Namibian UAV Draft Regulations presented last week by Department of Civil Aviation.

The Namibian Department of Civil Aviation Presented the first pass of the Unmanned Aircraft operations and requirements Draft Regulation on the 17th March 2016. 

The presentation was held at the Ministry in Windhoek, during most of the morning, and was to a full audience, invited by the DCA, as representative of the UAV manufacturing industry and commercial users in Namibia.

This presentation was the first of a group of meetings to take place over the next few months, massaging and refining the draft to a form acceptable to as many parties as possible.  

The ICAO Articles ( actually DOC-10019) form the basis of the minimum requirements, but DCA is shown to be  extremely open, willing and fully prepared to discuss and negotiate around the draft presented.  

In all , the draft presented is a totally enlightened, practical and realistic proposal.

Since these are drafts, not for public dissemination as yet, I am not going to give deep detail, but some basic elements which cut to the core are given briefly below. I have not detailed all the ruling elements associated with each , so please don't take things out of context here...there are many rules regarding where you may fly, where not, max heights, proximity to people, aircraft, buildings, etc....

This text is also not meant to give insight into the details as yet, but to present the fact that Namibia is now also on the regulatory map, and in a very positive way!

UAV's below 2kg may not be used for commercial gain, and as such need not be licenced, nor its operator.

This allows all the recreational user to play to hearts content. The group present did however feel that all these systems should be placed on a DCA National Register - simply to aid as a deterrent to the fun flyers, for, for example,  making their own movies at sports events, etc, while the commercial operators at the event are grounded due to these operators. ( there are a number of other reasons as well, but not now...) 

All UAVs above 2kg up to 50kg shall be licenced, as shall the pilot/operator.

There is some leniency allowed, but for commercial operators, this shall hold. The UAV shall have full documentation, user manual, operator manual, log book, maintenance manuals, Training manuals, as applicable. The supplier/mnfr shall execute the applications for license.

The operator shall be licensed according to the task - the license will limit operation to that function - eg, sea patrols, real estate photography, photogrammetry, etc. Operational flight areas shall also be defined in the application. For example, if the UAV is used for anti-poaching, only in a national park, over sparsely populated areas, not near a registered airfield, then the license will be very simple. In this case, the operator may possibly not need the UAV flight school training - the Mnfr/supplier training may suffice. He may also not need the VHF Coms license. Someone doing survey work in an urban area, near a registered airfield, etc, will require the full Monty.

Operators shall also be licensed per aircraft type - a license for a fixed wing aircraft shall not allow rotary wing or multirotor operation - a new license is required. Type conversion license are required between different types of similar craft.

All Accidents and Incidents are to be logged and reported to DCA. 

Foreigners visiting Namibia will have to show  verifiable licensed approvals from their home country before being permitted to bring in and operate any UAV in Namibia.

The draft is in great detail, around 90 pages, but has to be to most refreshing UAV regulatory document I have seen!

The group present at the presentation forms a committee that will now continue the discussions and negotiation with DCA in the coming months. I believe the outcome is going to benefit UAV's and their application in Namibia tremendously.

Well done DCA and well done Chris Gundu, Prime Lead at DCA on this grand and brilliant effort!

The Nampilot...

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Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 23, 2016 at 12:23pm

Well done indeed, leaping ahead of South Africa's regs that's for sure.

Comment by Ron Joly on March 24, 2016 at 6:11am

Namibia is the best African country to visit, It's beautiful and best of all Safe.

The country is made for drones, mostly flat, virtually no air traffic and breathtaking scenery.

Last year the only way I could fly there was to join the Windhoek Flyers Club

http://www.windhoekradioflyers.com/club-calendar.html

Namibia is my second home.

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on March 25, 2016 at 3:32am

Nice to hear that Ron!  We are in Swkopmund, in a house 50meters from the edge of the Atlantic, and we certainly love Namibia!  Quite involved in conservation efforts, primarily on  predator mammals, esp the Big Cats.., also of course on Rhino with the Parks and the Ministry - great applications for our stuff, good contacts for flight authorisations, and all gives a good excuse to get out into the desert and bush at the drop of a hat!

One of our favourite activities, with Dr Phillip Stander...generally helping him with radio tracking equipment, two way radio coms, his vehicle and all its gubbins, etc..Really a fantastic place to live. Bugger is trying to get the bits one needs for all we do....

Joe

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on March 25, 2016 at 3:35am

Ron, sorry, meant to attach a URL for you to look at re the Lions : it did not attach first time round for some reason...

http://desertlion.info/news.html


100KM
Comment by Hein du Plessis on March 25, 2016 at 5:01am

Sounds promising, though do I need to license my 2.5kg flying wing for hobby flying when regs come into effect? I'm looking forward to a trip to Messum crater soon!

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on March 25, 2016 at 7:26am

Hello Hein!

Yep, you will have to...The idea is that commercial use will have the 'full' weight of the regulations, while 'recreational' use will require less onerous procedures, if not flying over any populated area, nowhere near airfields, not above 150ft, etc, etc...No flying in National parks - remember that large parts of Namibia are a National park, even if not fenced...

Problem for you is that, as a visiting 'tourist' you would have to show applicable reciprocal licenses you have obtained, eg, in South Africa, or you would have to do the applications and licensing  here. And until the regs are Law, DCA is not permitting any 'foreigners'  to bring in aircraft and fly here unless they have appropriate licensing from their home country.

The local film industry who have been using UAV's are up in arms WRT foreigners coming in, no film license applications, no work permits, etc, taking video footage, and them leaving and selling it on the open market.  So there is a big move to prevent influx of unlicensed operators and systems, and at the moment any systems with video or photography capability will have problems at the borders... 

Since Nam is a big place, you will probably get away with smuggling the stuff in, and flying as you wish, but being caught out will be a problem for you - and now many local operators are ready to use the DCA HotLine to wack you..

Joe


100KM
Comment by Hein du Plessis on March 25, 2016 at 7:29am

Ouch! Gone are the good old days :) I suppose it's for the best. Good to know, thanks for the post Joe. I'll try to see you again when I'm up there!

Comment by Stu on March 1, 2017 at 2:47am

Thanks for all the relevant info on Namibian Law. I am returning to Namibia in June this year after completing my PfCO CAA certification here in the UK. Can you help me with up-to-date information on the status of these draft regulations and how to go about getting myself registered and certified once I am back in Namibia?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice/information you can provide.

Kind Regards

Stu

Comment by Swensun on March 3, 2017 at 8:27am

Hi, 

Thanks for the input Stu, i was also wondering where to register the drone? No document found on their website.

Meanwhile, has the draft been finalised?

I fly the small 750gr Mavic Pro. So i assume i only need to register the drone and respect the rules (which is obious). 

Thank you for your help and inputs so the rules can obeid the right way.

Swensun

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