Drones are basically an unpiloted aircraft or spacecraft, or you can also call it as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It can be remotely controlled or flown autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems. In the past, drones were most often associated with the military, however, today it is used in a wide range of civilian roles ranging from search and rescue to personal use, to drone-based photography, as well as videography.
Recently, movie making has gained significant traction in India. People are not only just taking random videos but are almost making some world class movies and uploading on YouTube. And in this process, drones are playing a major role, helping take amazing drone shots.
But, how many of you know about the laws of flying a drone? Not many of you, I am sure. So, if you own a drone and have been flying it then read along as we are going to list down the rules and protocols of flying a drone in India.
All About India Drone Laws in India
There was a time where there were no specific rules and regulations for flying a drone. It was not even clear whether drones were legal or illegal in India. Also, it was not only creating a lot of trouble for the government authorities but also for the drone owners. The reasons are obvious — the nation’s security concerns.
And to deal with all the complications related to drones, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian governmental regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has released a draft to legalise drone with laws. And on 1 December 2018, the new laws were rolled out.
DGCA has divide drones into five categories based on the weights of the drones
- Nano Drone: Less than or equal to 250 grams.
- Micro Drone: Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.
- Small Drone: Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.
- Medium Drone: Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.
- Large Drone: Greater than 150 kg.
If you own a drone that comes under the nano category (weighs not more than 250 gms ), then you don’t need to take any kind of permission to fly as these nano drones are basically toy drones that don’t cause any kind of harm. And drones that weigh more than 250 gms require permission to fly. Just like cars and bikes that have number plates, even drones need to be registered and get a Unique Identity Number (UIN). However, DGCA will allow drones below 2 kg of weight to fly without a UIN provided they are flown below 200ft. . For example, if you own DJI Mavic that weighs not more than 1 Kg, you can fly it without a UIN. Also, to know the guidelines for obtaining a UIN for your drone, click here
That is not all, to fly your drone there are several other rules and regulations that you need to take care of. Any drone found disobeying any of the laws, will have to face legal actions.
Here are the things that you need to take care before you go out there and fly your drone:
- Do not fly your drone over densely populated areas or large crowds
- Respect others privacy when flying your drone
- Do not fly your drone within 5km of airports or in areas where aircraft are operating
- You must fly during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions
- Do not fly your drone in sensitive areas including government or military facilities. Use of drones or camera drones in these areas are prohibited
- You must be at least 18 years old and have completed a training course
- All drones must be equipped with a license plate identifying the operator, and how to contact them
- You must only fly your drone within the visual line of sight
- You cannot fly more than one UAV at a time
- Do not fly your drone within 50km of a border
- Do not fly your drone more than 500 meters into the sea, from the coastline
- Do not fly within 5km of Vijay Chowk in Delhi
- Do not fly over national parks or wildlife sanctuaries
- All drones must have liability insurance
To know more about the drone laws of India, you can refer to DGCA’s documentation.
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Harshajit is a writer / blogger / vlogger. A passionate music lover whose talents range from dance to video making to cooking. Football runs in his blood. Like literally! He is also a self-proclaimed technician and likes repairing and fixing stuff. When he is not writing or making videos, you can find him reading books/blogs or watching videos that motivate him or teaches him new things.