Drone Laws in Sierra Leone

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA)

Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Regulations Part 6D – Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone agency responsible for drone safety, SLCAA, 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 Sierra Leone?

According to SLCAA, drones are allowed in Sierra Leone, subject to SLCAA regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Sierra Leone:

Unmanned Aircraft Registration and Certificate of Registration

Every person lawfully entitled to the possession of a UA who will operate a UA in Sierra Leone shall register that UA and hold a valid certificate of registration for that aircraft from:

  1. the Authority in compliance with SLCA Part 7 (Aircraft Registration and Marking);
  2. the appropriate aeronautical authority of a contracting State of ICAO; or
  3. the appropriate aeronautical authority of another State that is party to an agreement with theGovernment of Sierra Leone which provides for the acceptance of each other’s registrations.

Standard Unmanned Aircraft Operating Conditions

A UA is operated in standard unmanned aircraft operating conditions if, during the operation:

  • the UA is operated within the visual line-of-sight of the person operating the UA; and
  • the UA is operated at or below 120 m (400 ft) above ground level (AGL) by day; and
  • the UA is not operated within 30 m of a person, measured horizontally, who is not directly associated with the operation of the UA; and

The UA is not operated:

  • in a prohibited area; or
  • in a restricted area; or
  • over a populated area; or
  • within 4 km of the movement area of a controlled aerodrome; and

The UA is not operated over an area where a fire, police, or other public safety or emergency operation is being conducted without the approval of a person in charge of the operation; and

The person operating the UA operates only that UA.

You must apply to the Authority for the approval of an area as an area for the operation of your UA.

You must not operate a UA within segregated airspace unless you have the approval to do so from the administering authority responsible for the segregated airspace area.

You shall not operate a UA in controlled airspace without authorization from the ATC unit responsible for that airspace.

You must ensure that before each flight, the drone operator is aware of the airspace designation and any applicable airspace restrictions in place in the area of intended operation.

The person operating a UA shall take all practicable steps to minimize hazards to persons, property, and other aircraft.

The UAV operator shall not allow any object to be dropped in flight if such action creates a hazard to other persons or property.

The UA operator shall, unless operating in segregated airspace, not operate:

  1. in airspace within 30 m, measured horizontally, of a person who has not given consent for the UA to operate over them;
  2. above property unless prior consent has been obtained from any persons occupying that property or the property owner;
  3. maintain observation of the surrounding airspace in which the aircraft is operating for other aircraft; and
  4. not operate the UA at any height above 120 m (400 ft) AGL except when authorized (notify air navigation and receive NOTAM)

The UAV must be operated within a visual line of sight or using direct communications with a UA observer that maintains VLOS.

Do not operate in clouds. at night, or conditions other than visual meteorological conditions (VMC).

Remain clear of and give the right of way to all crewed aircraft.

Do not operate over people unless they are part of the operations.

Do not operate from a moving vehicle.

Do not fly closer than 30m horizontally from people not part of the operations unless you have their permission.

UA must not exceed 25kg gross mass.

Do not operate a drone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

No pilot certification is required for operations unless flights are conducted on or within 4 km of an aerodrome. Flights within 4 km of an aerodrome require knowledge of the use of aeronautical charts and airspace.

Non-Standard Unmanned Aircraft Operating Conditions

You will need authorization if your operations do not meet the standard conditions above.

You will require a remote pilot license.

You must apply with SLCAA and pay a fee to receive UAS authorization and UAS Operator Certificate.

Application for UAS Authorization or Operator Certificate

An application shall include:

  • the name and address for service in Sierra Leone of the applicant;
  • the details of the operation for the UAS authorization or UOC;
  • the application; and 
  • any other information relating to the application as may be required by the Authority.

The application shall address the following matters, having regard to the nature, degree, and risk of the intended operation:

  1. the identification of a person who will have primary responsibility for the operation;
  2. the identification of any person who is to have or is likely to have control over the exercise of the privileges under the certificate;
  3. details of the physical locations to be used in the operation;
  4. an operational risk assessment that identifies the known and likely hazards to people, property and other aircraft of the proposed operation;
  5. includes a description of the measures that will be implemented to mitigate or manage the risk;
  6. procedures for reporting information to the Authority including incidents and accidents;
  7. operating requirements for personnel licensing, qualifications, training and competency including remote pilot and remote flight crew qualifications, training or medical requirements;
  8. details of the number and specifications of the aircraft to be used, including anyidentification system used on the aircraft (for example color schemes, unique identification numbers, markings);
  9. details of the control system to be used to pilot the aircraft;
  10. procedures for the maintenance of aircraft and measures to ensure continued airworthiness;
  11. inflight procedures, including minimum distances from persons or property;
  12. procedures for handling cargo, including dangerous goods, or dropping items, if such operations are intended;
  13. the manufacturer’s Declaration of Compliance or approval from an AAO;
  14. procedures for controlling, amending and distributing the application; and
  15. any other approvals that are required to conduct the proposed operation.

Note for Foreign Operators

If you’re traveling to Sierra Leone and want to bring your drone, SLCAA lists these special considerations for foreigners who wish to fly drones:

  • You must obtain an import license from SLCAA before entering the country with your drone.
  • You must obtain a letter of Approval from SLCAA to fly a drone for any purpose in Sierra Leone.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Sierra Leone

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.

Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Sierra Leone

See general rules above

Useful published information on flying drones in Sierra Leone

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

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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The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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