The Guyana Cvil Aviation Authority, (GCAA) is moving to establish a regulatory unit for the operations of drones, across the country.
Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), commonly used to capture pictures and videos without the use of a human pilot aboard. The device is operated through the use of a ground-based controller.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Director General of the GCAA, Colonel (Rtd) Egbert Field disclosed that the Authority has commenced work to develop the unit.
The Unit is expected to deal with the registration, approval and certification of persons, who own and operate drones in Guyana
At present, Field explained that the GCAA is working on building the manpower capability of the Unit.
Field specified that the Authority has been working to secure inspectors for the Unit since the staff is integral to assist in monitoring the operations of all types of drones.
In addition, the GCAA Head noted that guidelines will be developed to manage the operations of drones
“Any drone that comes into Guyana will have to be registered with us and therefore will have to have guidelines for operators to have a clearer cut directive to follow as it relates to flying and operating drones within the local air spaces.
The GCAA Head noted, too, that efforts have been ongoing to secure finances for the Unit.
At present, the establishment of the Drone Unit has been an integral part of Budget talks for next year.
Regionally, drones have become common; they take aerial pictures, and in some cases are viewed as a device used for spying.
However, territories like Barbados have placed a temporary ban on the use of the device. The reason for this ban was to allow authorities to complete a legal framework to govern the use of the devices and create a database of all drones on the island.
Over the past two years, Barbados, like Guyana, would have experienced an increase in the number of drones being used for both commercial and recreational use. In Barbados, concerns were raised regarding the use of the devices and the risks they posed to security, privacy and safety.
Further, in Trinidad and Tobago, the government in 2015 moved to institute strict legal regulations which would make the devices illegal if the owner did not possess the required registration certificate from aviation authorities.
As such, GCAA has issued directives for persons who wished to operate an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), to apply to the authority in writing for approval and will provide the details on the purpose of the intended operation.
Additionally, the drones are not to be flown above a height of 150 metres, at a distance greater than 500 metres from the point at which the operator is positioned, at night or low visibility conditions, over or near to private or public property without prior permission from the owner, in a reckless or unsafe manner or over any establishment or zone designated in a government notice as a prohibited area.
Paragraph 10 of the Directive requires operators of UAVs to ensure they have in their possession the necessary permit which shall be issued by the GCAA. To acquire this permit, the operator would need to provide proof that he or she has been trained, tested and found to be competent to operate as the pilot an UAV.
Such persons who wish to operate the device would also need to provide the GCAA with information relating to the area within which operation is intended, using a map, details of the model aircraft, purpose for which the information collected will be used, proof of liability insurance and the date and time during which the applicant wishes to operate the aircraft.
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