The UAS/drone industry is diverse, innovative and international. It has an enormous potential for growth with the associated possibility to create jobs. To ensure a safe, secure and environmentally friendly development, and to respect the citizens’ legitimate concerns for privacy and data protection, GCAA has developed a regulatory framework for UAS/drone operations in the UAE.
2. THE LAW
A term of imprisonment not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Dirhams, or either penalty, shall be imposed on the following persons:
- An owner or operator of an aircraft who caused it to be flown without an authorization or permit from the Competent Authority or prior to obtaining a certificate of registration or a certificate of airworthiness or after the expiry or revocation of such certificates,
- Any person who has unlawfully piloted an aircraft or who has taken command of an aircraft in flight without holding the required certificate, licences or authorizations require under the provisions of this Law,
- Any person who has piloted an aircraft when drunk to such an extent as to impair his capacity to pilot the aircraft,
- Any person who has caused damage to aeronautical communication facilities or navigation aids on the ground or who has not maintained such facilities in a good condition if required to do so, or
- A pilot-in-command who has failed to enter the required information in the documents or records of the aircraft or who has altered such information.
A term of imprisonment not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Dirhams, or either penalty, shall be imposed on the following persons:
- Any person who has piloted an aircraft or caused it to be flown without bearing the nationality and registration marks or displaying incorrect or ineligible marks,
- Any person who has piloted an aircraft over prohibited area or has flown over any such area and has failed to comply with the instructions issued to him,
- Any person who has not complied with an order to land his aircraft while in flight over the territory of the State,
- Any person who has caused his aircraft to land at or take off from areas other than the designated airports or locations, or has flown the aircraft outside the designated areas, unless he has obtained a special authorization to do so from the Competent or Appropriate Authority,
- Any pilot-in-command of an aircraft who flies without authorization over the territory of the State and carries on board such an aircraft:
i) Weapons, munitions of war or any other items the carriage of which is prohibited under national laws, or
ii) Persons having the intention of committing an act of smuggling or felony, even if no such felony has actually been committed.
- Any person who has refrained unjustifiably from complying with a request from the Competent Authority to Participate, within the limits of the means available to him, in the rescue of an aircraft or in the rescue of a person facing imminent danger as a result of an aircraft accident.
Aerial Work: An UAS operation in which an UAS is used for specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, search and rescue, aerial advertisement, etc.
Individual Registration: All UAS/drones, regardless of their weight, which are used by individuals for recreational purposes, shall be registered with the GCAA.
Operator: A person, organisation or enterprise engaged in or offering to engage in an aircraft operation.
Remote Pilot Station: The component of the remotely-piloted UAS system containing the equipment used by a pilot for flying the UAS remotely.
Remotely Piloted UAS System (UASS): A set of configurable elements consisting of a remotely- piloted UAS, its associated remotely-piloted station(s), the required command and control links and any other system elements, as may be required at any point during flight operation.
UAS Organisation (Commercial): An organisation which is involved in all types of commercial operation and which receives reward/payment for its activities.
UAS Organisation (Non Commercial): A government entity involved in non-commercial operations, which includes all types of activities for their own projects.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Remote Piloted Aerial Vehicle (UASV) or Drone is actual unmanned aerial vehicle, other than a balloon or kite which is intended to be operated with no pilot on board.
Visual Line of Sight: The maximum distance between the UAS/drone and manned aircraft within which the position and the trajectory of the UAS/drone can be visually observed without the use of camera, binoculars or other visual aids, and the distance where the UAS/drone can be safely maneuvered and collisions with other UAS/drone or manned aircraft, persons or property on the ground can be avoided. Other visual aids are not spectacles or contact lenses used for correction of reduced vision.
4. TYPE OF USERS
a) Individual/Private (Recreational)
- This category is for all individual/private users who would like to fly UAS/drones in the UAE for leisure (hobby).
b) Organization/Operator (Commercial & Non Commercial)
- This category is for all organization/operators who would like to operate UAS/drones in the UAE for commercial purposes or for special operations e.g. photography, aerial survey, etc.
a) Requirements for an Individual/Private User (Recreational)(Click to Apply)
- The user and UAS/drone shall be registered with the GCAA before flying;
- All UAS/drones weighing 5kgs or less shall only be allowed to fly in the approved flying zone (i.e the green zone);
- No video or image capturing devices shall be used when flying the UAS/drone;
- No UAS/drones shall be equipped with drop or release devices;
- UAS/drones flying range shall be within line-of-sight and not more than 400 feet above ground level;
- UAS/drones shall fly only during day time and in good weather conditions;
- UAS/drones shall be used for fun and not for commercial purposes;
- The user shall be responsible to ensure the UAS/drones is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and it is inspected before commencement of flight;
- No user shall fly the UAS/drones near public and/or private property;
- No user shall fly the UAS/drones within 5 km of UAE airports outer fence, Heliports, Helicopter landing Sites, and airfields or in controlled zones;
- Direct radio control link shall be maintained between the user and the UAS/drones;
- Frequency Band Restrictions (29.7-47.0 MHz max power 10 mW, or 2400-2500 MHz max power 100 mW) shall be maintained;
- UAS/drones user shall take into consideration the effects on radio communication, interference of the frequency used;
- UAS/drones user shall avoid collisions with people, objects, other manned and unmanned aircraft;
- UAS/drones user shall not harass or endanger people or threaten to damage property;
- UAS/drones owner shall be responsible to inform the GCAA through the GCAA website when he/she intends to resell the UAS/drones;
- If a UAS/drones accident or UAS/drones loss of control has occurred, the user shall immediately report the incident/accident to the GCAA on hotline: +971506414667 and E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
- All UAS/drones weighing above 5kgs and/or equipped with gas engine shall only operate within the GCAA approved flying clubs;
- The minimum age to fly UAS/drones weighing more than 25Kgs is 21 years;
b) Requirements for an Organization/Operator (Commercial & Non Commercial)
- The operator of UAS must pass an UAS GCAA exam, for more information about the reference of the UAS exam please.(Click here)
- All Organizations/Operators who intend to operate UAS/drones in the UAE for commercial or special operations are required to hold a GCAA UAS/drones Registration Certificate.(Click to Apply)
- All Organizations/Operators holding a GCAA UAS/drones Registration certificate are required to obtain an operational approval before commencement of each flight.(Click to Apply)
Example of Special Operations allowed for this category:
- Areal Work
- Air Show
- Fire fighting
- Protecting Wildlife
- Weather forecasting