Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Laos
The Laotian agency responsible for drone safety, DCA, has provided several details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in Laos?
According to DCA, drone use is allowed in Laos, subject to DCA regulations. Read on for more details.
Laos classifies Drones into three categories under regulations:
- Micro Drones with a maximum weight of 100 grams (can be flown for fun without permission)
- Small Drones that weigh more than 100 grams but less than 100 kilograms
- Large Drones weighing more than 100 kilograms
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Laos
- Before flying a drone weighing more than 200 grams (0.44 pounds), you must obtain permission from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
- All Drone weights over 1 kilogram should be registered with Lao DCA.
- The operator must not operate a drone to be a hazard to another aircraft in flight.
- You must not operate a drone over an assembly of people (e.g., concerts, sporting events, parades) unless it is approved by the organizations holding that event, and the flights are made following appropriate regulations
- Do not operate a drone farther than 300 meters.
- You must not operate a drone within 30 meters of any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure, not under your direct control;
- Do not operate a drone closer than 5 kilometers from any aerodromes unless Lao DCA approves it;
- You must not operate a drone negligently or recklessly to endanger the life or property of others;
- Do not operate a drone over 400 ft (120 m) above ground level;
- The operator must not fly a drone over urban areas such as villages, towns, and cities unless Lao DCA approves it;
- Do not operate a drone in civil or military-controlled airspace (e.g., airspace surrounding airports) unless the concerned organization approves it;
- You must not use a drone in restricted areas (e.g., military installations or prisons) unless the concerned organization approves it;
- Operators must not control a drone into/land/take-off in another person’s private areas unless it is allowed by the landowner for take-off and landing;
- Do not fly a drone outside of the controller’s direct line of sight.
- Do not operate a drone without a valid Insurance Cover to the third party for the injury, damage, property, or loss of life.
- You must not operate an uncrewed aircraft or other unmanned aerial activities in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, another person, or property.
- Do not drop anything from your drone
- You may operate over a prohibited area or in or over a restricted area, only with the permission of, and following any conditions imposed by, the organization controlling the area. For prohibited areas, you will need the approval of the Secretary to the Department of Defense. For restricted areas, you will need the permission of the organization mentioned in the AIP.
- Note: Details of prohibited or restricted areas are published in the AIP or a NOTAM.
Information required by LAO DCA or ATC for registering a drone in Laos
In all cases:
(a) the name, address, and telephone number of the person who will operate the aircraft or (if the aircraft concerned is an unmanned free balloon) release the balloon/helium balloons (or, if several people will be involved, the name, address, and telephone number of the person who will coordinate the operation); and
(b) the date and time the operation or release is to begin and how long it is to last; and
(c) where it is to be carried out; and
(d) if more than one unmanned aircraft is to be operated at a time, how many unmanned aircraft are to be used at that time.
After registering, you must notify the department of the locations you intend to fly before operating the aircraft.
Types of UA Permits
Lao DCA grants an Operator Permit to an applicant if the applicant can ensure safe operation of UA, taking into account the applicant’s organizational set-up, competency of the personnel, especially those flying the UA, procedures to manage safety, including the conduct of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each of the aircraft. The permit is valid for up to one year.
An Activity Permit is granted by Lao DCA to an applicant for a single activity or a block of repeated activities to be carried out by a UA at a specific area of operation and which are of specific operational profiles and conditions.
There are two types of activity permits:
- A Class 1 Activity Permit is required for UA activities conducted for purposes that are not recreational or research in nature, or if the UA to be used is over 7kg in total mass (including payload). A Class 1 Activity Permit is not valid without a UA Operator Permit.
- A Class 2 Activity Permit is required for UA activities conducted for recreational or research purposes and which meets any of the following conditions:
- Operating altitude higher than 200 ft (approx. 60 m) above ground level (AGL);
- Within 5 km of a civil/military aerodrome, controlled airspace; or
- Within any Restricted Area, Danger Area, or Protected Area
Besides Lao DCA, there are other permits required from various agencies for certain aspects of the unmanned aircraft operation that come under their purview. This includes:
- Ministry of National Defense for aerial photography and/or overflight of security-sensitive locations
- Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MPT) for the use of radio frequencies and power.
- Clearance for Manufacturing, Assembling, Importing, Exporting, Selling from appropriate governmental organizations.
Notes for Foreign Operators
Anyone found importing, producing, selling, or flying drones weighing more than 200 grams without the appropriate permission will face a fine of one million kips (£90/ $120) per drone.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Laos
See general rules above.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Laos
See general rules above.
Useful published information on flying drones in Laos
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Laos…
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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