Drone Laws in DR Congo

Table of Contents

NOTE: This page is for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo or Congo-Kinshasa. For the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), please go to this linked page: Drone Laws in the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Civil Aviation Authority of the  Democratic Republic of Congo (CAADRC)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo Drone Laws


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in DR Congo

The DR Congo agency responsible for drone safety, CAADRC, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.

Are drones allowed in DR Congo?

According to CAADRC, drone operations are allowed in DR Congo, subject to CAADRC regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in DR Congo:

CLASSIFICATION AND CATEGORIZATION OF RPAS (EQUIPMENT)

  • RPAS are classified and categorized according to their mass and use.
  • RPAS are divided into 3 classes
    • Class 1: RPAS with a mass of 5 kg or less, including any load carried by RPAS.
    • Class 2: RPAS with a mass greater than 5 kg but less than or equal to 25 kg, including any load transported; and
    • Class 3 RPAS with a mass greater than 25 kg, including any load carried.
  • SAPs are divided into 3 categories:
    • Category A: used for recreation and sport purposes only.
    • Category B: for private use excluding uses for leisure and sport; and
    • Category C: used for profit.
 Category A; Recreation and SportsCategory B: Private excluding leisure and sportCategory C: used for profitAuthorization provided by Authority
Class 1: 0 to 5 kg1A1B1CLimited based on authorization
Class 2: 5 to 25 kg2A2B2CLimited based on authorization
Class 3: 25kg plus3A3B3CPER required

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS TO OPERATE AN RPAS

  • Is eligible for obtaining authorization to operate an RPAS:
    • any Congolese who is at least 18 years old.
    • any resident in the Democratic Republic of Congo who is at least 18 years old.
    • all legal persons regularly established in the Democratic Republic of Congo that can justify the use of such equipment.

Note: If the RPAS’s owner is under the age of 18, the RPAS will be registered in the name of their legal guardian.

REGISTRATION OF RPAS

  • Any operator or owner of civilian RPAS is required to register with the Authority.
  • The Authority shall lay down the conditions for unmanned aircraft registration in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2.1 of this chapter, the Authority may exclude certain RPAS classes and categories of registration requirements.

Note: Although an integral part of the RPAS, the remote controller is not entered in the aircraft register.

AIRWORTHINESS OF RPAS

  • The owner or operator of an RPAS must ensure that all of its components are in good working order and follow the supplier’s user manual.
  • The Authority may require that an RPAS of a specific class and category that has received a type certificate obtain an airworthiness certificate.
  • The RPA operator’s responsibility is to ensure that the RPA system is airworthy before performing an air operation.
  • Airworthiness means that at least the following conditions are met:
    • The RPAS has been maintained following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule;
    • Any airworthiness directive (or an equivalent document) issued by the manufacturer of the aircraft, control station, or any other secondary component has been met;
    • all modifications and repairs made to the system of non-operating aircraft person on board have been carried out per the manufacturer’s instructions, and no unapproved modification has been made;
    • All of the RPAS system’s equipment required for safe flight is operational.

OBLIGATIONS OF RPAS OWNERS AND OPERATORS

  • The operator of a class 3 RPAS must obtain a PER from the Authority. 
  • The RPAS operator is responsible for the safe operation of the system. 
  • This requirement includes developing and implementing a safety management system (SGS) if the Authority so requires. 
  • The RPAS operator must follow all of the Authority’s requirements for its operations. 
  • The operator assumes responsibility for the services it subcontracts after service suppliers (for example, communication service providers) as needed to carry out its operations effectively. 
  • The owner or operator of the registered SAP in the register is responsible for operational control. 
  • The owner or operator of an RPAS must ensure that it is registered under the provisions of these regulations.

AUTHORIZATION OF FLIGHTS AND RPAS OPERATIONS

  • No one may operate an RPAS in the Democratic Republic of the Congo unless they are authorized to do so. 
  • RPAS operations will be permitted by the category of use, notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (a) of this paragraph. In the event of:
    • the RPAS is intended for private use; the authorization will be granted directly to the operator per the applicable national provisions;
    • the RPAS is intended for profit-making use; the authorization will be issued per applicable national provisions.
    • No one could operate an RPAS used for international navigation at departure or at the destination of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

PROHIBITED OPERATIONS WITH AN RPAS

  • An RPAS cannot be used
    • in a negligent manner likely to endanger another aircraft, the persons and property of others;
    • in a way that violates or invades the privacy of property or homes of persons;
    • beyond 300 feet above the ground unless authorized by the Authority concerned with the agreement air navigation services;
    • in prohibited areas
    • over the high seas without prior coordination with the aerial navigation services;
    • in restricted or dangerous areas or any area notified by the Authority unless permitted thereof and following any condition imposed by it.

LIMITS ON THE USE OF AN RPAS

  • An entertainment or sport category RPAS could not be used above 300 feet above the ground.
  • RPAS flights in the for-profit or business use category cannot be performed at a height exceeding that specified by the Authority.
  • An RPAS cannot be used
    • at night:
    • and in conditions other than day VMC flight.

CERTIFICATION OF THE RPAS PILOT

  • RPAS remote pilots engaged in for-profit or professional operations must obtain the certification of the Authority per the regulatory provisions in force.

NOTIFICATION OF ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS INVOLVING RPAS

  • Any RPAS operator must notify all accidents and incidents involving their RPAS to the Authority within 72 hours, under the regulatory provisions in force;
  • Anyone who knows about an accident or incident involving an RPAS must inform the nearest Authority.

