The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has released a notice stating that the reported ban on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is, in fact, not true.
‘SACAA has never issued any specific notice or regulation banning the use of unmanned aircraft systems. The current Civil Aviation Regulations prescribe specific requirements for operating an aircraft in the South African airspace. To date, no UAS has been able to comply with these requirements,’ says Kabelo Ledwaba, SACAA spokesperson, in the release.
In fact, SACAA says it is aware of the need for UAS in the country. “It is for this reason that SACAA has allocated the necessary resources to the UAS programme to ensure a speedy integration of this type of aircraft into the South African airspace,” Ledwaba adds.
Additionally, he says, “SACAA is currently compiling an interim guidance document as a provisional solution to enable restricted operational approval on a case-by-case basis, until maturity is attained by both the industry and SACAA.” This document is expected to be ready by the end of March 2015.
Ledwaba says SACAA is committed to the development of the country’s aviation sector, especially the UAS sector. “This constitutes a relatively new component of the civil aviation framework, one which the SACAA – together with civil aviation authorities worldwide and under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organisation – is working to understand, define and ultimately integrate into the civil aviation sector.”