Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between UAS and RPAS? Why can’t we just call them all drones?

  • Unmanned aircraft (UA) are aircraft but they have lots of different styles and capabilities that include RPA, these are sometimes referred to as drones in the common vernacular. Regulators need to be able to distinguish between the different categories. Using specific terminology is helpful to distinguish types of aircraft and their capabilities. ICAO is making a clear distinction between those UA that can be accommodated in airspace by keeping them away from other aircraft and those that can be integrated in airspace alongside manned aircraft (i.e. RPA). RPA will be subject to all the same equipage and certification requirements as manned aircraft operating in the airspace/or conducting procedures; they will have the same separation standards. In other words, RPA act like and are treated like manned aircraft. UA that cannot meet these requirements will be dealt with separately. They can be accommodated in airspace with appropriate consideration given to the risk they pose to other aircraft, people and property on the ground.
  • UAS
  • Remote pilot station or ground control station (may be handheld)
  • Remote pilot
  • Command and control (C2) link used to pilot UA
  • UA
  • RPAS
  • Remote pilot station
  • Remote pilot
  • C2 link used to pilot RPA
  • Any other elements required by type design
  • Unmanned aircraft (UA) are aircraft but they have lots of different styles and capabilities that include RPA, these are sometimes referred to as drones in the common vernacular. Regulators need to be able to distinguish between the different categories. Using specific terminology is helpful to distinguish types of aircraft and their capabilities.
  • ICAO is making a clear distinction between those UA that can be accommodated in airspace by keeping them away from other aircraft and those that can be integrated in airspace alongside manned aircraft (i.e. RPA). RPA will be subject to all the same equipage and certification requirements as manned aircraft operating in the airspace/or conducting procedures; they will have the same separation standards. In other words, RPA act like and are treated like manned aircraft.
  • UA that cannot meet these requirements will be dealt with separately. They can be accommodated in airspace with appropriate consideration given to the risk they pose to other aircraft, people and property on the ground.

Do I need permission to operate a UAS/RPAS for recreation or as a hobby in a State other than my own?

Please consult your respective State’s regulations for the definition of model aircraft and any related requirements. Model aircraft associations may be a source of information for the safe operation of recreational UAS. In some States, model aircraft must meet the following criteria:

  • Be capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere
  • Be flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it
  • Be flown for hobby or recreational purposes
  • Not be flown over people or near aerodromes

Do UAS/RPAS rules apply to model aircraft?

  • That depends on the State where you’re operating and the type of operation you’ll be conducting. See the Narrative Tab for more information and review local regulations prior to any operation.

How old do I have to be to operate a UAS for commercial purposes?

  • Please contact your State regulations for guidance. The youngest minimum age we are aware of is 16 for a remote pilot licence.

Can I operate my UAS at night?

  • The conditions and limitations placed on your proposed operation will vary by State. A common limitation imposed by State regulators is visual line-of-sight, day only operations.

Do I need insurance to operate my UAS?

  • Some States do require insurance along with licensing of the remote pilot and registration of the UA. Please review your State’s regulations for insurance and other requirements.

As an operator, can I operate anywhere by following the provided guidelines on this website?

  • NO, all operators must contact their local civil aviation authority before conducting UAS operations.

As an operator, if I am licensed to fly in one State, does that automatically qualify for me to operate in other countries?

  • NO, all States have their own regulations. Please visit the “current State regulations” page and contact the local authorities for further information and guidance.

As a regulator, what would be the most important item to take into consideration when drafting regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems?

  • It is crucial to remember that many stakeholders in the UAS industry are not conversant with aviation, nor with the current manned aviation regulations and thus the regulations need to be clear, simple and easy to understand for non-aviation personnel. If the regulations are too complicated, industry's support and commitment will be difficult to obtain. Secondly, it is important to remember that there is a huge demand for UAS operations and therefore the regulations implemented need to be proportional to the manpower and resources available to regulate the industry.

In the future, will it be necessary to modify UAS regulations?

  • The UAS industry evolves day by day. In a few months it may have developed a utility for UAS that today is not even feasible. However, legislation can take considerable time to be approved. Rules will need to have a level of flexibility to accommodate the rapidly evolving technology of UAS.

How would a UA capable of carrying packages be treated?

Who do I contact if my question isn't answered here?

  • We encourage you to consult your respective State’s regulations in addition to the general information provided on this website.

 

 

Share this page: