Even though I’m supposed to be on “vacation”, it doesn’t stop me from following all the tech stuff in Ghana.
I got wind of information that the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) were outlining standards and practices to regulate the operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) or better know as Drones.
The GCAA is putting in these rules and regulations to make sure drone operators comply with the law and follow appropriate regulations when operating their drones. If a person doesn’t comply and uses their drone to fly in unapproved areas such as airports, that person should be prepared to face some jail term. From what I heard, you could get between 5 to 30(!) years in prison for failing to comply.
The GCAA plan to regulate drones starting in September. Meanwhile, if you’re a drone operator, you must get a license to operate a drone.
Now this part is a bit fuzzy. Get a license? To fly my drone?
According to Mr Simon Allotey, Director General of the GCAA, he stressed that, “Per the new guidelines, a person will not be obliged to act as an RPA observer without having in his or her possession proof of RPA observer competency issued by a training organisation approved by the authority. No person shall be allowed to operate or import drones into the country without our approval.”
There’s a lot of follow up questions here.
Is there going to be a fee to register your drone?
If I have a drone and I make someone operate it in the confines of my property, is that legal?
Will you have to be in possession of a license before you can buy a drone?
A lot of questions. Hopefully, answers will come soon.
All in all, this all simply means that if you have a drone and you fly it occasionally, be prepare to register it and obtain a license. I’m not a fan of too many rules and regulations but drone technology is fairly new and some rules and regulations could help to make things sane.
Here’s a draft document on the safety directive issued by the GCAA: Safety Directives on Remotely Controlled Aircraft System
UPDATE: So, I did a bit of research and I found out that in other African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, they have also imposed some drone regulations. But here’s the kicker: In Nigeria, to get a permit to fly a drone, you will have to pay $4000(!!). That’s just absolute bonkers. You might as well just fold a paper airplane and have fund with that. This makes me wonder how much it might cost to get a permit in Ghana. If the price is too high, you might pushing individuals who are trying to be creative with drones out of the market. We shall see. Hopefully, we get an update soon from the GCAA.
Sidenote: In the US, it costs just $5 to register your drone for commercial purposes. Think about that for a second….