Public Consultation on Proposed Enhancements to the Unmanned Aircraft Regulatory Framework

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Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

Consultation Period: 29 Apr 2018 - 31 May 2018
Status: Open
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Detailed Description

INTRODUCTION


1. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) invites members of the public to provide their feedback on the proposed enhancements to the unmanned aircraft  (UA)1 regulatory framework in Singapore. 

CURRENT UA REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

2. Under the current UA regulatory framework, Operator Permits2 (OP) and/or Activity Permits3 are required for operating UA under the following circumstances:    

CAAS Table 1

3. In addition, CAAS has issued operating guidelines, which can be found in Appendix 2 of the Advisory Circular on Permits on UA Operations, for operators on the safe operation of UA. 

PROPOSED ENHANCEMENTS TO THE UA REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

4. Technological advancements and the commoditisation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have led to the wider use of UA. The rapid growth in UA activities benefits both the users and the economy but may pose risk to aviation and public safety, particularly in Singapore’s highly urbanised environment.

5. It is timely for CAAS to review and enhance the current UA regulatory framework. The review is based on CAAS’s three-year experience with the implementation of the UA regulatory framework, international benchmarking and feedback from UA users in Singapore. Specific areas being reviewed include the UA operating guidelines, the UA pilot competency requirements, as well as requirements for UA with total mass of more than 25 kg. The proposed enhancements to the UA regulatory framework are described below.

6. CAAS intends to;

i) Enhance UA operating guidelines to include additional guidance to address the importance of understanding the characteristics of the UA, particularly the limitations published by the UAS manufacturers.

• The additional guidance will also address users’ modification or customisation of UA with a view to ensuring the airworthiness of the UA. 

ii) Introduce an online training programme to equip persons flying UA with the essential knowledge of flying UA safely.

• Currently, a person flying a UA with total mass of 7 kg or below for recreational or research purposes is advised to follow the UA operating guidelines. The online training programme will be compulsory for persons flying UA with total mass of more than 1.5 kg but up to 7 kg for recreational or research purposes. 

iii) Introduce a UA pilot licensing framework for certain UA operations to ensure that UA pilots have a minimum competency level.

• Under this framework, a person must demonstrate competency in terms of skills, knowledge and experience before he can be granted a UA pilot licence (UAPL) by CAAS. There will be three categories of UAPL, namely Aeroplane, Rotorcraft and Powered-lift, with ratings associated to each category depending on whether the total mass of the UA is 25 kg or below or above 25 kg.
• Any person flying UA with total mass of more than 7 kg for recreational or research purposes will be required to obtain a UAPL granted by CAAS. With the UAPL, the person will no longer be required to apply for an OP.
• Any person flying UA for non-recreational or non-research purposes will be required to obtain a UAPL granted by CAAS. This seeks to enhance the flexibility for holders of OP to engage any UA pilot with a valid UAPL. However, holders of OP must still ensure that the UA pilots they engage are familiar with their specific operational requirements.

iv) Introduce a UA training organisation framework to support the proposed UA pilot licensing.

• Under this framework, training organisations approved by CAAS will provide training to equip UA pilots with the necessary competency, as well as to conduct the assessment required for the grant of a UAPL by CAAS. 

v) Introduce additional requirements for persons operating UA with total mass more than 25 kg, which correspond with the increase in safety risk.

• These requirements may include partial or full type certification9 of the UA, certification of the UA operator and maintenance organisation.


SUMMARY OF ENHANCED UA REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

7. With the proposed enhancements, the UA regulatory framework will be as follows:

CAAS Table 2

8. CAAS welcomes feedback on the enhancement proposed in the consultation paper. Please submit your feedback via E-poll. Alternatively, you may submit your feedback, together with the completed respondent’s form to CAAS_AFO_UAS@caas.gov.sgThe deadline for feedback is 31 May 2018.

9. For more details on the proposed enhancements to the UA regulatory framework, you may contact CAAS at CAAS_AFO_UAS@caas.gov.sg.  


[1] An unmanned aircraft refers to an aircraft that may be flown or used without any individual on board the aircraft to operate it while an unmanned aircraft system refers to an unmanned aircraft and its associated elements such as the remote control equipment.

[2] An Operator Permit is granted by CAAS to an organisation or individual after the applicant has been assessed to be able to conduct operation of UA safely. CAAS' assessment includes, but not limited to, the applicant’s organisational set-up, competency of the personnel especially those flying the UA, procedures to manage safety including the conduct of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each UA.

[3] An Activity Permit is granted by CAAS to an applicant for a single activity or a block of repeated activities to be carried out by a UA taking into account the location, altitude and period of the operation, type(s) of operation to be conducted, and mitigation measures to address location-specific circumstances. This is to ensure that adequate safety measures are put in place at the area(s) of operation and that the UA operations will not disrupt manned aircraft operations.

[4] “Recreational purpose” refers to any pursuit or activity engaged for enjoyment, relaxation or leisure, but not a sporting activity that forms part of an organised group activity or competition or tournament (such as a flying display); or a recreational activity provided by a business or in the course of business.

[5] “Research purpose” refers to any lecture, tutorial or similar activity on UA provided by an educational institution referred to in section 72 of the Private Education Act, or research and development activity carried on by an educational institution referred to in section 72 of the Private Education Act for the purpose of acquiring knowledge that may be of use for the devising or developing a new or substantially improved UA.

[6] “Restricted area” refers to an airspace of defined dimensions which is declared by the Chief Executive of CAAS as an area above any land or territorial waters of Singapore within which the flight of aircraft is restricted in accordance with certain specified conditions and is notified as such in the Aeronautical Information Publication or Notice to Airmen.

[7] “Danger area” refers to an airspace of defined dimensions which is declared by the Chief Executive of CAAS as an area within which activities dangerous to the flight of aircraft may exist at specified times and is notified as such in the Aeronautical Information Publication or Notice to Airmen.

[8] “Aerodrome” refers to a defined area on land (including any building, installation and equipment) used or intended to be used, either wholly or in part, for the arrival, departure and surface movement of aircraft. There are two civilian aerodromes in Singapore, namely the Changi Airport and Seletar Airport.

[9] A type certificate defines the design of the aircraft type and certifies that this design meets the appropriate airworthiness requirements established.