Kenya finally approves regulations to allow use of Drones

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The Kenyan Government has finally approved regulations providing for the use of all kinds of drones.

In a notice headlined “Drones are Now Legal, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, says anyone with approval as provided by the regulator, can fly a drone in the country’s airspace.

Kenya becomes one of the few countries in Africa to adopt regulation for all drones, allowing regulators to take into account the nature of the mission and the physical specifications of the drone.

The commercial drone industry is still young, but it has began to see some interests from film producers, providers of relief services and other commercial purposes. As of February 2017, there were more than 1,000 applicants seeking regulatory approvals to operate drones in Kenya according to the aviation regulator.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has said that tech giant Google and taxi hailing company Uber have applied for licenses to use drones locally. The authority added that Kenya Red Cross will get the approval given with regards to use during emergency rescue operations.

General Kenya drone laws

Now that use of drones is allowed in Kenya, there are laws and regulations that need to be followed when flying, they include;

  • Civilians are limited to flying drones above 400 feet above ground level and within 50 meters of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the drone
  • The law prohibits civilian drones from fly over or around strategic installations, radar sites, high tension cables and communication masts, prisons, police stations, courts of law, scenes of crime unless a permit is issued.
  • A person shall not own, register or operate a drone with military specifications.
  • A person who intends to export a Kenyan registered remote piloted aircraft system shall notify the Authority in writing and obtain a deregistration certificate.
  • Any person who contravenes the provisions of this regulation commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding two million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both.
  • Require operators of drones to subscribe for liability insurance.
  • The Authority may grant, upon application, a temporary permit to a person intending to operate a remote piloted aircraft system not registered in Kenya for a period of thirty (30) days renewable once.
  • The law prohibit civilian drones from flying at night, unless specifically cleared by the Authority on a case by case basis
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