Droning around

Drone flying requirements

Drones – Love ‘em or hate ‘em

If there was ever an invention that conjures up images of a future where robots and machines control the world, it would be that of the drone. Imagine a future where flying, buzzing robots are delivering shopping and post. Where these unmanned flying machines are fighting wars, or assisting farmers with monitoring their land. It may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but this future may not be too far away.

What can they be used for

Having eyes in the sky is an advantage for a number of reasons. It could give the police or security companies the upper hand when surveying a crime hot-spot, or chasing down a criminal, it could also provide farmers with an efficient way to monitor their crops and keep an eye on things from the comfort of their veranda.

Walmart in the U.S. recently applied for licences to enable drones to deliver shopping to its customers, while Amazon has been working towards drone deliveries within 30 minutes after ordering, by using drones to deliver packages to your door.

The Hawks are in the process of devising a project that will make use of drones to combat the scourge of Rhino poachers in South Africa. They are currently testing and researching the most efficient technology supplied by Denel Dynamics, a state-owned technology company. (Tech Central)

Drone Legislation

If you are intent on flying a drone for commercial purposes then there are a few regulations you need to be aware of. There are basically 5 licensing requirements for the device and the pilot, ranging from licences to letters of approval, and operator certificates.

Flying a drone for recreational purposes does not require the user to obtain any licences, however the rules will still apply. For example:


·       Can fly RPAS up to 7kg weight.

·       Can fly up to the height of the highest object in 300m of the drone (or up to a max of 400 feet, whichever is the lower of the 2).

·       Can fly up to 500m away from the pilot, while maintaining direct line of sight (RVLOS).

·       Need to keep more than 50m from people.

·       Need to keep more than 50m from roads.

·       Need to keep more than 50m from buildings.

·       May not fly in No Fly Zones.

Check out www.safedrone.co.za for more info!

Drones in the news

There was a fascinating story in the news recently about Dutch police training eagles to destroy enemy drones in mid-air. Apparently there are a lot of drones being flown in the Netherlands, and the police are becoming increasingly concerned about public safety. "It's a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem," spokesman Dennis Janus of the country's national police said. (Reuters) Although the use of these magnificent birds of prey has not been finalised, a decision is expected by the end of the year.

They’re great for photography and could revolutionise policing and the way security companies keep us safe. This technology however, could also play a part in invading our privacy, or becoming a problem for public safety if not regulated and monitored properly. Love em’ or hate em’ it seems as if drones are here to stay!