UAV/ RC Helicopter/ Drone permits for filming | South Africa, Johannesburg, Cape Town:

Posted by Rover on April 20, 2014 at 4:15 AM

There has been a lot of talk backwards and forwards regarding obtaining permits to use drone or un-manned aerial vehicles for filming purposes recently. First and foremost we are pro safety and have been asking for a while that standard safety measures such as pilot and UAV certifications are put into place, Australia is a good example and their legislation can be viewed at:


The long and the short of it is that if you are flying below150 feet above the surface of the ground, you do not need a permit to fly a UAV on set, you do need a normal film permit for public or municipal property to stand on the ground whenever you would normally be required to get a permit. A representative of the City of Cape Town Film permit office recently sent an email to various productions stating that they will not be issuing permits for UAV use. This should not be misinterpreted as what they are saying is that they do not have authority to issue a permit for UAV use, as airspace above the surface of the ground falls into the realm of the Civil Aviation Authority.

There are a few exceptions to the use of Civil AviationAuthority airspace, one of which is the use of UAV’s. The CAA’s legislation for the use of UAV’s  has been listed below (Civil Aviation Act of 2009).

While South African aviation legislation below 150 feet allows for the (safe) use of unmanned aerial vehicles/ model aircraft, safety should not be disregarded and proper risk assessment protocols should always be followed.

Below is a relevant extract from:

Civil Aviation Act of 2009

Part 101

Operation ofLine-Controlled Kites, Model Aircraft, Captive and Unmanned

Free Balloons

Conditions forflight: Model Aircraft


(1) No model aircraft shall be flown ­

(a)  by night;

(b) higher than 150 feet above the surface;  (45.72meters)

(c) from or above apublic road;

(d) within a distanceof 8 kilometer from the aerodrome reference

point of an aerodrome licensed or   approved in terms of Part 139 of the

Regulations andsituated in Class G airspace.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-regulation (1), the

Commissioner may in writing, and on conditions set by him or her ­

(a) exempt anyone from the provisions of sub-regulation (1)(d); and

(b) exempt anyone from the provisions of sub-regulations (1)(a), (b)

and (d) in airspace specifically approved by the Commissioner for the

purpose of flyingmodel aircraft.²


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