for thought. What if tourists used these for their photography?
It is not too difficult to get your hands on a drone if you really want to. Keeping all the questions people had, the DGCA decided to put some rules and regulations in place so that misuse is prevented. If you are a traveler who is contemplating using a drone, here’s what you need to know before you get started
1. It is illegal to fly drones in India without permission and training
2. There is a huge security concern around drones which needs to be taken seriously
3. Know the norms before you decide to fly one
A drone is commonly known as a civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released the Civil Aviation Requirements for flying a drone in 2017. Here’s what it says
Know which drone you are flying
Drones are divided into five categories as per their Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW)
Nano <= 250 gms
Micro <= 2kg
Small <= 150kg
Large > 150kg
Most drones need to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP). Those up to the weight of 2kg or less can operate without the UIN or UAOP, provided they are flown below 200 feet and within the premises of an educational institution. Even then, you need to inform local police authorities before you do it!
- Who qualifies to apply for a UIN
- You are a citizen of India
- You belong to the central / state government or any company owned by them
- As a company or corporate body, you are registered India as your primary place of business with 2/3rd of your directors being citizens of India.
- If you are a company outside India, you have leased the RPAS to a company which meets any of the above three criteria.
You need to submit a whole array of documents to be able to procure the license which is valid for 5 years, after which it will be have to be renewed. You also need to keep in mind that a breach of rules will attract penalties and action from the state authorities.
As a traveler visiting Andaman, we would advise you to not undertake drone photography for recreational purposes. If you intend to use a drone, please be sure of ensuring you have the right licenses and do it within the rules and regulations of the government of India. Also, do keep in mind that these rules and regulations may change without prior notice and it is advisable to check with the relevant authorities before you get started.
Want to know more about what Andaman can offer in terms of photography?