The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is finalizing on regulations that will be used to oversee ownership and operation of drones in Kenyan airspace.
According to KCAA Director Gilbert Kibe, these regulations, dubbed Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations, 2017, allow Kenyans to own drones for sport, private activities and commercial use.
Operating a drone without a permit will attract a fine of Kshs. 2 million or six months’ imprisonment. The same penalty applies for acquiring a drone with military specifications or illegally exporting a Kenyan registered drone.
The same penalty will also be applicable to those found to manufacture, assemble or test drones without a permit and clearance from relevant security agencies.
Drone owners and/or operators who do not disclose drone specifications, airworthiness, insurance policy, operating speed, among other operational details will be fine Kshs. 1 million or six months’ imprisonment.
Those found guilty of flying drones over strategic installations such as radar sites, communication masts, courts or prisons will also face a similar penalty.
Unlawfully blocking licensed drones will attract the steepest penalty yet; Kshs. 5 million or six months’ imprisonment.
To apply for a permit, one must possess Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) general knowledge, flight performance and navigation skills.
Meanwhile, KCAA is working on modalities for training and testing to ensure that drone operation in regular airspaces does not pose safety and security risks. Currently, the regulations permit civilians to fly drones at a maximum height of 400 feet above ground level.
The regulations give KCAA the power to deregister drones without notifying owners should the said drone(s)’s operation be considered a threat to national security.