Incredible footage captured by drones has been taking the surf world by storm over the past year. Intrigued by the unique angle that these unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can capture, web surfers have been spinning up the view count on videos like this one at Pipe:
However, a statement sent out by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) yesterday may put a dampener on drone activity in SA. SACAA have declared it is illegal to be flying UAS within civil aviation airspace.
“The fact is that the SACAA has not given any concession or approval to any organisation, individual, institution or government entity to operate UAS within the civil aviation airspace. Those that are flying any type of unmanned aircraft are doing so illegally; and as the regulator we cannot condone any form of blatant disregard of applicable rules,” said Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation in the statement.
A recent morning session at Queensberry Bay filmed by a drone sparked debate.
South African civil aviation legislation does not currently provide for certification, registration and operation of drones in South African airspace, but an increase in demand for UAS’s has prompted the SACAA to integrate regulations as swiftly as possible.
Until then, they say that anyone caught operating a drone in public airspace could face a fine of up to R50 000 or ten years imprisonment (or both). How this will be enforced and how it will impact footage of local spots from the air remains to be seen.
For more check out this report on News 24, or soak in the rad moments of this clip shot at California’s Rincon Point.