- Issues 31 conditions
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has taken a further step towards safeguarding the safety of the country’s airspace by proposing an Order on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
The proposal, which would form Part 21 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARS) is planned to address the operations of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) otherwise known as drones.
It would be recalled that NCAA, in conjunction with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in 2016 held a stakeholders’ meeting on operations of the RPA/UAV.
The intent was to control the use of drones in order to protect the airspace from external incursion.
Daily Trust reports that some individuals and corporate organizations are currently using drones without approval.
However, the regulations being proposed would forbid individuals and organizations from operating drones without approval by the NCAA, which is the apex aviation regulatory authority.
Daily Trust gathered that the new proposal was issued last month by NCAA and it is currently awaiting inputs from stakeholders.
Our correspondent learnt that already, several comments and observations are being garnered ahead of the implementation of the proposal.
Part 18.104.22.168 (a) of the regulations read: “No person shall operate an RPA in Nigeria without appropriate authorisation from the authority.
“An operator shall ensure that a flight will not be commenced unless it has been ascertained by every reasonable means available that the ground and/or water facilities including communication facilities and navigation aids available and directly required on such flight, for the safe operation of the RPAS, are adequate for the type of operation under which the flight is to be conducted and are adequately operated for this purpose.
“An operator shall ensure that any inadequacy of facilities observed in the course of operations is reported to the authority responsible for the facilities, including to the concerned ATS provider, if applicable, without undue delay.”
Also 22.214.171.124 of the regulations proscribes the applicable requirements, including that the operations must be conducted by an RPAS flight crewmember certified in Nigeria while operating an RPAS registered in Nigeria.
Other conditions and limitations in the proposal are that: “The RPA may not be operated at a speed exceeding 87 knots (100 miles per hour). The ROC holder may use either groundspeed or calibrated airspeed to determine compliance with the 87 knot speed restriction.
“The RPA may be operated at an altitude above 400 feet above ground level (AGL) but not exceeding 400ft (AGL). Altitude must be reported in feet AGL day and night (early hours of the morning, early hours of dusk).
“The RPA may be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) with minimum qualification of PIC with Private Pilot License (PPL) in order to coordinate with ATC. VLOS operations require the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses”.
Aviation security expert, John Ojikutu (rtd), welcomed the proposal, saying it was desirable for security purposes, and that, that was the practice globally.