Flying of Unmanned Aircraft
What is it?
An unmanned aircraft, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, is an aircraft that is operated with no pilot on board.
Why is it important to operate unmanned aircraft safely?
Given Singapore’s busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, the flying of unmanned aircraft must be carried out in a safe and responsible manner. If not carried out properly, the operation of unmanned aircraft may pose a risk to aviation and public safety. Despite the safety features in some unmanned aircraft, mechanical malfunction, loss of control link or human error could occur and cause operators to lose control of their aircraft in flight. This may result in the unmanned aircraft colliding with a manned aircraft or another unmanned aircraft, or hitting persons and property on the ground, potentially causing injury and damage. Operators should ensure that they are able to operate unmanned aircraft safely, exercising due care and concern for others.
How do I fly unmanned aircraft safely?
The infographics below provide guidelines for flying your unmanned aircraft safely.
Here’s what you should observe when flying unmanned aircraft for recreation under conditions that do not require a permit.
Note: For point (5), IMDA’s requirements can be found here.
Note: The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has published
the “Advisory Guidelines on the Personal Data Protection Act For
Selected Topics”, which includes a section on unmanned aircraft
under “Chapter 4 – Photography, Video and Audio Recordings”.
The advisory guidelines can be found here.
Here’s what you should avoid when flying unmanned aircraft for recreation under conditions that do not require a permit:
You may download the Advisory on the “Safe and Responsible Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (for recreational uses not requiring a permit)” here.
When do you need to apply for a permit?
An Operator Permit and/or Activity Permit will be required under the following circumstances:
Weight of Unmanned Aircraft
For any purpose
More than 7kg in total weight
Operator and Activity Permits
For any business purpose (i.e. Commercial activities or Specialised services) including if not Recreation or Research in nature
Operator and Activity Permits
For Recreation or Research
Not more than 7kg
No permit required.
However, an Activity Permit (only) is required if the unmanned aircraft is flown outdoors:
Note: In all the above operational scenarios, no permit is required if the unmanned aircraft is flown
(a) indoors at a private residence, or (b) In an indoor area used for the purpose of constructing or testing unmanned aircraft and accessible only to the persons
involved, and the flying does not affect at all the general public.
Additional permits will be required if:
(a) There is discharging or dropping of substances/items from the unmanned aircraft.
(b) The radio frequencies and power limits used for operating the unmanned aircraft do not comply with IMDA’s guidelines on radio frequencies and power limits for short range devices.
(c) The unmanned aircraft is flown over Protected Areas [i.e. security-sensitive locations gazetted as such and their immediate vicinity (defined by a lateral limit of 150m from the perimeter of a designated location)].
- The specific locations of these Protected Areas, as and when they are declared by the Minister for Transport, will be published in the Government Gazette and on the OneMap portal .
(d) Photographs (including videoing and live-streaming) of a Protected Area are taken using the unmanned aircraft.
(e) The unmanned aircraft is flown in Special Event Areas as declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the POA.
What are the different types of permits?
(1) Operator Permit
An Operator Permit is granted by CAAS to an applicant if the applicant is able to ensure safe operation of unmanned aircraft, taking into account the applicant’s organisational set-up, competency of the personnel especially those flying the unmanned aircraft, procedures to manage safety including the conduct of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each of the aircraft. The permit is valid for up to one year.
(2) Activity Permit
An Activity Permit is granted by CAAS to an applicant for a single activity or a block of repeated activities to be carried out by an unmanned aircraft at a specific area of operation, and which are of specific operational profiles and conditions.
(3) Other Permits
Other permits are required from various agencies for certain aspects of the unmanned aircraft operation that come under their purview, such as Singapore Police Force (SPF) for aerial photography and/or overflight of security-sensitive locations, or Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for the use of radio frequencies.
How can I apply for a permit?
You can apply for a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore at http://www.caas.gov.sg/caas/en/eServices_Forms/Application_for_Aerial_Activities.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their application well in advance of the date of their unmanned aircraft activity. The expected processing time for an application is two weeks, although straightforward cases or applications for Activity Permits by Operator Permit holders may take a shorter time. Conversely, a longer processing time may be required for applications that require a more in-depth evaluation by CAAS and/or other agencies, or further discussions with the applicant. CAAS will process and coordinate with other relevant agencies such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
You may refer to the Frequently Asked Questions to assess related information on the use of unmanned aircraft in Singapore.
Alternatively, if you have any queries on the use of unmanned aircraft in Singapore, you may send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.