Drones have become increasingly popular in India for various purposes, from recreational flying to commercial applications. However, it’s crucial for drone enthusiasts and operators to understand and adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Here, we provide an overview of the essential rules and guidelines for flying drones in India.
Drone Registration and Categories
- Registration: All drones, except those classified as Nano drones (weighing less than 250 grams), must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
- Categories: Drones in India are categorized based on their weight:
- Nano: Up to 250 grams
- Micro: 250 grams to 2 kilograms
- Small: 2 kilograms to 25 kilograms
- Medium: 25 kilograms to 150 kilograms
- Large: Over 150 kilograms
Commercial Drone Operations
- Permit Requirement: Commercial drone operations require a permit, with exceptions for Nano drones operated below 50 feet and Micro drones operated below 200 feet.
- Visual Line of Sight: Drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight with their drones at all times during flight.
- Altitude Limit: Drones should not exceed 400 feet vertically above the ground level.
- No Fly Zones: Drones are prohibited in specified “No Fly Zones,” which include areas near airports, international borders, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complexes in State Capitals, strategic locations, and military installations.
- To operate a drone in India (excluding Nano category), drones must have specific features, including:
- Return-to-Home (RTH) capability
- Anti-collision light
- Identification (ID) plate
- Flight controller with flight data logging capability
- RF ID and SIM (No Permission No Takeoff – NPNT)
No Permission, No Takeoff Policy
India has implemented a strict “No Permission, No Takeoff” (NPNT) policy for drone flights. Before every flight, drone pilots must request permission through a mobile app, which will process the request and either grant or reject it. If a pilot attempts to fly without obtaining permission from the Digital Sky Platform, the drone simply will not take off.
All drone operators must register their drones and request flight permissions through India’s Digital Sky Platform. Detailed information and access to the platform are available on the DGCA website.
It’s essential for drone enthusiasts and operators in India to be aware of these regulations and comply with them. Staying informed about drone laws and ensuring safe and responsible drone operations will contribute to the safe integration of drones into Indian airspace. Please note that drone regulations in India may change over time, so it’s advisable to keep updated through official sources for any revisions or updates to the rules.