“Remotely piloted aircraft” (RPAS) means an unmanned aircraft which is piloted from a remote pilot station, excluding model aircraft and toy aircraft.
“Toy aircraft” means a product falling under the definition of aircraft which is designed or intended for use in play by children.
“Model aircraft” means a non-human-carrying aircraft capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere and used exclusively for air display, recreational use, sport or competitions, operated at approved SAMAA airfields only
Acceptable uses of RPAS
For private use –
(a) The RPAS may only be used for an individual’s personal and private purposes where there is no commercial outcome, interest or gain;
(b) The pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities.
For all other use –
- the RPA must first be approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority for use by way of an RPA Letter of Authority (RLA);
- all RPAs must be registered by the South African Civil Aviation Authority prior to use;
- an RPA may only be operated in terms of Part 101 of the South African Civil Aviation Regulations which includes specific requirements that the operator shall hold RPAS Operating Certificate (ROC)
Dangers of negligent operation of an RPA:
Collision with other aircraft, with possible fatal results
- Collision with other aircraft, with possible fatal results
- Injury to the public
- Damage to people’s property
- Legal liability for breaking laws such as privacy by-laws and other laws enforceable by other authorities.
Do’s and Don’ts
DO NOT, through act or omission, endanger the safety of another aircraft or person therein or any person or property through negligent flying/operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft.
Do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft 50 m or closer from:
- Any person or group of persons (like sports field, road races, schools, social events, etc.)
- Any property without permission from the property owner.
Unless approved by the SACAA, DO NOT fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft or toy aircraft:
- Near manned aircraft
- 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad, airfield)
- Weighing more than 7 kg
- In controlled airspace
- In restricted airspace
- In prohibited airspace.
- Adjacent to or above a nuclear power plant, prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, national key point or strategic installation
- Over property for which you do not have permission to do so
Do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft higher than 150 ft from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACAA.
- Fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft in a safe manner, at all times.
- Remotely Piloted Aircraft or toy aircraft should remain within the visual line of sight at all times.
- Fly/operate RPA in daylight and clear weather conditions.
- Inspect your aircraft before each flight.
NOTE: The Director of Civil Aviation has designated an external organisation to oversee the operations of recreational aviation.
For more information on the operation of model aircraft, please contact the South African Model Aircraft Association (SAAMA), www.samaa.org.za.