Want to fly drones above 1.5kg? Undergo training and pass an exam

There will be two different certificates for drone fliers - an unmanned aircraft basic training certificate and an unmanned aircraft pilot licence. Only those 16 and above can apply, and those who are below 16 who wish to fly drones must be supervise
There will be two different certificates for drone fliers - an unmanned aircraft basic training certificate and an unmanned aircraft pilot licence. Only those 16 and above can apply, and those who are below 16 who wish to fly drones must be supervised by an older licence holder. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

From next February, all adults flying drones above 1.5kg will have to go through training and pass an examination to get licensed, or face hefty penalties.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) yesterday said there will be two different certificates - an unmanned aircraft basic training certificate and an unmanned aircraft pilot licence.

The cost of the basic training certificate will be determined by the service providers and the list of approved training organisations.

Meanwhile, the unmanned aircraft pilot licence could set drone fliers back by at least $625. The sum comprises $125 for a theory exam and $500 for the licence.

Only those 16 and above can apply. Those who are below 16 who wish to fly drones must be supervised by an older licence holder.

Currently, all drones above 250g must be registered with the CAAS before they can be flown here.

A permit is also required for flying drones that weigh more than 7kg and for any drone being flown above 60m.

The training and tests for the licences will relate to the safe flying of drones.

The unmanned aircraft basic training certificate will be for those flying drones between 1.5kg and 7kg for recreational or educational purposes.

Applicants will have to complete an online training session that will last one to two hours and pass an exam conducted by any CAAS-approved unmanned aircraft training organisation.

Those flying drones above 7kg or who are flying them for purposes that are neither recreational nor educational - regardless of weight - will, however, need to apply for the more stringent unmanned aircraft pilot licence.

This will require a theory test that can be prepared for via self-study and which must be taken at the Singapore Aviation Academy.

There will also be a practical assessment conducted by a CAAS examiner or an authorised flight examiner. After obtaining the licence, users will still have to undergo proficiency checks at least once every four years.

Those who fly drones without the appropriate licences can be jailed up to two years, fined up to $50,000, or both for the first offence.

Subsequent breaches can lead to jail terms of up to five years, fines of up to $100,000 or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2020, with the headline 'Want to fly drones above 1.5kg? Undergo training and pass an exam'. Print Edition | Subscribe