Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

Drone users hang up their controls amid stringent rules

UAE-owners need to complete course and hold permit

The rules surrounding drone ownership have left owners confused at times. They differ for commercial filmmakers and private owners, and retailers have not always been clear about how to meet them.

Ahmed Al Saeedy, a 25-year-old Egyptian, bought his drone two years ago from Virgin Megastore without having to register the device nor apply for a licence.

Since then, new civil aviation rules have come into place and meant that drone users must register with the authorities, to ensure, for example, they could not cause an accident and escape without punishment.

"I used it back then, but when the licence decision was issued I stopped because I did not have time to apply for a licence," he said.

Mr Al Saeedy would only use the 2-km range drone on holiday, and said only if he is clear about the regulations.

Fellow owner Hosam Zaher had to register his drone with the aviation authorities when he bought it more than a year ago.

"Obviously one cannot fly it around an airport. I know there were many incidents when Dubai airport had to stop flights because of that," he said.

But the Palestinian said he now fears any use could lead to an accident that he does not want to risk. He lost control while flying it in the desert and it fell out of the sky.

"Thank God it crashed in the sand not on someone's head" said Mr Al Saeedy said.

Mr Zaher, a multi-media specialist, bought a long range, 4-km drone more than a year ago and realised he would have to go through a training course to become a legal owner.

"We got it for our company, but they told us we had to register and choose an exam category and so on."

With the announcement of new regulations, hobbyists will either need to update their drones so it can comply with the latest rules or get new ones to ensure that it has a serial number.

Updated: July 11, 2017 08:03 PM