UAV regulations in South Africa

Hobby pilots:

  • Can fly up to the height of the highest object in 300m of the drone, up to a max of 400 feet (RVLOS).
  • Can fly up to 500m away from the pilot, while maintaining direct line of sight (VLOS).
  • Can fly RPAS up to 7kg weight.
  • Need to keep more than 50m from people (lateral distance).
  • Need to keep more than 50m from roads (lateral distance).
  • Need to keep more than 50m from buildings (lateral distance).
  • Need to keep more than 10km from airports.
  • May only fly RPAS in daylight and clear weather conditions.
  • May not fly in No Fly Zones.
  • May not fly on any property without permission from the property owner
  • Do not need an RPL (Remote Pilots Licence).
  • Do not need to register their RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) aircraft.
  • Do not need an aviation medical.

Commercial drone pilots require the following:

  • RPL pilot training (practical and theory training for RPAS in line with Part 101) and license.
  • Restricted Radio Licence (also known as Restricted Certificate of Radiotelephony – Aeronautical). 
  • Aviation Medical Certificate (or complete the Medical self assessment form supplied after 1 July)
  • RPAS specifications, Flight Manual and Maintenance program from manufacturer.
  • Field Operations Manual (generated by the operator) – must include the following sections:
    • Details of the operation
    • Risk assessment
    • SMS/ QMS Management Systems
    • Weather forecast and any other useful info for the date of operation
    • Permission for Aerial Work from Air Services Council and/or property owner/ landlord
  • Criminal record checks and background checks of all staff.
  • RPA registration (will be a registration number starting with ZT…)
  • RLA – RPA Letter of Approval.
  • ROC – RPAS Operating Certificate.
  • 3rd party insurance of minimum 500 000 ZAR

The above does not constitute to legal advice!

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