Regulations for drone use in Guyana under review

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The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has commenced reviewing lax regulations that address drone use in Guyana.

Before drones became popular here, they were expensive and virtually impossible for the average consumer to imagine owning or operating.

But fortunately, drone technology has evolved since then and are available in models ranging from massive enterprise-level machines meant to enhance farming and construction operations to small, fun consumer models designed for racing and photography.

However, present regulations at the GCAA are “inadequate” to thoroughly manage drone operations here, according to the 2021 end of the year report of the aviation body.

And already, the GCAA has 737 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operators and 565 drones registered with some 247 drone permits issued in 2021.

The GCAA’s 2021 end of year report pointed out that “fines and penalties” that address the unsafe or inappropriate use of drones need to be increased.

However, a senior official at GCAA explained to the News Room on Monday that persons can still be charged for breaching the drone regulations.

“Drones can impede or infringe on people’s privacy. It can also penetrate an airspace that an aircraft operates in and pose a danger and this is especially our main concern.

“Those are things that we have to, to some extent regulate and control and the regulations [being developed] will address all of this,” the official shared.

The GCAA will be refining draft “Drones\UAV” regulations based on the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) model. This model requires all drones be registered and subject to a thorough review before a permit is granted.

According to the model stipulations, drones weighing 25 kg or less for standard recreational operations require no additional operational review but if it exceeds that weight, the device must be inspected and approved before a permit is granted.

Anyone desirous of using a drone must submit a request in writing to the Authority. That request must include the name and address of the applicant and the name of the company for whom he is working, if applicable.

The request must also include details of the aircraft to be used, including the make, model, serial number and dimensions of the aircraft, as well as the type of power plant installed on the aircraft, and any other information requested by the Authority.

The application process, which includes the required security clearance from the Guyana Police Force (GPF), can take up to a minimum of thirty (30) working days.

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