Flying personal drones to come under tightened control soon

Personal drones will come under control under a new regulation now being drawn by the Transport Ministry.

These personal drones are considered a threat to aviation as they can fly at high altitude and at random path, and also a violation of privacy of others as they are equipped with spy cameras.

The proposed control to be forwarded to the cabinet for approval was revealed by Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong at the weekend.

ACM Prajin stated that the new regulation is being drawn up by the Civil Aviation Department under the Air Navigation Act and will be submitted for approval by the cabinet before coming into effect next month.

He said the regulation will control the use of two types of drones, first for sports, education and research,and second for personal use.

The penalties for unauthorised use of drones will be a one-year imprisonment and a fine of 40,000 baht.

ACM Prajin said the first type of drones normally do not fly too high, so their flight paths could be contained in specific areas.

But for personal drones, he said they would be strictly controlled, because they can fly at great heights and could violate others’ rights.

Besides, these drones could pose safety threat to air traffic safety and to national security, he said.

ACM Prajin said these unmanned aerial aircraft are often found to have been fitted with cameras and are sometimes used to spy, or intrude on people’s privacy.

Under the new regulation to be put in force, weight and size as well as fuel consumption will be fixed for drones..

One of the stipulations is that drone will not be allowed to be in the air over an hour, and permission to fly drones must be sought from the Transport Ministry.

And significantly, personal drone installed with surveillance camera is prohibited to be airborne. However, it allows drones with cameras only for businesses that require photography, such as for film making and for news media use.

Drone will be allowed to fly at a height of between 15-150 metres to avoid disrupting commercial planes, which usually fly at altitudes of at least 305 metres.

But flying too low is also prohibited as it could disturb residential areas.