Can someone please clarifying what is permitted and not permitted
regarding the use of a UAV in SA, based on the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority),
or that that is not regulated by the CAA.



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AFAIK, no specific regulations currently, but model aircraft rules apply. Read further here or here

Except under the South African Model Aircraft (SAMAA) codes, the current civil
aviation legislation does not provide for certification, registration and/or operations of
UAS in South Africa. It is also important to note that the Director of Civil Aviation
(DCA) has not given any concession or approval to any organisation, individual,
institution or government entity to operate UAS within the civil aviation airspace.

I have found this on the CAA website. They call it UAS Unmanned Aircraft Systems


Hi Christiaan,

We asked the question from the CAA regarding the rules around UAV's since we want to use the Gatewing Survey Drone on some of our projects. Nor our supplier or us have had a clear defined scope on the use of UAV's. I then asked an pilot instructor at Grand Central. To him it was quite clear - he said:

1. As long as you stay below 1000ft (I suppose thats relative to where your at)

2. As long as you do not operate out of sight and you can recover the drone manually.

3. You inform the property owner of your intended activity over his grounds.


What's a bit hair raising is on more that one occasion I would be on a site at a mine and would notice a small plane or copter doing a flyby over the mine site at lower altetudes than 1000ft(around 300m) - I thought mines were no fly zones due to the blasting. Luckely I did not have a drone in the air on these occasions. We would seldom, if ever, operate above 100m, but for that cosmetic shot of the whole site, it might just be tempting to climb out to 1000ft.

I'm not sure if there would be clear legislation soon. The biggest driver to speedy restrictions is a mishap/accident.

A chap called Rodney Podmore at Optron(Pta) is driving the answers regarding drone operations from the CAA.

Have a chat with him if you like.


Thanks for the info. I was speaking to Optron earlier regarding the Gatewing x100 and they told me basicly the same.

Good day, To answer your question, SACAA currently doesn't have any requirements for design and certification of UAS. What I can say at this point is, UA systems have entered logarithmic evolution here at SACAA, even though I cannot tell timelines at this stage of what will happen when. But there are developments within the organisation in partnership with the industry to address this immediate requirement.

This was the reply i got. I specifically asked what is needed to certify an uav for operation in SA. Seems it is open at the moment but expect that sense and avoid systems will soon be needed for all uav operations. Just my opinion though...

Hi, do you have any idea if this will apply to non commercial systems as well?

I dont think there is a real difference in a comercial or non comercial UAV posing a possible safety risk to other aircraft or people on the ground? Micro UAVs are another ballgame though...

I read somewhere that the final test for the new denel seeker is a flight from jhb to pta using a SaA system, this is out of hobby reach for most people like us though... SOOO...Next thing for the ardu team should be an opticalflow SaA system for our small planes I guess...

Lots of DSA coming, I saw a UK effort that was cigarette box sized and very cool, it could detect birds lifting. Here's one I recently posted http://www.suasnews.com/2013/03/21477/emt-spies-developing-sense-se...

All you do is to apply at ATNS in your area for Flexible Use of Airspace. You will need to do standard transmission with your intentions on your air band radio at your local airfield provided you are a registered license holder like me. You have to have a registration( like my UAV-ZU-ABT) or just identify your craft like Springs radio, this is ZU-ABT on a flight from yours to Nigel flying a unmanned flying vehicle remote controled. We will leaving the circuit for the designated flying area ( the area) and changing frequency to 125.4. Will call on returning, ZU-ABT.   

I hope this will be suitable for all in future UAV flights. We will start test flights hope fully in August.


Christiaan, can u email me this pdf to siaspretorius@gmail.com


Sorry for the gremlin. It should be ATNS.....

Christiaan, I got my permission via ATNS by applying for Flexible Use of Airspace for August when we going to Test fly my SABRE UAS...see comment on this page on all aspects via comms and way to report your flying.




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