Citing possible security threats posed by the unauthorized flight of drones, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has issued the implementing guidelines for its recent order requiring the registration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), whose operators are required to obtain a license.“If birds can bring down a plane, how much more these drones?” said retired general Rodante Joya, CAAP deputy director general for operations.
Joya said CAAP had to expedite the issuance of the implementing guidelines for its Memorandum Circular No. 35-14, series of 2014, due to alarming incidents involving drones flying near Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
“It has become a safety and security threat in our airports. We have to institute measures to regulate them,” Joya said, noting that the Philippines was among the first countries to lay down guidelines on the regulation of UAVs.
“It can likewise be used for acts of terrorism if we don’t regulate them,” he added.
The CAAP called on drone users, among them photographers and media teams who use drones for aerial shots, to immediately comply with the memo, which is an amendment to the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations.
The agency has formed a team to ensure strict compliance with the memo, which requires all UAVs in the country to be registered and their operators to secure a license from the CAAP.
The guidelines, for example, bar UAV users from sending up drones higher than 400 feet above the ground. They also cannot operate within a 10-kilometer radius from the centre point of an airport. They also need to secure CAAP’s approval before they could fly a drone over populated areas.
Violators face fines from P300,000 to P500,000 per unauthorised flight, depending on the gravity of the offence.
A registration fee will be charged based on the UAV’s gross weight.