STEPS TO GETTING AUTHORIZATION FOR PRIVATE USE

  • Any operator or person intending to conduct operations with an RPAS should request a specific authorization and be authorized to do so before starting any operation.
  • RPAS must meet the requirements for the specific airspace in which they are called to operate.
  • Unless otherwise specified by the Authority, the request for authorization required in this paragraph  includes in particular:
    • Name and contacts of the operator;
    • Criminal record less than 3 months, if applicable;
    • RPAS characteristics (aircraft type, maximum certified take-off weight, number engines, wingspan);
    • Call sign to be used in radiotelephone communications, if appropriate;
    • Copy of remote pilot’s license or certificate
    • Description of the proposed operation (including, type or reason for operation), flight rule, line-of-sight flight operation if applicable, planned flight date, point of departure, destination, cruising speed, cruising levels, route to follow, duration/frequency of flights:
    • Special operations manual and maintenance manual
    • Take-off and landing performance;
    • RPAS performance characteristics including:
  • Operating speeds;
  • Typical and maximum climb rates;
  • Typical and maximum rates of descent:
  • Typical and maximum turn rates;
  • Other relevant performance data (for example, wind limitations, limitations Beate relating to icing, precipitation; and
  • Maximum autonomy of the aircraft.
    • Communication, navigation and surveillance skills,
  • Safety of aeronautical communications, frequencies, and equipment, including understanding:
    • communications (coordination with air traffic services) including any alternative means of communication;
    • command and control links including performance parameters and designated areas of operational coverage;
    • communications between the remote pilot of aircraft operating without a person on board (RPA) and the RPA observer, if applicable;
  • Navigation equipment; and
  • Surveillance equipment (for example, secondary radar, ADS-B)
    • Detection and avoidance capabilities
    • Emergency procedures including:
  • Communication failure with air traffic services:
  • Command and control link failure; and
  • Communication failure between the remote pilot and the RPA observer, if applicable.
    • Number and location of remote piloting stations as well as remote cockpit transfer procedures, if applicable;
    • A document attesting to the noise certification, if applicable;
    • Confirmation of compliance with the requirements of RACD 16;
    • Description and information on the payload and
    • Proof of taking out comprehensive liability insurance.
  • When the required documents are issued in a language other than French, the operator must ensure that the content is translated into French.

DETECTION AND AVOIDANCE

Any RPAS to be operated beyond-line-of-sight flight must be equipped with a detection system and avoidance.

COMMAND AND CONTROL

The owner or operator of the UAS must ensure that the RPAS commands and controls are maintained at all times while in flight.

COMMUNICATIONS TO AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES

RPAS remote pilots must ensure that air traffic services are notified of any operation in areas where controlled aircraft air traffic with a crewed aircraft is likely to be affected.

SITE EXAMINATION

  • Before deploying an RPA, the Authority should assess each location to ensure that operations can be carried out safely. A site visit, the use of aeronautical charts and other sources of information, and digital images are all part of the evaluation (satellite image or 3D image, etc.).
  • The following should be included in an assessment but not limited to:
    • defining the boundaries of the area where operations will take place;
    • the class of airspace and specific airspace-related arrangements (e.g., airspace controlled air);
    • the altitudes and routes that will be used for the approach to the areas where the operations and for departure from these areas;
    • other aircraft operations (e.g., proximity to aerodromes, including heliports and hydro airports, or other sites in operation);
    • the dangers linked to the surrounding industrial sites;
    • regions with high-intensity radio transmissions or interference electromagnetic (e.g., radar stations);
    • limits and/or restrictions of local regulations;
    • the location and height of obstacles (e.g., wires, masts, buildings, telephone towers cellular, wind turbines, etc.);
    • airspace restrictions;
    • built-up areas, major roads, and sites of recreational activities;
    • measures security to limit public access;
    • the prevailing meteorological conditions of the site and the proposed operating areas;
    • the minimum separation distances from people, vehicles, and structures.

OPERATIONS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF AN AERODROME

  • Unless expressly authorized by the Authority, no one may operate an RPAS in the vicinity:
    • and within a radius of 10 km around the aerodrome reference point;
    • take-off and approach trajectories;
    • navigation aids;
    • the aerodrome circuit;
    • waiting racetracks in the terminal area.

OPERATIONS NEAR AN AERODROME

  • The Authority must provide approval of operations near an aerodrome:
    • imposed operational restrictions on clearance in the interests of safety:
    • publish details of the authorization by NOTAM or AIP Supplements;
    • revoke or amend the authorization and publish any details of the revocation or amendment by NOTAM or AIP supplements.

OPERATIONS TAKING PLACE IN A CLOSED ENVIRONMENT

  • These provisions apply to the use of an RPA inside a building or a structure, or even in an underground environment:
    • If the only people present are part of the RPA crew, a PER is not required;
      • If the crew of the RPA and persons directly involved in the operation of the RPA are present (e.g., actors on a film set) and that no spectators or guests are present, a PER is not required. The RPA operator must ensure that all persons related to the use of RPA are informed about the possible dangers and risks.
      • If people within the facility not participating in the RPA operation (e.g., spectators during a sporting event, participants in a demonstration during a fair commercial, etc.) are present, a PER is required.
  • In all of the situations described above, the RPAS operator must obtain the owner’s consent of the building or land before carrying out operations.

CONTROL OF A RPAS FROM A MOVING VEHICLE

  • Currently, it is not clear whether an RPAS can be controlled safely from another aircraft or ground vehicle in motion in a manner that ensures a suitable level of security.
  • Certificate applicants wishing to perform the above operations must provide the Authority with a safety assessment that shows that the risks of these operations can be reduced to a level acceptable.

COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

COMPLIANCE WITH THE RPAS OPERATING LICENSE

  • No operator shall engage in an RPAS operation for profit unless they have a valid remotely piloted aircraft (PER) license issued by the Authority.
    • The RPAS operating permit allows the operator to carry out RPAS operations in compliance with the conditions and limitations contained in the related operating specifications at PER.
    • The issuance of a PER by the Authority depends on what the operator of the RPAS demonstrates that it has adequate organization, a method of controlling and monitoring its operation, a program training as well as aircraft ground handling and maintenance arrangements compatible with the nature and extent of the operations specified and in proportion to the size, structure, and complexity of the organization.

APPLICATION FOR THE RPAS OPERATING LICENSE

  • An operator applying for an RPAS operating permit (PER) must submit a request in the form and manner prescribed by the Authority and containing any information required by the Authority.
    • Any candidate for a PER must submit their request for a first issue at least three (03) months before the start date of the planned operations.

ISSUANCE OF A PER

  • The Authority may issue an RPAS operating permit (PER) to an applicant if the applicant:
    • has its main operating base in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is registered in the DRC trade register or registered after a structure competent;
    • complies with the regulations and standards applicable to the holder of PER;
    • have qualified and adequate personnel to safely operate the operation commercial RPAS operations;
    • holds an authorization from the Minister having security in his attributions in the event of use of the camera; and
    • has a safety program approved by the Authority, if the size of its activity so requires.

VALIDITY AND RENEWAL OF A PER

  • The RPAS operating permit will be valid for twelve (12) months from the date of issue. or renewal unless
    • ‘Authority does not specify a shorter period;
    • the Authority shall fine, suspend, revoke, or otherwise invalidate the PER;
    • the PER holder does not waive his PER and returns it to the Authority:
    • the holder of PER notifies the Authority of the suspension of its operation.
  • The operator must submit a renewal request to the Authority at least one (01) months before the expiry of the PER;
  • A suspended or revoked PER must be returned to the Authority;
  • An operator whose PER has expired for more than six (06) months must make an initial request for PER.

AMENDMENT OF AN RPAS OPERATION PERMIT (PER)

  • The Authority may amend an RPAS operating permit (PER) if:
    • the safe operation of the RPAS requires it;
    • the PER holder requests it.

MONITORING, INSPECTIONS, AND TESTS

The Authority shall carry out surveillance, conduct inspections, and perform tests to ensure

the continuity of the eligibility of the PER holder.

PERSONNEL REQUIRED FOR COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

  • The RPAS operator must designate a Responsible Officer acceptable to the Authority, having the powers to ensure that all the necessary resources are available in support of operations appearing on the PER specifications.
    • The Accountable Manager must have qualified and competent staff, in sufficient number to carry out planned tasks and activities to be carried out per applicable requirements.
    • An RPAS operator must develop and implement an initial training program and a recurrent training program to ensure the maintenance of competence of its staff.
    • The remote pilot of an RPA system is responsible for the operation and safety of the aircraft during the flight. As with manned aircraft, the remote pilot may not handle the aircraft controls and occasionally supervise another remote pilot. The remote pilot could be supported by other crew members who have been assigned functions essential to using the RPA (e.g., payload operators, visual observers, launch system operators, and recovery, and mission planners). Crew members participating in the use of an RPA system must, during the flight, obey the instructions of the remote pilot.
    • People associated with the operation of the RPAS (visual observers, technicians maintenance, and payload operator) must be at least 18 years of age.

A VISUAL OBSERVER

  • No one shall exercise the functions of an RPAS Observer unless he has a document issued by the RPAS operator or by a training center certifying his competence to perform the tasks of RPA observer in VLOS flight.
  • A visual observer is an adequately trained crewmember assigned to perform collision avoidance related duties, for example, continuously monitoring the AP and airspace around the vehicle and far enough beyond it (looking for other aircraft, clouds, ‘obstacles, and relief). In VLOS operations, one or more visual observers will be required unless it can be demonstrated that the risks may be mitigated in another way.
  • The main task of the visual observer is to provide information to the remote pilot so that this money avoids dangers and any risk of collision with obstacles on the ground or with other aircraft. In addition, the visual observer must help the RPA remote pilot respect applicable PER conditions, such as flight visibility and ceiling cloud requirements, and ensure that the aircraft is in line of sight. He must be able to see the aircraft and the surrounding airspace during the entire flight. To carry out these tasks, the visual observer must be able to determine the relative altitude of the aircraft, the flight path, and proximity to all other aerial activities and hazards (e.g., terrain, weather conditions, weather, structures) sufficient to prevent the aircraft from creating a danger of collision.
  • A visual observer should only perform observation tasks for one RPA at a time. In addition, the visual observers must always communicate with the RPA remote pilot and quickly share information to avoid other aircraft if there is a possibility of conflict.
    • The use of visual observers in moving ground vehicles will not be approved to expand the area/scope of operation of an RPA system.
      • The following are the minimum requirements for visual observers:
      • Class 3 physical and mental fitness;
      • Working knowledge of the following: 
  • visual scanning techniques;
  • communication requirements between crew members;
  • hazardous weather conditions in flight;
  • the measures to be taken in the event of risk of collision;
  • the vertical and horizontal limits of the operation;
  • the class of airspace in which they intend to operate the aircraft,
  • including the vertical and horizontal limits of the airspace and the determination of adjacent classes of airspace;
  • the priority rules indicated in the PER;
  • the limitations of the RPA system;
  • Language skills The observer must demonstrate that he has an English language proficiency level equal to or greater than level 4.

A MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN

  • He must be trained in the maintenance of the RPA system.
  • An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (TMA) license is not required to use small RPAs in VLOS. The maintenance of an RPA, including the airworthiness of the aircraft, is the to the operator of the RPA.
  • Concerning the maintenance of all other RPAs (i.e., not small RPAs used in VLOS), additional knowledge, skills and competencies will be required and assessed case-by-case.

PAYLOAD OPERATOR

  • He must undergo training allowing him to understand the payloads of the RPA fully.
  • If a remote pilot has a dual role (e.g., if the RPA remote pilot is also the payload operator), the certificate applicant must address the risks inherent in the fact that the same person has two functions.
  • The functions of the payload operator shall not affect the handling of the aircraft or the RPA remote pilot’s workload.

REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO OTHER CREW MEMBERS

Launch and recovery systems support personnel and mission regulators/planners should be trained and deemed competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them by the RPA operator.

OPERATION MANUAL AND RECORDS

  • The operator shall develop and submit an operations manual following the requirements prescribed by the Authority.
  • Depending on the complexity of operating the RPA, the types of manuals and their content may vary. Types of records that RPA operators may need to maintain include including operating manuals, maintenance manuals, flight manuals of the RPA system (for each type of RPA used), aircraft checklists, etc.
  • The RPA operator must provide the checklists and brochures to enable the pilot to use the RPAS following their flight manual, operating manual, or a document equivalent.
  • RPA operators must maintain up-to-date records of their flight operations that include the following information:
    • flight records (location, date, times, crew, aircraft type, etc.);
    • total flight hours accumulated per aircraft (when the PER contains a condition regarding maintenance requirements);
    • the flight hours of the remote pilot (s) (day, month, year).

AUTHORIZATION FOR OPERATIONS FOR PROFIT

  • A person who satisfies paragraph 6.3.1.7 of this Regulation may start operations NOT for profit only after authorization.
  • The authorizations referred to in paragraph 6.4.1.9 (a) will be specific to particular operations.

CERTIFICATION OF PROFESSIONAL RPAS PILOTS

  • No person shall operate an RPAS of 25 kg or more unless they hold a valid RPAS pilot license issued or validated by the Authority per the applicable provisions.
  • An applicant for the RPAS pilot license referred to in the above paragraph must:
    • be over 18 years of age;
    • hold a class 3 medical fitness certificate
    • demonstrate that they have an equal level of English language proficiency or above level 4;
    • RPASs an initial test of aeronautical knowledge covering the areas specified in RACD 02 Aeronautical personnel licenses.
  • RPAS remote pilots must hold, where applicable, an appropriate type rating ‘operations they will perform, including:
    • type rating;
    • instrument rating; and
    • instructor qualification.

VALIDITY OF RPAS PILOT LICENSES

The RPAS pilot license is valid for twelve (12) months, subject to the validity of the holder’s medical certificate.

TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

RPAS pilots must be trained following the approved training program by the Authority.

EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENT REQUIREMENTS

  • The instruments required for specific operations related to the operation of RPAS are in particular function:
    • the class and category of the RPAS;
    • the type of operation; and
    • special authorizations sought.

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

  • To establish safe aircraft operating procedures, PER applicants must complete the security risk assessment form.
  • Loss of link General
    • There are many acceptable ways to meet loss of power requirements. However, procedures related to loss of links must ensure that the aircraft’s flight path remains predictable and does not pose a risk to other air space users.
    • Procedures related to link loss in the PER request should include, if there is location, flight path and circuit points in the event of failure of a link, the use of transponder, communication procedures (with whom and when) and points ” planned flight interruption or other contingency planning measure in the event of the RPA recovery is not feasible.
    • The remote pilot must assess the risks associated with the particular circumstances of the loss of connection and establish when the automated recovery maneuvers or interruption of the flight will begin.
    • Suppose a link loss could result in a situation where the aircraft enters airspace controlled or an area with reporting requirements (i.e., regulated). In that case, the certificate applicant must provide the link loss plan to the ATS unit or the relevant air traffic control provider before carrying out the proposed operation.
  • Loss of link during an operation authorized in IFR
    • unless otherwise authorized, if an aircraft is operated under an authorization IFR, the link loss procedure must comply with the last ATC clearance during a period long enough so that the ATS unit is informed of the loss of liaison and can ensure conflict resolution;
    • Link loss procedures that depart from standard link loss procedures communication in IF must be coordinated beforehand with the ATS unit (s) relevant and included in the request of the PER as well as in the operations manual of the operator of the RPA;
    • Unless otherwise authorized, link loss procedures must:
  • limit the flight of the RPA to areas above water or sparsely populated to reach up to a predetermined point of loss of link in VLOS to reestablish the link;
  • avoid unpredictable U-turns and/or altitude changes;
  • avoid locating waiting points in the event of a loss of connection in a waiting area published, air route, or air route.
    • If the link is not reestablished within a predetermined period specified in the PER request, the RPA can:
  • perform an automatic landing;
  • travel to another lost link point to reestablish the C2 link;
  • proceed to a point where the flight is interrupted.
    • When multiple or concurrent RPA operations are planned in the same region, the certificate applicant must provide a separation plan in a simultaneous link loss. For example, the conflict elimination plan may include different altitudes and horizontal spacing ensured using independent link loss points.
  • Flight interruption
    • All RPA systems must have suitable system redundancies and an independent operation to ensure overall security and predictability.
    • To avoid a situation where the remotely piloted aircraft is adrift and protects other airspace users, RPA systems not having redundancies may require an independent flight interruption system that the RPA remote pilot can activate.
  • Emergency equipment requirements
    • The relevant crew member (s) must have access to emergency equipment, including a portable fire extinguisher of a type capable of extinguishing fires that are likely to occur

SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR RPAS OPERATIONS

SECURITY

  • No one could operate an RPAS inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo unless he developed an operator safety program approved by the Authority.
  • The operator’s security program must specify the measures to be taken, the procedures to be followed, and the practices to be observed by the operator to protect the remote pilot and the installations from unlawful interference. This program includes at least:
    • the objectives of the program and the responsibility for ensuring its implementation;
    • the operator’s safety function organization chart, including tasks and responsibilities. The operator must designate a Security Officer responsible for civil aviation security.
  • An RPAS operator must maintain security measures, including identification, resolution of suspicious activities which may constitute a threat to civil aviation:
    • at a remote cockpit:
    • to an RPAS;
    • any installation under the control of the RPAS operator.
  • The specific security measures referred to in paragraph (c) above provide for:
    • that the premises used for the preparation, storage, and parking of RPAS including, RPAS ground stations, are protected from unauthorized access at all times:
    • protection of critical information, technology, and communication systems used during operations against interference that could compromise the civil aviation safety
    • protection of flight documents;
    • that operators who request to operate with a camera are required to include in the request the camera specifications to carry out a safety review and then approval by the Authority
    • that the inspection and security search compartments be indicated both inside  and outside the RPAS:
    • that those involved in RPAS operations are adequately trained and subject to regular knowledge checks and selection procedures.

SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR RPAS OPERATORS

The RPAS operator is responsible for the safety and security of RPAS operations including,

associated facilities, personnel, and equipment.

ACTS OF ILLICIT INTERVENTION AGAINST CIVIL AVIATION

  • The RPAS operator should develop procedures to be followed by its operating personnel in response to threats and incidents involving RPAS operations.
    • The operator or owner must ensure that acts of unlawful interference are reported without delay to the Authority.

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS

FILES

  • The RPAS operator must establish an archiving system that allows for adequate storage and reliable traceability of the activities developed, covering at least:
    • the organization of the operator
    • the safety management system;
    • training and competence monitoring of personnel;
    • documentation of all key management system processes;
    • maintenance records
    • safety management records.
  • Records will be kept in such a way as to protect them from theft, alteration, and damage.
  • The records in this subsection will provide sufficient detail to determine whether the experience and qualification requirements are satisfactory to authorize the continuation of commercial operations.

INSURANCE

  • No one may operate on, cause to be operated on, or commit a person to operate an RPAS unless they have valid insurance covering risks to third parties.
    • The operator must keep an original copy of the civil liability insurance certificate available at its operating base or any other location specified by the Authority.
      • Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) above, the Authority may grant exemptions to the regulations according to the category and the class of the RPA.

REGULATION BREACH REPORT

  • Anyone who knows of the violation of any of the provisions of this regulation must inform the Authority.
  • The Authority must determine the nature and type of further investigation to be carried out or any prosecution to engage.

OFFENSES AND SANCTIONS

Any violation of these regulations will be reported to the disciplinary council and is liable to

sanctions.

LICENSES AND SKILLS

GENERAL RULES

  • There is only one category of RPAS pilot license. Therefore, the categories of private pilot licenses, commercial pilot, multi-crew pilot, and airline pilot license are not applicable RPAS pilot licenses.
  • Any remote pilot called to operate an RPAS from a remote piloting station (RPS) installed on the Democratic Republic of the Congo territory must hold a remote pilot license issued or validated by the Authority.
  • People engaging in recreational activities with small model aircraft are not required to hold an RPAS license. Instead, these people receive training in clubs that operate according to specific provisions.
  • No remote student pilot may conduct a solo flight, except under supervision or with the authorization of an authorized instructor, and only if they hold a class 3 medical aptitude certificate valid

DOCUMENTS TO BE HELD BY STAFF

  • Any remote pilot at the controls of an RPA or on duty in a remote cockpit (RPS) must hold
    • a valid class 3 medical certificate
    • a valid remote pilot license NOT, or if it has been validated, the license validation and the original license:
    • proof that he meets the requirements of recent experience, namely, having done at least 3 take-offs and 3 landings in the three previous months.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in DR Congo

STEPS TO GETTING AUTHORIZATION FOR PRIVATE USE

  • Any operator or person intending to conduct operations with an RPAS should request a specific authorization and be authorized to do so before starting any operation.
  • RPAS must meet the requirements for the specific airspace in which they are called to operate.
  • Unless otherwise specified by the Authority, the request for authorization required in this paragraph  includes in particular:
    • Name and contacts of the operator;
    • Criminal record less than 3 months, if applicable;
    • RPAS characteristics (aircraft type, maximum certified take-off weight, number engines, wingspan);
    • Call sign to be used in radiotelephone communications, if appropriate;
    • Copy of remote pilot’s license or certificate
    • Description of the proposed operation (including, type or reason for operation), flight rule, line-of-sight flight operation if applicable, planned flight date, point of departure, destination, cruising speed, cruising levels, route to follow, duration/frequency of flights:
    • Special operations manual and maintenance manual
    • Take-off and landing performance;
    • RPAS performance characteristics including:
  • Operating speeds;
  • Typical and maximum climb rates;
  • Typical and maximum rates of descent:
  • Typical and maximum turn rates;
  • Other relevant performance data (for example, wind limitations, limitations Beate relating to icing, precipitation; and
  • Maximum autonomy of the aircraft.
    • Communication, navigation and surveillance skills,
  • Safety of aeronautical communications, frequencies, and equipment, including understanding:
    • communications (coordination with air traffic services) including any alternative means of communication;
    • command and control links including performance parameters and designated areas of operational coverage;
    • communications between the remote pilot of aircraft operating without a person on board (RPA) and the RPA observer, if applicable;
  • Navigation equipment; and
  • Surveillance equipment (for example, secondary radar, ADS-B)
    • Detection and avoidance capabilities
    • Emergency procedures including:
  • Communication failure with air traffic services:
  • Command and control link failure; and
  • Communication failure between the remote pilot and the RPA observer, if applicable.
    • Number and location of remote piloting stations as well as remote cockpit transfer procedures, if applicable;
    • A document attesting to the noise certification, if applicable;
    • Confirmation of compliance with the requirements of RACD 16;
    • Description and information on the payload and
    • Proof of taking out comprehensive liability insurance.
  • When the required documents are issued in a language other than French, the operator must ensure that the content is translated into French.

