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Drones to fly legally in India from now; online registration begins

For Drones of micro size and above categories, the operators and pilots are required to register on the DigitalSky Portal. 

Drones to fly legally in India from now; online registration begins

For those of you who were waiting to get permissions to fly their drones, your wait is finally over. Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu on Saturday tweeted that the drone regulations have been brought into effect from Saturday. Nano drones can also be flown in India legally from Saturday. 

"For Drones of micro size and above categories, the operators and pilots are required to register on the DigitalSky Portal. There is no registration required to fly Nano Drones," Prabhu tweeted on Saturday.

The registration can be obtained by logging on to the DigitalSky Portal. All operators, manufacturers or pilots can register themselves on the platform to get flying permissions. Registered users can add details of their No-Permission No Take off (NPNT) compliant drones and apply to fly. 

The form requires users to fill if the drone is under 250 grams or over. Drones range in size from very small and those that can carry multiple kilograms of payload.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had in August said that it was necessary to develop global standard drone regulations that would permit and safeguard, the commercial application of various drone technologies. The preparation of these drone regulations through a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) has taken multiple years as drone technologies have been evolving very rapidly and many countries are still experimenting with their drone regulations. Also, the security environment in India necessitates extra precautions because of which extra time has been taken to develop the regulations.

The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements NPNT. Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly. To prevent unauthorised flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to takeoff. The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.