DUBAI // Anyone who received a drone as a present this year has been reminded that they must register it with authorities.
Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority, said it was important people know the regulations that govern drone ownership.
“Whether it is received as a gift or bought by the person, it doesn’t matter. People need to register their drones with the GCAA,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.
“We recommend that people visit the GCAA website and read the rules and regulations along with the instructions on how to register their devices.”
Dubai International Airport was shut down for about half an hour on September 28 as a result of unauthorised drone flights within its airspace.
Drones are prohibited within 5 kilometres of the UAE’s airports.
The following day, the GCAA issued a regulation requiring drone operators to hold apermit and liability insurance of at least Dh2 million.
Mansour Al Baloushi, chairman of Sanad Air Academy, which has been endorsed by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to provide certification for remote drone use, said that they test the operators before they register them with the GCAA.
“We test the operator and his abilities, and if we see that he needs more training, we enter him in an intensive two-day course,” he said. “Any drone with a camera, no matter what size, needs to be registered and cleared.
“We also make sure that the hobbyist knows the latest rules and regulations, so he knows what he’s in for when he wants to fly the drone.”
Binod Kumar, general manager of the Ultimate Hobby shop in Dubai, had not noticed an increase of drone sales this season but said he always tells his customers to register their devices.
“There are different categories of people, some use drones as a hobby while others for professional purposes,” he said. “We always tell our customers to register their drones, and we even have put up a notice in the shop.”
Mr Kumar said that since the regulations came into effect, people are being very cooperative and willing to register their drones.
He advised customers so “they know how to fly their devices safely and in what areas and places they are allowed to fly them”.
Business users must comply with different rules and are required to obtain both GCAA operating approvals and, when cameras are used, security clearance.
Anyone using a drone without authorisation could face up to one year in prison and a Dh50,000 fine.
To register a drone or for more information, visit the GCAA website.