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  • Writer's pictureDrone Gyaan

Clearing the fog around drone fly zones in India

Welcome to India's amazing world of drone flying! Drones have grown in popularity for both recreational and professional applications, capturing breath-taking aerial footage and revolutionizing a variety of industries. However, before you take off with your drone, you must be aware of the fly zones specified by India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The Indian airspace for drones is divided into three distinct zones- green, red, and yellow - that govern where you can safely fly your drone, each with its own set of rules and regulations. These zones are designed to ensure the safe operation of drones while minimizing any potential risks or interference with manned aircraft.

First up, we have the green zone. This zone encompasses the majority of rural and averagely inhabited areas of India. If you fly your drone in a green zone, no permit is needed to operate drones weighing up to 500 kg. You must still register your drone on the DGCA's Digital Sky platform. Operators only need to notify the local police authorities before conducting any flights. The green zone is the airspace between the ground and a vertical distance of 400 feet (120 meters). Through Digital Sky, you can fly your drone in a green zone without requiring permission from the DGCA This zone provides a great opportunity for drone enthusiasts to explore and capture breath-taking aerial footage without many restrictions The red zone is frequently located around airports, military installations, and other critical locations. Drone operations are severely limited in these areas due to security concerns. This restricted area, often known as the no drone zone, is where drone activities are prohibited unless ‘special circumstances' exist. Flying a drone in a red zone necessitates specific clearance from appropriate authorities such as airports or defense organizations.

The yellow zone serves as a buffer between the green and red zones. It contains controlled airspace, where drone operations may be restricted, although not as severely as in the red zone. You would need authorization from the air traffic control authorities to fly in the yellow zone. This zone applies for a vertical distance of 200 feet up to 12 km from the perimeter of an operational airport. Above 400 feet, the regulations of a yellow zone apply as well. Permits may be necessary based on characteristics such as altitude and proximity to specific landmarks or infrastructure.

To summarise, by adhering to these rules and respecting each designated air zone's limitations and permissions (i.e., Green Zones requiring no permission but intimation; Yellow Zones requiring permission; and Red Zones being completely off-limits), we can foster a culture of responsible droning that fosters both creativity and safety.

The interactive airspace map accessible on the Digital Sky Portal illustrates that flying a drone in dense urban situations is difficult and dangerous. As a result, the majority of metropolitan cities are classified as red or yellow zones. The limits (in terms of the three zones) become less severe as one moves out from the city center.

It's vital for all drone enthusiasts and operators in India to familiarize themselves with these designated zones and adhere to DGCA rules at all times. Understanding these different drone fly zones is crucial before taking your quadcopter out for a spin. By adhering to these guidelines set by DGCA, you can enjoy flying your drone responsibly while respecting safety measures implemented for everyone's benefit.

This diagram sums it up well:

Don't prefer so much text? Watch this short video explaining the same!

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