All you need to know to fly a drone in Kenya- new laws

by Diaz
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They were illegal. They got legalised. Then they become illegal again and now they are legal.AM not talking about weed. Am talking about drones. Lets talk about that. My name is Nahashon and welcome to tech quick tips.

This video will inform you on all you need to know before buying and flying a drone In Kenya and wåe will look at a few shortfalls of the current regulations.
Drones are classified into 3 categories, 1 low risk, 2 medium risk and 3 high risk and this classification is based on their risk to the public and property.
Low risk drones are those that don’t weigh more than 25kgs and this is the category within which most drone enthusiasts will be in.

But first, lets start by answering a few common questions.

1. Is there an age limit?

Yes. You must be above the age of 18 years.

2. Who can register a drone?

A Kenyan citizen or resident, a company registered in Kenya and the national government or county government. After registering the drone, you will be issued with a certificate and if you need to do any modifications to the drone, it has to be approved with the KCAA. At this point it’s important to note that a person can not register a drone that has any kind of military specifications. Things like target locking, or something that can shoot a rocket….for obvious reasons.

3. Can I import or export a drone to Kenya?

Yes you can buy first you must inform the authorities, in this case, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and they have to give you authorisation for that.

4. Can you manufacture or assemble a drone?

Yes, again, you must be given authorisation with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

5. Can you go out and fly the drone?

Only after getting a permit to do so which is only valid for unto 30 days. If you are a person who flies a drone for commercial activities, in this case, paid work e.g an event, you must first get. A certificate from KCAA called Remote Aircraft Operations Certificate (ROC). The application for this test should be done 90 days before your function or use of the drone and you’ll be tested on how you handle the drone and general knowledge. That certificate issued is valid for 12 months after which you will have to apply again.

6. What conditions can I fly the drone in?

You cannot fly the drone at night unless you have permission from KCAA. The weather has to be clear before you can fly your drone. You should not fly the drone above 400 feet and within 50 metres of any person, vehicle or structure that you are not in charge of. This means you can’t fly a drone in a public beach unless its empty and there’s no one around or any other public place that has people within 50 metres.

7. In case of an accident?

Report immediately to kCAA. Also, the public will have a platform to report any violations made by drone operators.

8. What if you already have a drone?

Well, you have 6 months to register it with KCAA to be in compliance.

Other things you need to note are, you need some kind of third party insurance when flying the drone especially in a commercial setup. You cannot sell or give your drone to someone else without informing KCAA of the transfer. You need to keep records of your flight paths, your safety regulations. Documents showing proof of ownership among other basic things. Failing to comply with the law can land you in jail unto 3 yrs, be liable to pay a fine unto 2 million shillings or both.

First, a person has to be above the age of 18yrs.
The drones also have to be registered with the aviation authority before being flown anywhere. A license can be obtained and the cost is kshs….. and is valid for only 1 month.

Now that we have gone through the important parts of owning a drone in Kenya, I think there are a few major problems with the law. The law shows how we as Kenyans are positioned to be consumers and less of producers. In the USA, a drone that is less than 400grams is considered a toy and doesn’t require registration. This covers a lot of small drones which are very affordable and in our case, maybe you wanted to buy a small drone from jumia or import it from china that costs 5000 shillings. In that case, do you have to register that drone? Thats pretty much a toy by any standards. I wish the law had some kind of exception for small drones which can be classified by weight.

The other shortcoming of this current law is that, every time you need to do an upgrade to a drone, you have to notify KCAA. Again, this means we cannot participate in FPV racing since for this, you need to be able to produce your own spare parts quickly and do a lot of modifications on your drone. The limitation can extend to schools and other learning institutions where they specialise in creating unmanned aircrafts of any size. The back and forth authorisation required between the operator and KCAA can become too much.

On the positive site, at least we can say progress has been made for people to get creative with drones and we can only hope KCAA will give us the space to experiment and innovate with drones and support us when we want to use the drones. As for us, drone operators, always remember to be cautious and alert of your environment and fly a drone in clear line of sight and not endangering the public. Its because of that negligence that drones were banned.

Unfortunately by the time of shooting this video, I wasn’t able to find the cost of registration or any other charges. I will update those in the description when I finally get them.

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