DETECTION AND AVOIDANCE

Any RPAS to be operated beyond-line-of-sight flight must be equipped with a detection system and avoidance.

COMMAND AND CONTROL

The owner or operator of the UAS must ensure that the RPAS commands and controls are maintained at all times while in flight.

COMMUNICATIONS TO AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES

RPAS remote pilots must ensure that air traffic services are notified of any operation in areas where controlled aircraft air traffic with a crewed aircraft is likely to be affected.

SITE EXAMINATION

  • Before deploying an RPA, the Authority should assess each location to ensure that operations can be carried out safely. A site visit, the use of aeronautical charts and other sources of information, and digital images are all part of the evaluation (satellite image or 3D image, etc.).
  • The following should be included in an assessment but not limited to:
    • defining the boundaries of the area where operations will take place;
    • the class of airspace and specific airspace-related arrangements (e.g., airspace controlled air);
    • the altitudes and routes that will be used for the approach to the areas where the operations and for departure from these areas;
    • other aircraft operations (e.g., proximity to aerodromes, including heliports and hydro airports, or other sites in operation);
    • the dangers linked to the surrounding industrial sites;
    • regions with high-intensity radio transmissions or interference electromagnetic (e.g., radar stations);
    • limits and/or restrictions of local regulations;
    • the location and height of obstacles (e.g., wires, masts, buildings, telephone towers cellular, wind turbines, etc.);
    • airspace restrictions;
    • built-up areas, major roads, and sites of recreational activities;
    • measures security to limit public access;
    • the prevailing meteorological conditions of the site and the proposed operating areas;
    • the minimum separation distances from people, vehicles, and structures.

OPERATIONS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF AN AERODROME

  • Unless expressly authorized by the Authority, no one may operate an RPAS in the vicinity:
    • and within a radius of 10 km around the aerodrome reference point;
    • take-off and approach trajectories;
    • navigation aids;
    • the aerodrome circuit;
    • waiting racetracks in the terminal area.

OPERATIONS NEAR AN AERODROME

  • The Authority must provide approval of operations near an aerodrome:
    • imposed operational restrictions on clearance in the interests of safety:
    • publish details of the authorization by NOTAM or AIP Supplements;
    • revoke or amend the authorization and publish any details of the revocation or amendment by NOTAM or AIP supplements.

OPERATIONS TAKING PLACE IN A CLOSED ENVIRONMENT

  • These provisions apply to the use of an RPA inside a building or a structure, or even in an underground environment:
    • If the only people present are part of the RPA crew, a PER is not required;
      • If the crew of the RPA and persons directly involved in the operation of the RPA are present (e.g., actors on a film set) and that no spectators or guests are present, a PER is not required. The RPA operator must ensure that all persons related to the use of RPA are informed about the possible dangers and risks.
      • If people within the facility not participating in the RPA operation (e.g., spectators during a sporting event, participants in a demonstration during a fair commercial, etc.) are present, a PER is required.
  • In all of the situations described above, the RPAS operator must obtain the owner’s consent of the building or land before carrying out operations.

CONTROL OF A RPAS FROM A MOVING VEHICLE

  • Currently, it is not clear whether an RPAS can be controlled safely from another aircraft or ground vehicle in motion in a manner that ensures a suitable level of security.
  • Certificate applicants wishing to perform the above operations must provide the Authority with a safety assessment that shows that the risks of these operations can be reduced to a level acceptable.

RPAS OPERATIONS FOR LEISURE PURPOSES

RPAS

  • Recreational and sporting RPAS operations must be carried out within clubs duly registered and recognized by the Authority per prescribed procedures.
    • The Authority shall develop a club recognition system including requirements for composition, documentation, internal club regulations, and aeronautical regulations specific for leisure and recreation operations.
      • The clubs referred to in paragraph (a) above shall submit to the Authority for approval the information on the zones’ operations and the schedules of these operations.
      • The Authority must notify by NOTAM, or any other means, the portions of the airspace reserved to RPAS transactions, including any restrictions that may apply.

TRAINING

  • The clubs referred to in paragraph 6.5.1.1 (a) shall prescribe and submit for the approval of the Authority the minimum training required to perform recreational RPAS operations.
    • Training developed in applying the provisions relating to training requirements referred to in paragraph (a) above must be submitted to the Authority for acceptance.

See general rules above.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in DR Congo

COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

COMPLIANCE WITH THE RPAS OPERATING LICENSE

  • No operator shall engage in an RPAS operation for profit unless they have a valid remotely piloted aircraft (PER) license issued by the Authority.
    • The RPAS operating permit allows the operator to carry out RPAS operations in compliance with the conditions and limitations contained in the related operating specifications at PER.
    • The issuance of a PER by the Authority depends on what the operator of the RPAS demonstrates that it has adequate organization, a method of controlling and monitoring its operation, a program training as well as aircraft ground handling and maintenance arrangements compatible with the nature and extent of the operations specified and in proportion to the size, structure, and complexity of the organization.

