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Drone users must get licensed to fly certain unmanned aircraft or face penalties from February

Clement Yong

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - From February 2021, all adults flying drones above 1.5kg in weight will have to go through training and pass an exam to get licensed, or face hefty penalties.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Tuesday (Oct 13) said there will be two different certificates: an unmanned aircraft basic training certificate and an unmanned aircraft pilot licence.


Only those 16 years old 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 already be registered with the CAAS before it 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 will, however, need to apply for the more stringent unmanned aircraft pilot licence.


This will require a theory test that can be self-studied 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 unmanned aircraft pilot licence, users will still have to undergo proficiency checks at least once every four years.


More information on the licences can be found at this website.


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


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


CAAS enforcement officers will do verification checks and those who refuse to produce a licence or permit as asked can also be fined up to $20,000 for the first offence.


They can be jailed up to 15 months for subsequent offences.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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