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  • Writer's pictureDrone Gyaan

The Dos and Don'ts of Flying Drones in India: Stay Compliant with the Latest Regulations

Let's look into India's New Drone Rules and how those are “Fueling Innovation". Drone technology is soaring to new heights in India, but with a vision towards making our skies safe, secure and reliable, the Indian government has unveiled its newest set of Drone Rules for 2021. Indeed, the powers that you unlock with drones come with a lot of responsibility!

On August 25, 2021, a new era began with the activation of the updated and more lenient Drone Rules. These rules are intended to reshape the drone landscape, stimulating innovation and facilitating corporate growth like never before.

In this blogpost, we'll be your guide through the intricacies of the Drone Rules, highlighting the major provisions that will impact drone operators and manufacturers. From relaxed regulations to enhanced ease of doing business, there's a lot to unpack. So, fasten your seatbelts and join us as we soar through the exciting world of India's Drone Rules 2021!

The Drone Rules, 2021, significantly alter the classification and regulation of drones in India. Let's go over the main points of these rules and how they affect drone hobbyists and businesses.

Classification of drones: Drones shall be classified based upon the maximum all-up weight including payload as under –

  • Nano drone: Less than or equal to 250 gram;

  • Micro drone: Greater than 250 gram and less than or equal to 2 kilogram;

  • Small drone: Greater than 2 kilogram and less than or equal to 25 kilogram;

  • Medium drone: Greater than 25 kilogram and less than or equal to 150 kilogram; and

  • Large drone: Greater than 150 kilogram

The weight categories used in the previous UAS Rules - Nano, micro, small, medium, and large - have been retained. However, the additional factors of maximum speed and maximum attainable height for Nano drones have been removed. Now, all unmanned aircraft systems will be categorized solely based on their all-up-weight.

Category of Zones The Drone Rules 2021 associated airspace maps classifies Indian airspace into three zones as follows: Interactive Map with Zone Designations are coined to ensure safe and controlled drone operations, the government has established an interactive map with three zones - green, yellow, and red. Prior permission is required for flights in the red and yellow zones.

Red Zone allows unmanned aircraft system operations beyond the Central Governments specified port limits. Yellow Zone restricts unmanned aircraft system operations and requires permission from air traffic control authorities. Green Zone covers airspace above 400 feet or 120 meters, up to a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 meters, and up to 200 feet or 60 meters.

Online Registration on the Digital Sky Platform: No one shall operate an unmanned aircraft system without first registering it on the digital sky platform and acquiring a unique identification number, unless exempted from this requirement under the Drone Rules, 2021. This platform serves as a single-window mechanism for online registration, eliminating the need for separate clearances from various departments.

The Director General shall keep a record of all such unmanned aircraft systems to which a unique identifying number has been provided under Drone Rule, 2021.The person operating an unmanned aircraft system is responsible for ensuring that the unmanned aircraft system complies with a valid type certificate. After a Type Certificate has been issued, the manufacturer will assign the drone a Unique identification number (UIN). Users can receive this number by using the Digital Sky platform. This ensures that each individual drone is traceable and accountable. However recognized research and development organizations, educational institutions, start-ups, and other authorized testing entities working in a green zone under their control are exempt from getting a Unique Identification Number (UIN). To guarantee prompt processing, Type Certificates must be issued by the regulator within 75 days of receiving the application. Furthermore, the interactive map representing various zones on the Digital Sky Platform should be uploaded within 30 days of the rules being informed. Manufacturers of drones must obtain Type Certificates for each new model through the Digital Sky platform. Before the certificate is issued, the drone needs to be physically handed over to the Quality Council of India (QCI) or an authorized testing entity for examination. QCI will provide regulations specifying the requirements for obtaining Type Certificates for different types of drones.

Drone Pilot License Requirement: All drone operators, with the exception of operators of Nano or micro drones used for non-commercial purposes, must get a drone pilot license. This criterion emphasises the significance of sufficient training and understanding for securely operating drones. Operating an unmanned aircraft system on a digital sky platform necessitates a remote pilot licence. The unmanned aircraft system's category, sub-category, and classification must be specified in the license. To be eligible for a remote pilot licence, you must be between the ages of 18 and 65, pass a class tenth examination, and complete training from an authorised remote pilot training organisation. No security clearance required before issuance of any registration or license.

Safety Features: In the future, safety and security features such as 'No Permission - No Takeoff' (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing, and so on will be alerted. The industry will be given a six-month lead time for compliance. The maximum penalty for infractions has been decreased to INR 1 lakh.

Simplified Import Regulations: The Directorate General of Foreign Trade will be solely responsible for regulating drone imports. For international corporations wishing to fly drones in India, this streamlined approach provides clarity and efficiency.

With the implementation of the Drone Rules, authorities hope to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and maintaining safety in the drone business. These regulations provide a thorough framework for regulating drones of various sizes while allowing for technology improvements. By adhering to these guidelines, drone operators may navigate the sky safely, leading to a new era of aerial possibilities. Unlock the exhilarating world of drone exploration, while keeping your flight safe and secure! Fly into endless adventures today!

Too long, didn't read? Watch this short video explaining the same!

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