Rules and regulations concerning drone use and past cases of drones disrupting air traffic

While recreational drone-flying without a permit is allowed in Singapore, drone pilots must ensure they keep to certain regulations.
While recreational drone-flying without a permit is allowed in Singapore, drone pilots must ensure they keep to certain regulations.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Considering Singapore's busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, tough laws are implemented to ensure that unmanned aircraft (UA) are piloted responsibly.

And while recreational drone-flying without a permit is allowed, drone pilots must ensure they keep to certain regulations.

These are detailed in the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Act, which was passed in 2015, to better regulate the operation of drones and reduce the occurrence of accidents.

Offences include

  • Flying a drone within 5km of airports or military airbases, or at altitudes above 200ft (61m), without a permit;
  • Using a UA for activities that are neither recreational nor research in nature without a Class 1 activity permit;
  • Using a UA weighing 7kg or more (including payload) for activities that are either recreational or research in nature without a Class 1 activity permit.

Penalties

Those found guilty of violating these regulations face a fine of up to $20,000 or up to 12 months in jail, or both.

 
 
 

Cases of air traffic being disrupted by drones

Iran: Some global airlines had to reroute flights to avoid the Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman after Iran shot down a US military drone last Thursday (June 20). ST had reported that some Singapore Airlines flights will be taking a longer route to Europe to avoid the potential danger zone.

United States: Drone sightings in northern New Jersey caused plane arrivals to Newark Liberty International Airport to come to a temporary halt. Flights into the 11th-busiest US airport were briefly suspended for about an hour after two drones were spotted in a nearby regional airport in late January.

United Kingdom: Flights from London's busiest airport, Heathrow, were delayed for about an hour in early January after reports of a drone sighting. This took place less than a month after drones were repeatedly seen at London's second-busiest airport, Gatwick, on three consecutive days in December last year. About 1,000 flights were either cancelled or diverted, with 140,000 passengers affected.