BAC Helicopters, trading as BAC Unmanned, is excited to offer commercial drone solutions to our new and existing clients with the award of our Remote Operating Certificate (ROC) in January 2018. There are now 25 legitimate ROC holders in South Africa. The list can be found on the CAA website – www.caa.co.za “Information for the Industry” – “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems” – “RPAS Operators (ROC/RTO)”.
There has been a great deal of confusion over what constitutes a licence-holder and where or how drones can be operated. Pilots and drones do need to be registered and licensed with the CAA, but for Commercial, Corporate & Private operations where any one or more of the following conditions or requirements apply, the company/pilot will also need to have a valid ROC with the relevant endorsements:
• Any Commercial or Corporate Operation
• Inside Controlled Airspace
• Inside Restricted Airspace
• Inside Prohibited Airspace
• Night Operations
• Operation above 400ft (120m)
• B-VLOS Beyond Visual Line of Sight
• Carriage of Dangerous Goods
• Take-off or Landing on a Public Road
• Releasing, Dispensing, Dropping Objects or Substances from a Remotely Piloted Aircraft
• Operation within 10kms of an Airfield, Airport or Helipad
• Adjacent or Overhead a Nuclear Power Plant; Prison; Police Station; Crime Scene; Court of Law; National Key point; Strategic Installation
• Operations Overhead any Person or Group of People or laterally within 50m of
• Within 50m of a Building or Structure
• Operations over a Public Road, along the length of or within 50m of a Public Road.
Certain of these will also require the ROC holder to obtain permission from the CAA for each specific job. These are Public Events and Operations Overhead a Nuclear Power Plant; Prison; Police Station; Crime Scene; Court of Law; National Key point; Strategic Installation.
Checklist For Safety Officers: Public Events, Construction Sites etc.
Because these will automatically fall into the ROC required category, pilots or companies operating drones will need to provide the following:
• Pilots need to have a licence (RPL) and this needs to be valid in terms of the expiry date printed within.
• The RPL must be accompanied by a Medical Certificate, valid in terms of its expiry date.
• Drones need to have a Certificate of Registration (this is an A6 certificate and a 5 letter tail/wing code).
• Drones need to have an RLA (also an A6 certificate – expires annually).
• Drones need an ICASA sticker or Type Approval Certificate.
• The operator needs an ROC certificate and Operating Specification (OpSpec)
• The OpSpec shall have the right endorsements for the job to be flown.
• CAMU permission if inside controlled airspace.
• CAA permission for Public Events or Restricted Airspace.
• Limited Liability Insurance (3rd Party).
The law has been in place for some years now and the CAA are actively policing and prosecuting pilots and their clients who transgress the law and operate without the right endorsements. Public events and major construction sites are easily policed with video footage and aerial photographs freely available on Internet sites. It is a good idea to know exactly what will apply to your operation and insist on the documentation upfront. If there is any uncertainty about airspaces or any other concerns, you are more than welcome to contact us for advice or clarity.