Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Mauritius
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Mauritius
The Mauritius agency responsible for drone safety, DCA, has provided a number of details on flying a drone for fun or for work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in Mauritius?
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Mauritius:
- Although the regulations listed below do not apply to drones weighing less than 7 kilograms (15.5 pounds) and used solely for recreational purposes, the DCA recommends that all drone operations adhere to these guidelines.
- Before each drone flight, Permission must be obtained from the DCA. Permission is not free, and the fee amount is subject to change based on the specifics of the proposed drone operation.
- Drones are not permitted to be used to drop any object or animal.
- Drone flights are prohibited unless the operator has a reasonable belief that the flight can be conducted safely.
- Visual contact between the operator and the drone must be maintained. Additionally, the operator must keep an eye on the drone’s flight path and ensure that it is clear to other aircraft, people, vehicles, vessels, and structures.
- Vertically, do not exceed 120 meters (400 feet).
- Avoid flying over densely populated areas or within 150 meters (492 feet) of any densely populated area.
- Avoid flying over or within 150 meters (492 feet) of any open-air gathering of more than 500 people.
- Fly no closer than 50 meters (164 feet) to any vessel, vehicle, or structure not under the operator’s control.
- Avoid flying within 50 meters (164 feet) of a person, except for landing and takeoff.
- Drone operators must exercise caution not to infringe on private property rights.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Mauritius
Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Mauritius
Anyone who wants to fly a drone for commercial work (generally referred to as aerial work) needs Permission from the DCA. In addition, you will need to be at least 18 years of age.
How to get Permission to fly a drone commercially in Mauritius?
To get this Permission, you will need to:
- demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law, and good flying practice)
- pass a practical flight assessment (flight test)
- develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual. An operations manual template is available on the DCA website
Several recognized assessment organizations in Reunion, Africa, and Europe can help you meet these requirements. The assessment center will generally help you develop an operations manual and offer advice on completing additional paperwork.
Once you meet the requirements, you can apply to operate an RPA using the ‘DCA RPA Application form.’
A Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW) is valid for up to 36 months and is subject to renewal.
You should apply to renew your PFAW at least 30 days before the Permission period is due to expire.
If you want to start using a different weight class of drone that is not approved by your PFAW, you will need to contact the DCA immediately and not wait until the PFAW expires.
The PFAW allows flights within Mauritius subject to the conditions and limitations specified. However, the greater the amount of ‘freedom of operation’ that you require (in terms of locations, procedures, and the duration of the Permission), then the greater the amount of information you need to provide us (in terms of demonstrating that you can operate safely).
The price for Permission depends on the proposed operation of the aircraft.
There are specific additional steps that must be taken if a drone is being flown for ‘aerial work.’
You must have Permission issued by the DCA before you conduct any aerial work with your drone.
How much does it cost:
The current charge is Rs 10,000, but there is no limit on the maximum number of drones.
The renewal cost is the same for three years.
If you want to use a small unmanned aircraft or drone outside of the operating limits set out in the Air Navigation Order, then you will need Permission from the DCA, even if your activity is non-commercial. This could include flying a device over a congested area or within 50m of a building.
Applications for this type of Permission are considered on a case-by-case basis.
An adequate level of insurance will need to be obtained by an operator before Permission is granted.
Applicants should discuss these requirements directly with insurance providers to ensure that adequate third-party liability is provided to cover the intended scope of your operation.
Obtaining approval from the Information & Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA)
You must obtain the appropriate approval from the ICTA to operate your wireless RPA. Contact details are available on their website: https://www.icta.mu/radiocommunication/radioview.htm
Making of Films, commercials, documentaries
Prior to using your RPA for the above purposes, you need to have the appropriate authorization from the Mauritius Film Development Corporation.
Details are available on their website: http://www.mauritiusfilm.mu/English/Rules-Regulations- Policies/Pages/default.aspx
Note for Foreign Operators
The DCA will on occasion be able to grant temporary permission for aerial work to a commercial drone operator.
This will depend on the evidence of ‘pilot competency’ that the applicant is able to provide and the location(s) where the filming is to take place.
Each application is considered on its own merits.
Applications should be made on the standard DCA RPA Application form and information should also be supplied about the scope of the operation and where and when it will take place
.In the majority of cases, only the ‘standard’ DCA permission is granted and this favors aircraft weighing no more than 7kg (15 lbs). Any aircraft weighing more than 20kg (44 lbs) are subject to a more involved process and are more difficult to approve.
All applications should be made as far in advance as possible.
Useful published information on flying drones in Mauritius
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Mauritius…
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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