News

Articles:

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore proposes enhanced drone regulatory framework

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore proposes enhanced drone regulatory framework

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has
announced plans to enhance the unmanned aircraft (UA or drone)
regulatory framework and is seeking feedback from members of the public.

Areas
being reviewed
include the UA operating guidelines, the UA pilot competency
requirements, as well as requirements for UA with total mass of more than 25
kg.

The review is based on CAAS’ three-year experience with the
implementation of the UA regulatory framework, international benchmarking and
feedback from UA users in Singapore.

A public consultation exercise kicked off on 29 April 2018 at
the Drone Showcase, in conjunction with Car-Free Sunday SG @ one-north,
organised by JTC and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Members of the public can provide their feedback via the
Reach website (http://www.reach.gov.sg) until 31 May 2018.

Current framework

Under the current
framework
, Operator Permits (OP) and/or Activity Permits are
required for operating UA under the following circumstances:  

Credit: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

An Operator Permit
is granted by CAAS to an organisation or individual after the applicant has
been assessed to be able to conduct operation of UA safely. CAAS' assessment
includes, but not limited to, the applicant’s organisational set-up, competency
of the personnel especially those flying the UA, procedures to manage safety
including the conduct of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each
UA.

An Activity Permit
is granted by CAAS to an applicant for a single activity or a block of repeated
activities to be carried out by a UA taking into account the location, altitude
and period of the operation, type(s) of operation to be conducted, and
mitigation measures to address location-specific circumstances. This is to
ensure that adequate safety measures are put in place at the area(s) of
operation and that the UA operations will not disrupt manned aircraft
operations.

Proposed enhancements

Additional guidance

CAAS intends to enhance
UA operating guidelines to include additional guidance for addressing
the importance of understanding the characteristics of the UA, particularly the
limitations published by the UAS manufacturers. The additional guidance will
also address users’ modification or customisation of UA with a view to ensuring
the airworthiness of the UA. 

Online training
programme

CAAS will also introduce an online training programme to equip persons flying UA with
the essential knowledge of flying UA safely. Currently, a person flying a UA
with total mass of 7 kg or below for recreational or research purposes is
advised to follow the UA operating guidelines. The online training programme
will be compulsory for persons flying UA with total mass of more than 1.5 kg
but up to 7 kg for recreational or research purposes. 

Pilot licensing framework

A UA pilot licensing
framework will be introduced for certain UA operations to ensure
that UA pilots have a minimum competency level. Under this framework, a person
must demonstrate competency in terms of skills, knowledge and experience before
he can be granted a UA pilot licence (UAPL) by CAAS.

Any person flying UA with total mass of more than 7 kg for
recreational or research purposes will be required to obtain a UAPL granted by
CAAS. With the UAPL, the person will no longer be required to apply for an OP.

There will be three categories of UAPL, namely Aeroplane,
Rotorcraft and Powered-lift, with ratings associated to each category depending
on whether the total mass of the UA is 25 kg or below or above 25 kg.

Any person flying UA for non-recreational or non-research
purposes will be required to obtain a UAPL granted by CAAS. This seeks to
enhance the flexibility for holders of OP to engage any UA pilot with a valid
UAPL. However, holders of OP must still ensure that the UA pilots they engage
are familiar with their specific operational requirements.

UA training
organisation framework
 

CAAS will introduce
a UA training organisation framework to support the proposed UA
pilot licensing. Under this framework, training organisations approved by CAAS
will provide training to equip UA pilots with the necessary competency, as well
as to conduct the assessment required for the grant of a UAPL by CAAS. 

Additional requirements for persons operating UA with
total mass more than 25 kg

CAAS will also introduce
additional requirements for persons operating UA with total mass more than 25
kg, which correspond with the increase in safety risk. These
requirements may include partial or full type certification of the UA (type certificate defines the design of the
aircraft type and certifies that this design meets the appropriate
airworthiness requirements established), certification of the UA
operator and maintenance organisation.

Proposed framework

With the above proposed enhancements, the UA regulatory
framework will be as below:

Credit: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS, said, “The rapid
growth in UA activities benefits both the users and the economy but may pose
risk to aviation and public safety, particularly in Singapore’s highly
urbanised environment. While we are keen to support the fast growing UA
industry, this always needs to be balanced against the need to maintain high
levels of aviation and public safety.”