Two men first persons to be charged with flying drones near airbase

Tay Miow Seng (left), 40, and Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, are accused of flying unmanned devices at an open field near Block 128C Punggol Field at around 9pm on June 26 without a permit. The two men face a fine of up to $20,000 if convicted.
Tay Miow Seng (left), 40, and Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, are accused of flying unmanned devices at an open field near Block 128C Punggol Field at around 9pm on June 26 without a permit. The two men face a fine of up to $20,000 if convicted. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW:

Both allegedly flew unmanned devices within 5km of Paya Lebar Airbase without a permit

Two men have been charged with flying drones for recreation within 5km of the Paya Lebar Airbase without a permit.

In what is the first case involving the illegal use of drones near an airbase, Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, and Tay Miow Seng, 40, are accused of flying unmanned devices at an open field near Block 128C Punggol Field at around 9pm on June 26.

According to court documents, Chen was said to be operating a DBPower FPV drone that weighed 0.357kg, while Tay allegedly used a "Bumblebee wrapped DJI drone" weighing 0.43kg.

The two men face a fine of up to $20,000.

The use of drones has come under scrutiny after several Changi Airport flights were diverted and more than 50 delayed on two separate occasions last month due to the presence of drones in the no-fly zone within 5km .

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) warned on its website that because of Singapore's busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, flying an unmanned aircraft (UA) or drone must be carried out "in a safe and responsible manner".

A Class 2 activity permit is required when using drones for recreational or research purposes under any of these conditions: At operating altitudes higher than around 60m, within 5km of a civil or military aerodrome, or within any restricted or danger areas.

Paya Lebar Airbase is a military installation.

 
 

A panel set up by CAAS is reviewing the regulatory framework involving drones, and is likely to propose mandatory registration for drones above a certain weight and stiffer penalties for those who flout flying rules, according to a recent report.

Last month, the Singapore branch of LT Sambo, a construction company, was charged with flying a small unmanned aircraft "in the course of business" without a permit along Marine Parade Road on Nov 17, 2017. This case is still pending.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore warned on its website that because of Singapore's busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, flying an unmanned aircraft or drone must be carried out "in a safe and responsible manner".

"CAAS takes a serious view of errant operations of UA which may pose threats to aviation or endanger the safety of others," the authority said in a statement yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'Two men first persons to be charged with flying drones near airbase'. Print Edition | Subscribe