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!