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Want to fly a Drone in India 2020? Aspiring YouTuber? Here’s your quick guide.

Want to fly a Drone in India 2020? Aspiring YouTuber? Here’s your quick guide.

Flying drones is your passion and you want to fly a drone in India. You are an aspiring YouTube video maker and you are seeking to showcase the best video shots to your subscribers ?

Yes, you have come to the right place since I am going to guide you on all you need to know in order to fly a drone in India. In this website, I will also showcase some of the best drones available at Amazon India that you can purchase.

So, let’s get started.

The new drone flying policy and approach has aroused a lot interest in India about the possibilities it might open up. For fields such as transportation, drones may help to reduce human intervention. We can also use it to capture correct spatial details, the absence of which has hampered city planning and administration for India. So, all that’s going to change now!

Now let’s take a look at what exactly the term “drone” signifies and what are the different categories of drones.

What is a Drone?

A “Drone” is an Unmanned Aircraft (UA) in a layman’s jargon. Unmanned Aircraft have three subsets, a) Remote Piloted Aircraft, b) Autonomous Aircraft, and c) Model Aircraft

The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is an aircraft and its related components that are operated without a pilot on board. A remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), its associated remote pilot station(s), the command and control links needed, and any other components as defined in the design of the type. DGCA has rated Civil RPAs as MTOW (including pay load) as shown below:

Nano  – Less than or equal to 250 grams.

Micro  – Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.

Small  –  Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.

Medium – Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.

Large  – Greater than 150 kg.

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What do Drone Regulations in India say?

Except drones in the “Nano” category, all other drones must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UID) by DGCA.

Now, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a set of regulations called Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). The CAR on RPAS became effective on 1st December, 2018 and all drone operators in India will now have to follow these regulations

So flying drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) has become legal in India after December 1, 2018 when the new drone policy of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) came into effect. The new policy named’ Drone Regulations 1.0′ classifies an aircraft that is remotely piloted and defines how it can fly and establishes the limits under which it must operate.

How do you Register a New Drone in India?

The DGCA has launched a new digital platform called “The Digital Sky Platform” to facilitate the approval of drone flights by all drone operators. The Digital Sky Platform is a unique unmanned traffic management (UTM) system that is expected to facilitate drone and operator registration and licensing as well as providing instant (online) clearance to operators for each flight. This platform has framed rules for legal drone operation

  1. All drones (except Nano drones) are required to be registered with DGCA have a Unique Identification Number (UIN) issued.
  2. All drone operators (except for nano and micro drones) are required to obtain an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP). This permit would be valid for 5 years. There is a cost associated in obtaining a UAOP from DGCA.
  3. No permission, No take off (NPNT) policy– Before any flight, the drone operator must get a NPNT clearance from DGCA.
  4. All drones need to have Insurance and AN ID plate, with the UIN engraved on a fire-resistant plate.
  5. Nano drones don’t need to be registered or obtain NPNT compliances. They can be operated up to 50 feet or in enclosed spaces.
  6. Micro drones cannot be flown above 200 feet; all other drones can be flown up to 400 feet
  7. Drones can be operated only during the day, and within line of sight
  8. Air space has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
  9. Drones fall under the restricted items category and can’t be carried in hand baggage in aircraft
Drone shot while fly a drone in India 2020
A Typical Drone Shot

Which are the compulsory Drone Equipment in India?

India also has specific requirements regarding the types of features a drone must have to be flown in India (excluding those in the Nano category). These mandatory requirements that all drones must have are as follows:

  • GPS
  • Return-to-home (RTH)
  • Anti-collision light
  • ID plate
  • A flight controller with flight data logging capability
  • RF ID and SIM/No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT)

For more information on India’s drone laws, you can see this document from the DGCA website.

All drone operators must get an Unmanned Aircraft Operator permit (UAOP) from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in order to fly drone in India. However, in certain cases, this permit may not be necessary as given below:

  • Nano drones flying below 50 ft in uncontrolled airspace
  • Micro drones flying below 250 feet in uncontrolled airspace. In this case the drone operator has to inform local police 24 hrs prior to flying the drone.
  • Drones which are owned by National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Aviation Research Centre and Central Intelligence Agencies but only after informing the local police.

The UAOP will have to be released by DGCA within seven working days of sending the required documents. These UAOPs are not transferable and will not be available for more than five years.

Fly a drone in India 2020
A Typical Drone with gimble camera

Which further restrictions apply in fly a drone in India?

Flying a drone in India have some further restrictions as well:

  • You can fly drone only during day time and within the visual line of sight
  • Drone cannot fly near areas around airports, near international borders, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations and vital military installations, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, as no drone zones. Drones cannot fly near “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas” and eco-sensitive zones
  • Also, drones cannot be operated from a moving vehicle or aircraft.

Foreign nationals in India are currently not allowed to fly drones in India. For commercial fly a drone purposes, they are required to lease a drone to an Indian Entity who in-turn will obtain Unique Identification Number (UIN) and UAOP from DGCA.

For more details you can refer to the Digital Sky Platform FAQ here.

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FAQ On Drones

What is a Drone?

The term drone is commonly used to describe unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), literally a “drone” is a flying robot that can fly autonomously from a remote control system or with software-controlled flight plans. Certain drone names are often: Multirotor, Quadcopter, Hexacopter, Octocopter, and Whizboppers

Do I need a license to fly a drone?

Yes you need to register your drone if you want to fly a Drone in India in 2020. Please refer to the detailed information on the registration process above.

Are drones hard to fly?

With the GPS location nowadays keeping normal (like in your Sat-Nav) on most commercial drones, multirotors are becoming much easier to fly than they were days ago. The learning curve for lightweight drones is about two weeks for someone to feel confident in flying and shooting, which would naturally depend on whether the pilot had previous model aircraft experience.

What does “aerial photography” mean?

Anything photo taken from the air, whether it’s film or images can be considered aerial photography, aerial photography has been performed in helicopters in the past, now with strong multi-rotor battery driven on the market, aerial photography is more available than ever before.

How high can drones fly?

It depends on your drone’s size, most commercial drones eg The Mavic Series have a range of 500-1000 meters. Although the Phantom 4 series has ranges of around 3.5KM which is great for surveying deserts.

What does take off weight mean?

Taking off weight means the total weight the drone will take off with its own weight included. For example, a drone weighing 5 kg and having a take-off weight of 10 kg can lift a 5 kg payload.

What are the differences between quad-, hex- and octo copters?

You can tell this from the name itself. A quadcopter has four rotors (quad) a hexacopter has 6 rotors (hex) and octocopter has eight rotors (octo)

What is a normal flight time of a camera drone?

Flight time will differ depending on the drone you have. On a begginner drone you would expect the flight time to be around 5-10 minutes, a mid-range drone would be 10-30 minutes and an advanced drone 30-40 minutes.

What does FPV mean?

FPV stands for First Person View. FPV means you see what your drone is seeing by having a video downlink from the camera on the drone that transmits the signal to your LCD monitor or Smartphone / tablet (on drones with that feature). This is an essential addition to the Drone setup of any videographer.

Can foreigners fly drone in India?

Foreigners are currently not allowed to fly RPAs in India. For commercial purpose, they need to lease RPAS to an Indian entity who in-turn will obtain Unique Identification Number (UIN) and UAOP from DGCA.

Happy Flying!

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