APPLICATION FOR THE RPAS OPERATING LICENSE

  • An operator applying for an RPAS operating permit (PER) must submit a request in the form and manner prescribed by the Authority and containing any information required by the Authority.
    • Any candidate for a PER must submit their request for a first issue at least three (03) months before the start date of the planned operations.

ISSUANCE OF A PER

  • The Authority may issue an RPAS operating permit (PER) to an applicant if the applicant:
    • has its main operating base in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is registered in the DRC trade register or registered after a structure competent;
    • complies with the regulations and standards applicable to the holder of PER;
    • have qualified and adequate personnel to safely operate the operation commercial RPAS operations;
    • holds an authorization from the Minister having security in his attributions in the event of use of the camera; and
    • has a safety program approved by the Authority, if the size of its activity so requires.

VALIDITY AND RENEWAL OF A PER

  • The RPAS operating permit will be valid for twelve (12) months from the date of issue. or renewal unless
    • ‘Authority does not specify a shorter period;
    • the Authority shall fine, suspend, revoke, or otherwise invalidate the PER;
    • the PER holder does not waive his PER and returns it to the Authority:
    • the holder of PER notifies the Authority of the suspension of its operation.
  • The operator must submit a renewal request to the Authority at least one (01) months before the expiry of the PER;
  • A suspended or revoked PER must be returned to the Authority;
  • An operator whose PER has expired for more than six (06) months must make an initial request for PER.

AMENDMENT OF AN RPAS OPERATION PERMIT (PER)

  • The Authority may amend an RPAS operating permit (PER) if:
    • the safe operation of the RPAS requires it;
    • the PER holder requests it.

MONITORING, INSPECTIONS, AND TESTS

The Authority shall carry out surveillance, conduct inspections, and perform tests to ensure

the continuity of the eligibility of the PER holder.

PERSONNEL REQUIRED FOR COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

  • The RPAS operator must designate a Responsible Officer acceptable to the Authority, having the powers to ensure that all the necessary resources are available in support of operations appearing on the PER specifications.
    • The Accountable Manager must have qualified and competent staff, in sufficient number to carry out planned tasks and activities to be carried out per applicable requirements.
    • An RPAS operator must develop and implement an initial training program and a recurrent training program to ensure the maintenance of competence of its staff.
    • The remote pilot of an RPA system is responsible for the operation and safety of the aircraft during the flight. As with manned aircraft, the remote pilot may not handle the aircraft controls and occasionally supervise another remote pilot. The remote pilot could be supported by other crew members who have been assigned functions essential to using the RPA (e.g., payload operators, visual observers, launch system operators, and recovery, and mission planners). Crew members participating in the use of an RPA system must, during the flight, obey the instructions of the remote pilot.
    • People associated with the operation of the RPAS (visual observers, technicians maintenance, and payload operator) must be at least 18 years of age.

A VISUAL OBSERVER

  • No one shall exercise the functions of an RPAS Observer unless he has a document issued by the RPAS operator or by a training center certifying his competence to perform the tasks of RPA observer in VLOS flight.
  • A visual observer is an adequately trained crewmember assigned to perform collision avoidance related duties, for example, continuously monitoring the AP and airspace around the vehicle and far enough beyond it (looking for other aircraft, clouds, ‘obstacles, and relief). In VLOS operations, one or more visual observers will be required unless it can be demonstrated that the risks may be mitigated in another way.
  • The main task of the visual observer is to provide information to the remote pilot so that this money avoids dangers and any risk of collision with obstacles on the ground or with other aircraft. In addition, the visual observer must help the RPA remote pilot respect applicable PER conditions, such as flight visibility and ceiling cloud requirements, and ensure that the aircraft is in line of sight. He must be able to see the aircraft and the surrounding airspace during the entire flight. To carry out these tasks, the visual observer must be able to determine the relative altitude of the aircraft, the flight path, and proximity to all other aerial activities and hazards (e.g., terrain, weather conditions, weather, structures) sufficient to prevent the aircraft from creating a danger of collision.
  • A visual observer should only perform observation tasks for one RPA at a time. In addition, the visual observers must always communicate with the RPA remote pilot and quickly share information to avoid other aircraft if there is a possibility of conflict.
    • The use of visual observers in moving ground vehicles will not be approved to expand the area/scope of operation of an RPA system.
      • The following are the minimum requirements for visual observers:
      • Class 3 physical and mental fitness;
      • Working knowledge of the following: 
  • visual scanning techniques;
  • communication requirements between crew members;
  • hazardous weather conditions in flight;
  • the measures to be taken in the event of risk of collision;
  • the vertical and horizontal limits of the operation;
  • the class of airspace in which they intend to operate the aircraft,
  • including the vertical and horizontal limits of the airspace and the determination of adjacent classes of airspace;
  • the priority rules indicated in the PER;
  • the limitations of the RPA system;
  • Language skills The observer must demonstrate that he has an English language proficiency level equal to or greater than level 4.

A MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN

  • He must be trained in the maintenance of the RPA system.
  • An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (TMA) license is not required to use small RPAs in VLOS. The maintenance of an RPA, including the airworthiness of the aircraft, is the to the operator of the RPA.
  • Concerning the maintenance of all other RPAs (i.e., not small RPAs used in VLOS), additional knowledge, skills and competencies will be required and assessed case-by-case.

