UAV policy in India

Oct 2018 | No Comment

Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation, Government of India came out with the requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) on August 27, 2018. Here are the excerpts

Categories of RPA

Civil RPA is categorized in accordance with Maximum All-Up-Weight (including payload) as indicated below:

i. Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.

ii. Micro : Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg

iii. Small : Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg

iv. Medium : Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg

v. Large : Greater than 150 kg


This Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) is applicable to Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, which are Remotely Piloted from a Remote Pilot Station.

Application process

For RPA imported to India: Any entity intending to import RPAS in India shall obtain Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing, Department of Telecommunication for operating in de-licensed frequency band(s). Such approval shall be valid for a particular make and model. The applicant, other than Nano category, shall apply to DGCA for import clearance.

For RPA locally purchased in India: The applicant shall ensure that locally purchased RPAS shall have ETA from WPC Wing, DoT operating in de-licensed frequency band(s). Such approval shall be valid for a particular make and model.

Requirements for issue of unique identification number (UIN)

Civil RPA shall require Unique Identification Number (UIN) from DGCA. UIN will be granted where the RPAS is wholly owned either:

a. By a citizen of India; or

b. By the Central Government or any State Government or any company or corporation owned or controlled by either of the said Governments; or

c. By a company or a body corporate provided that:

i. it is registered and has its principal place of business within India;

ii. its chairman and at least twothirds of its directors are citizens of India; and,

iii. its substantial ownership and effective control is vested in Indian nationals; or

d. By a company or corporation registered elsewhere than in India, provided that such company or corporation has leased the RPAS to any organization mentioned in Para 6.1(b) or (c) above.

Exemption from UIN

RPA in Nano category intended to fly upto 50 feet (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises for commercial / recreational / R&D purposes are exempted from obtaining UIN.

RPAs owned / operated by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are also exempted from obtaining UIN.

Requirements for issue of Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP)

Civil RPA operators other than those mentioned in following para shall require UAOP from DGCA. Following entities will not require UAOP:

a. Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.

b. Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises. However, the user shall intimate to local police office 24 hours prior to conduct of actual operations.

c. RPA owned and operated by the agencies as indicated in Para 6.5 of this CAR. However, the agency shall intimate local police office and concerned ATS Units prior to conduct of actual operations.

Security/ Safety Requirements

The operator shall be responsible for the safe custody, security and access control of the RPAS. In case of loss of RPA, the operator shall report immediately to the local police office, BCAS and DGCA.

The operator of all RPA except Nano RPA shall be responsible for notifying any incident/ accident involving RPA to the Director of Air Safety, DGCA

Remote Pilot Training Requirements

Remote pilot shall have attained 18 years of age, having passed 10th exam in English, and undergone ground/ practical training.

The ground training shall be obtained at any DGCA approved Flying Training Organization (FTO), and include the following theory subjects:

a. Basic Radio Telephony (RT) techniques including knowledge of radio frequencies.

b. Flight Planning and ATC procedures.

c. Regulations specific to area of operations.

d. Basic knowledge of principles of flight and aerodynamics for fixed wing, rotary wing, and hybrid aircraft.

e. Airspace Structure and Airspace Restrictions with knowledge of No Drone Zones

f. Basic Aviation Meteorology.

RPAS maintenance requirements

Maintenance and repair of RPAS shall be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s approved procedures, as applicable. Maintenance of the ground control equipment shall be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended inspection and overhaul interval, as applicable. The remote pilot/ user shall not fly the RPA unless he/ she is reasonably satisfied that all the control systems of RPA including the radio and Command & Control link are in working condition before the flight. The UAOP holder shall maintain records of each RPA flight and make such records available to the DGCA on demand.

Equipment requirements

All RPA (except for Nano category intending to operate up to 50 ft (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises),shall be equipped with the following serviceable components/ equipment:

a. GNSS for horizontal and vertical position fixing

b. Autonomous Flight Termination System or Return Home (RH) option

c. Flashing anti-collision strobe lights

d. RFID and GSM SIM Card/ NPNT compliant for APP based real time tracking

e. Fire resistant identification plate inscribed with UIN

f. Flight controller with flight data logging capability

In addition to the equipment required under above mentioned para, all RPA (except Nano and Micro category operating in uncontrolled airspace) intending to operate in controlled airspace up to 400 feet (120 m) AGL shall be equipped with the following additional equipment/capabilities:

a. SSR transponder (Mode ‘C’ or ‘S’) or ADS-B OUT equipment

b. Barometric equipment with capability for remote sub-scale setting

c. Geo-fencing capability

d. Detect and Avoid capability

Remote pilot shall be equipped with communication facilities to establish two way communication with the concerned ATS unit.

The tracking system of the RPA shall be self-powered and tamper/ spoofing proof to ensure data relay even in the event of RPA accident.

Indian Air Force shall monitor RPA movements in the country in coordination with Airports Authority of India.

Operating requirements

The policy lists out the operating requirements. Some of them are mentioned below:

The RPA operator shall prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which shall contain following procedures according to the provisions contained in relevant sections of (Aeronautical Information Publication) AIP-India:

a. Take-off/landing

b. Collision avoidance

c. Noise abatement

d. Flight plan filing

e. Local airspace restriction

f. Right-of-way

g. Communications

h. RPA emergency including loss of C2 link

i. Safe recovery of RPA through controlled airspace in case RPA system failure precludes the ability to remain outside controlled airspace, etc.

Irrespective of weight category, all RPA operations shall be restricted to day only, within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), subject to conditions given in in the following para.

RPA operations except those in enclosed premises, shall be conducted only when the following meteorological conditions exist:

a. During daylight (between sunrise and sunset).

b. In Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) with a minimum ground visibility of 5 km and cloud ceiling not less than 1500 feet (450 m).

c. Surface winds of not more than 10 knots or as specified by the manufacturer. d) No precipitation (rain, hail or snow) or thunderstorm activities, or exceeding those specified by the manufacturer.

The operator [except Nano intending to operate up to 50 ft (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises] shall obtain permission before undertaking flight through ‘Digital Sky Platform’.

Operating restrictions

Some of the operating restrictions are as mentioned below:

No RPA shall be flown:

a. Within a distance of 5 km from the perimeter of airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad;

b. Within a distance of 3 km from the perimeter of any civil, private or defence airports, other than those mentioned in Para 13.1(a);

c. Above the Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) or PANS-OPS surfaces, whichever is lower, of an operational aerodrome, specified in Ministry of Civil Aviation (Height Restrictions for Safeguarding of Aircraft Operations) Rules, 2015 notified through Gazette of India notification GSR751(E) as amended from time to time;

d. Within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas including TRA, and TSA, as notified in AIP;

e. Within 25km from international border which includes Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL);

f. Beyond 500 m (horizontal) into sea from coast line provided the location of ground station is on fixed platform over land;

g. Within 3 km from perimeter of military installations/ facilities/ where military activities/ exercises are being carried out unless clearance is obtained from the local military installation/facility;

h. Within 5 km radius from Vijay Chowk in Delhi. However, this is subject to any additional conditions/ restrictions imposed by local law enforcement agencies/ authorities in view of the security.

i. Within 2 km from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs unless clearance is obtained from MHA;

j. Within 3 km from radius of State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals;

k. From a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft;

l. Over eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries notified by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change without prior permission.

The detailed policy can be seen at http:// dgca.nic.in/cars/D3X-X1.pdf

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