Why New Drone Laws Emerge

The Imperative for Well-Defined Drone Regulations

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New Drone Laws Define Drone Operations

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We need drone rules and regulations to ensure public safety is not compromised. Civil Aviation Regulators are very particular about this, especially when it comes to Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, used for business purposes. New drone laws and regulations are put in place to keep drone rules relevant, particularly for commercial drone operations.

Advancements in unmanned aircraft system technology have opened up new capabilities and commercial applications. Civil Aviation Regulators have implemented measures to safeguard airspace, individuals, and valuable assets. This approach aims to recognize the invaluable benefits of advancing technology while defining effective drone rules.

The once hobbyist’s delight of a remotely piloted aircraft model has evolved into advanced unmanned aerial systems. Significant commercial and defense applications of UAS are now occurring at an unprecedented level. The flight capabilities, range, and prowess of these unmanned aircraft raise concerns about possible incursions into controlled airspace, especially by untrained drone pilots near airports.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are now the more appropriate terms used. Drone rules and regulations have been developed in response to acquired data on UAS usage, revealing the potential dangers posed by irresponsible drone operations to public safety. Therefore, new drone laws define drone operations for that purpose.

The Foundation of Drone Rules And Regulations

Aviators often define drones as aircraft, classifying them within the General Aviation segment of the Civil Aviation Sector

Our article explains the categorization of drones as aircraft, subjecting them to aviation regulations similar to those governing traditional aircraft operations

Drones have both recreational and commercial applications. Distinguishing between drones used solely for recreation and those with potential commercial risks is challenging. Advanced “heavyweight” drones, especially those operated by commercial entities, face legal consequences if a severe accident occurs

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Civil Aviation Authorities have endeavoured to create more lenient regulations for low-risk recreational drone operators. Drone activities within a country have the potential to impact international air traffic within their airspace. This concern has spurred the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop invaluable guidelines for drone operations, encouraging member states to formulate their own rules and regulations.

ICAO’s Development of Drone Rules and Standards

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) actively crafted drone regulations, drawing insights from diverse global experiences and legal precedents. On March 1, 2020, the ICAO introduced its Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) guidelines, which officially came into effect on July 12, 2020. These guidelines serve as a foundational framework for countries to establish their individual drone regulations. Initially, drones are referred to as “Unmanned Aircraft (UA)”, while remotely controlled drones are termed “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)”.

The SARPs primarily concentrate on the certification and airworthiness prerequisites of RPAS, with a specific focus on Annex 8 within the comprehensive set of 18 annexes. Ultimately, these standards will be integrated into all other annexes in a suitable format.

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The ongoing harmonization of regulations across the entire ecosystem aims to ensure the safe operation of civil aviation in the era of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This initiative encompasses remotely piloted, autonomous, and hybrid operations.

The progression of these efforts will prove advantageous for authentic commercial drone operators. Conversely, less dedicated or self-proclaimed leaders in commercial drone operations may witness a decline in relevance within this evolving landscape.

Defining Commercial Drone Operations with New Drone Laws

The forthcoming drone regulations will delineate commercial drone operations by ensuring that commercial drone operators adhere to all ICAO drone regulations. While the safety protocols embedded in these drone rules may lead to increased costs, the long-term financial benefits will far outweigh the initial investments.

Countries worldwide will embrace and adjust to these regulations, mandating compliance from commercial drone operators. The gradual implementation of these rules will introduce additional expenses to commercial drone operations.

The Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Regulations are designed to safeguard individuals and property from potential risks. As aircraft, these regulations will stipulate that commercial drone operators must:

  • comply with safety and airworthiness standards as determined by the civil aviation authority for commercial drone operations in a country.
  • maintain and manage drones by trained, qualified competent manpower meeting the standards set by their country’s Civil Aviation Authorities.
  • implement and adhere to safe operating procedures and practices.
  • must have the necessary human and financial resources to comply with all applicable regulations and standards.
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Are There Other Drone Rules Needing Compliance?

Absolutely! Various agencies in a country may have more drone rules and regulations, depending on the purpose of the commercial drone operations.

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The above illustrates potential areas of infringements, also governed by laws when flying drones in a country. They are by no means exhaustive! These regulations are in place to maintain public safety, peace, and order in a country.

Will Complying with Drone Rules Financially Burden Commercial Drone Operators?

Not at all! The benefits a commercial drone operator gains will outweigh the costs in the long term. Consider the potential financial losses a commercial drone operator could face if an accident occurs.

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Obtaining insurance is the best way for commercial drone operators to manage risks, but this is only possible by adhering to regulations. Acquiring adequate insurance protection requires a rigorous evaluation process. Insurers will closely examine practices, procedures, risk mitigation strategies, and competencies, among other factors. This scrutiny is even more intense for commercial drone operations. Complying with drone rules is a minimum requirement for underwriting considerations.

Compliance with drone regulations is mandatory to obtain proper insurance coverage. Protection from massive third-party liabilities and lawsuits could be crucial for the survival of a commercial drone business.

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Reliable, safe, and trustworthy commercial drone operations are crucial for generating revenue streams. This is essential for building a viable commercial drone business. Customers will not risk their goods or services with an incompetent commercial drone operator. This principle is fundamental to sales and marketing, which relies on compliance with the drone laws of the civil aviation authority in the country.

Are the Benefits of Operating as a Commercial Drone Operator Justifiable?

Indeed, engaging in commercial drone operations proves worthwhile when envisioning a viable business venture. The evolution of drone technology and its potential advantages to a nation have prompted governments to establish rules and regulations. The aspiration to yield profits from commercial drone services necessitates a dedicated commitment.

Venturing into commercial drone activities for financial gain demands the capacity to enhance profitability. This is an essential prerequisite. The rapid pace of technological progress and the innovative solutions derived from drones or UA act as drivers for promising new business opportunities. The creative applications enabled by this platform have only begun to be explored. Novel opportunities that were previously unexplored are emerging continuously.

The investment in commercial drone operations is strategic. Just as there were initial doubts about developing a multifunctional telephone, drones face similar scepticism.

Initially, investing in smartphone technology, akin to drones, was deemed extravagant!

Are you ready to ride the next wave of this still-emerging technology and embark on your commercial drone operations?

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We welcome your insightful comments, views, and arguments. Please send your email to info@esbaviation.com.

Mohd Raffick Bin Mohd Nor

An extremely passionate veteran aviator and Aircraft Engineer. He has been involved with youth development in aviation for more than 50 years. Currently the principal contributor and founder of the The Budding Aviator’s Hub

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