Panel moots minimum age for drone users
Government will study recommendations and announce details later
A minimum age for drone owners and mandatory registration for the devices and operators were among the key recommendations of an advisory panel set up in May by the Government to regulate drone usage here.
In a letter addressed to Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Advisory Panel said that to ensure safety, the registration regime should cover all types of unmanned aircraft (UA) with a total take-off weight above 250g and cover all operators and users, including locals, foreigners and tourists.
Registrants should also be at least 16 years old, suggested the panel in its submission to the Transport Ministry.
Those under 16 should be allowed to fly a UA under adult supervision, it said.
The 12-member panel chaired by Mr Timothy de Souza, a veteran Republic of Singapore Air Force pilot, also suggested other measures, such as a way to ensure registered devices are identifiable and traceable, for example, through a tamper-proof registration sticker.
The panel added that the registration process should be made easy and convenient, such as online registration, and that the cost of registration should not exceed $20.
A reasonable grace period of three months for individuals to register should also be given.
At present, Singapore laws ban flying drones within 5km of airports or military airbases, or at altitudes above 61m, without a permit.
The new proposed measures are intended to tighten control after two illegal incursions by drones disrupted operations at Changi Airport in June, leading to 55 flight delays and eight diversions.
In his letter, Mr de Souza said: "To promote the beneficial uses of UA, it is important that we ensure that UA operators or users fly responsibly and safely.
"We must address the risks that UA pose to the public and aviation safety and establish an operational system that enables all stakeholders to fulfil their expectations."
He added that in developing the recommendations, the independent panel studied UA registration systems around the world.
It also conducted focus group discussions with 150 members of the UA and aviation industry, hobbyists and experts.
The panel said it will continue to review other related areas and submit further recommendations when ready.
In a Facebook post, Dr Lam said the Government will study the recommendations carefully and announce the implementation details of the mandatory registration regime in due course.
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES