Drones have become popular world over,with a whole range of applications. Their usage has become part of the norm with the Military using them in warfare, wildlife services such as the KWS using them to tackle poaching and Internet companies like Amazon using Drones to deliver goods that consumers have purchased. They have been used for rescue activities, where a drone helped rescue two boys from drowning.
In Kenya, drones have become widely popular creating a community of enthusiasts ranging from photographers and even pilots. As such, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has been keen to create regulations for the same, which has seen the body engage different stakeholders to come up with the best way forward for the same.
Among the proposal in the regulations includes one that states owners of drones will be required to register their devices with the KCAA where they will receive an RPAS operating certificate. The authority will establish a registration and identification system for the same, where drones will be categorised based on based on their use and weight. Also in the regulation is one that states drones cannot be flown above 400 feet above ground level or at night, while owners who have to be over 18 years will require 3rd party insurance for their devices.
The KCAA recently released a report stating that over 1,000 companies and individuals have sought drone licences in Kenya, for both commercial use and recreational purposes. This points to a growing number of local enthusiasts, who are also awaiting the proposed regulations to kick in, once the National Security Advisory Committee approves them. According to Business Daily, KCAA will employ drone pilots as it seeks to build local capacity as the country currently lacks the expertise. The regulation allow for the creation of 600 drones schools which will allow for the bridging of the skills gap in the country.
Prior to achievement of that goal, the country will have to rely on exapatriates for the same. The paper also reports that the Kenya Revenue Authority has so far confiscated over 1,000 drones, which were said to have been imported in Kenya illegally. Owners will however get back their drones once the draft regulations are approved. The draft regulations should be approved by December allowing for the use of drones by anyone who has a license.