PAYLOAD OPERATOR

  • He must undergo training allowing him to understand the payloads of the RPA fully.
  • If a remote pilot has a dual role (e.g., if the RPA remote pilot is also the payload operator), the certificate applicant must address the risks inherent in the fact that the same person has two functions.
  • The functions of the payload operator shall not affect the handling of the aircraft or the RPA remote pilot’s workload.

REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO OTHER CREW MEMBERS

Launch and recovery systems support personnel and mission regulators/planners should be trained and deemed competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them by the RPA operator.

OPERATION MANUAL AND RECORDS

  • The operator shall develop and submit an operations manual following the requirements prescribed by the Authority.
  • Depending on the complexity of operating the RPA, the types of manuals and their content may vary. Types of records that RPA operators may need to maintain include including operating manuals, maintenance manuals, flight manuals of the RPA system (for each type of RPA used), aircraft checklists, etc.
  • The RPA operator must provide the checklists and brochures to enable the pilot to use the RPAS following their flight manual, operating manual, or a document equivalent.
  • RPA operators must maintain up-to-date records of their flight operations that include the following information:
    • flight records (location, date, times, crew, aircraft type, etc.);
    • total flight hours accumulated per aircraft (when the PER contains a condition regarding maintenance requirements);
    • the flight hours of the remote pilot (s) (day, month, year).

AUTHORIZATION FOR OPERATIONS FOR PROFIT

  • A person who satisfies paragraph 6.3.1.7 of this Regulation may start operations NOT for profit only after authorization.
  • The authorizations referred to in paragraph 6.4.1.9 (a) will be specific to particular operations.

CERTIFICATION OF PROFESSIONAL RPAS PILOTS

  • No person shall operate an RPAS of 25 kg or more unless they hold a valid RPAS pilot license issued or validated by the Authority per the applicable provisions.
  • An applicant for the RPAS pilot license referred to in the above paragraph must:
    • be over 18 years of age;
    • hold a class 3 medical fitness certificate
    • demonstrate that they have an equal level of English language proficiency or above level 4;
    • RPASs an initial test of aeronautical knowledge covering the areas specified in RACD 02 Aeronautical personnel licenses.
  • RPAS remote pilots must hold, where applicable, an appropriate type rating ‘operations they will perform, including:
    • type rating;
    • instrument rating; and
    • instructor qualification.

VALIDITY OF RPAS PILOT LICENSES

The RPAS pilot license is valid for twelve (12) months, subject to the validity of the holder’s medical certificate.

TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COMMERCIAL OPERATION OF RPAS

RPAS pilots must be trained following the approved training program by the Authority.

EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENT REQUIREMENTS

  • The instruments required for specific operations related to the operation of RPAS are in particular function:
    • the class and category of the RPAS;
    • the type of operation; and
    • special authorizations sought.

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

  • To establish safe aircraft operating procedures, PER applicants must complete the security risk assessment form.
  • Loss of link General
    • There are many acceptable ways to meet loss of power requirements. However, procedures related to loss of links must ensure that the aircraft’s flight path remains predictable and does not pose a risk to other air space users.
    • Procedures related to link loss in the PER request should include, if there is location, flight path and circuit points in the event of failure of a link, the use of transponder, communication procedures (with whom and when) and points ” planned flight interruption or other contingency planning measure in the event of the RPA recovery is not feasible.
    • The remote pilot must assess the risks associated with the particular circumstances of the loss of connection and establish when the automated recovery maneuvers or interruption of the flight will begin.
    • Suppose a link loss could result in a situation where the aircraft enters airspace controlled or an area with reporting requirements (i.e., regulated). In that case, the certificate applicant must provide the link loss plan to the ATS unit or the relevant air traffic control provider before carrying out the proposed operation.
  • Loss of link during an operation authorized in IFR
    • unless otherwise authorized, if an aircraft is operated under an authorization IFR, the link loss procedure must comply with the last ATC clearance during a period long enough so that the ATS unit is informed of the loss of liaison and can ensure conflict resolution;
    • Link loss procedures that depart from standard link loss procedures communication in IF must be coordinated beforehand with the ATS unit (s) relevant and included in the request of the PER as well as in the operations manual of the operator of the RPA;
    • Unless otherwise authorized, link loss procedures must:
  • limit the flight of the RPA to areas above water or sparsely populated to reach up to a predetermined point of loss of link in VLOS to reestablish the link;
  • avoid unpredictable U-turns and/or altitude changes;
  • avoid locating waiting points in the event of a loss of connection in a waiting area published, air route, or air route.
    • If the link is not reestablished within a predetermined period specified in the PER request, the RPA can:
  • perform an automatic landing;
  • travel to another lost link point to reestablish the C2 link;
  • proceed to a point where the flight is interrupted.
    • When multiple or concurrent RPA operations are planned in the same region, the certificate applicant must provide a separation plan in a simultaneous link loss. For example, the conflict elimination plan may include different altitudes and horizontal spacing ensured using independent link loss points.
  • Flight interruption
    • All RPA systems must have suitable system redundancies and an independent operation to ensure overall security and predictability.
    • To avoid a situation where the remotely piloted aircraft is adrift and protects other airspace users, RPA systems not having redundancies may require an independent flight interruption system that the RPA remote pilot can activate.
  • Emergency equipment requirements
    • The relevant crew member (s) must have access to emergency equipment, including a portable fire extinguisher of a type capable of extinguishing fires that are likely to occur

See general rules above.


Useful published information on flying drones in DR Congo

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in DR Congo…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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