Drone Laws in Uganda

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Uganda

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

UGANDA CIVIL AVIATION (REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS) REGULATIONS, 2020


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Uganda

The Ugandan agency responsible for drone safety, CAA, has not codified drone use regulations in Uganda. Go to the link above to check for recent updates.

Are drones allowed in Uganda?

According to CAA, Drone operations are allowed in Uganda but essentially limited to Ugandans, and subject to CAA regulations. Read on for more details.

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

Categorization of RPAS operations.

RPAS operations shall be categorized based on the risk posed by the type of operations as follows—

  1. category A operations; referred to as basic operations which pose a low or minimal risk to the public, property and manned aviation;
  2. category B operations; referred to as specific operations which pose a medium risk to the public, property and manned aviation; and
  3. category C operations; referred to as complex, commercial or certified operation which pose a high risk to safety of individuals, property and manned aviation.

Eligibility to own an RPAS in Uganda.

You shall not be eligible to own an RPAS unless that you are—

  1. a citizen of or resident in Uganda and of a minimum age of eighteen years;
  2. a company registered in Uganda; or
  3. the Government of the Republic of Uganda.

You cannot transfer ownership of an RPAS without the prior approval of the CAA.

Only the Government of the Republic of Uganda, shall not own, register or operate an RPAS with military specifications.

Import to or export from Uganda of RPAS.

You must not import an RPAS or a component of an RPAS without a permit issued by the Authority.

The CAA will require you to seek and obtain the necessary security clearance and approval from the Office of Chief of Defence Forces.

If you intend to export a Ugandan registered RPAS you must notify the Authority in writing, and obtain a deregistration certificate.

Application for registration of RPAS.

An application for registration of an RPAS shall be made to the Authority using the Schedule 3 Form found in the linked drone regulation.

Pay the fees prescribed by the CAA.

The owner of a remotely piloted aircraft must apply.

The application for registration of RPAS must include evidence of ownership, for instance, a bill of sale.

You must not operate an RPA within the jurisdiction of Uganda unless the RPA has been registered by the CAA, and a certificate of registration for the RPA has been issued.

Remote Pilot licence

You cannot act as a remote pilot in command or as a remote co-pilot of an RPA unless you have a remote pilot licence issued by the Authority.

Category A: Basic operations (low risk)

  1. RPAS must be operated within Visual Line Of Site (VLOS), and
  2. At a maximum height of 400 feet above ground level, and
  3. 50 meters lateral distance from any persons, building or object not associated with the operations.
  4. All operations under this category shall be approved or authorized by the Authority, and such operations shall only be conducted within VLOS.
  5. RPAS operated in this category shall not be more than 25kg maximum take-off mass together with associated payloads.
  6. Operations mentioned under this paragraph shall be conducted within segregated airspaces and away from any notified prohibited, restricted or danger areas unless expressly authorised by the Authority.
  7. RPAS operators in Category A shall hold a certificate issued by the Authority permitting them to conduct operations.

Category B: Specific operations (medium risk)

  1. RPAS operations in this category shall be operated within VLOS, including extended visual line of site at all time and heights above ground and distances from any persons, buildings or objects not associated with the operations as may be determined by the Authority.
  2. All operations under Category B shall be approved or authorised by the Authority.
  3. RPAS operated under Category B may be operated in non- segregated airspaces but away from controlled airspaces and shall have all equipments necessary to ensure safe and secure operations.
  4. Operations in category B shall be conducted away from any notified prohibited, restricted or danger areas, unless expressly authorised by the Authority.
  5. Personnel operating RPAS in Category B shall hold a valid licence issued by the Authority.

Category C: Complex, commercial or certified operations (high risk or manned aviation approach)

  1. RPAS operations in this category shall be conducted in any airspaces not classified as prohibited, restricted or dangerous, and shall be subject to ATC instructions and guidance and at heights and lateral distances from any persons, buildings or objects as prescribed in the Civil Aviation (Rules of the Air) Regulations, 2020.
  2. All operations under this category shall be approved or authorised by the Authority.
  3. RPAS operations in this category may be conducted BVLOS provided that the RPA has the required capabilities and is fitted with the appropriate equipment and the pilot is suitably qualified and has the appropriate ratings for such an operation.
  4. RPAS in operated in Category C shall be issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Authority, based on the type certificate issued by the State of design or manufacture.
  5. Personnel operating RPAS in this category shall HOLD a valid licence issued by the Authority and endorsed with the appropriate ratings for the type of RPAS

Basic UAS operating limitations.

Every remote pilot shall comply with all operating limitations when operating a UAS under the Basic Classification of RPAS operations as follows—

  • the airspeed of the UAS shall not exceed 87 knots (100 miles per hour) calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight;
  • the maximum take-off weight of a RPAS under the basic classification shall be 25kg;
  • a RPAS shall not be operated at a height above 400 feet (120 meters) Above Ground Level (AGL) and a lateral distance of 100 m away from any person, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the RPAS, except where approved by the Authority.
  • the lateral distance between the unmanned aircraft system and the remote pilot shall be in such a way that the remote pilot will maintain continuous visual contact with the unmanned aircraft system;
  • the unmanned aircraft system shall not be flown over or within any congested area of a city, town or settlement, unless approved by the Authority;
  • the minimum flight visibility, as observed from the location of the ground control station must be no less than 3 statute miles (5 kilometers); and
  • the minimum distance of the unmanned aircraft system from the clouds must be no less than—
    1. (i)  500 feet (150 meters) below the cloud; and
    2. (ii)  2,000 feet (600 meters) horizontally away from the cloud.
  • A RPA shall not be launched or recovered from any public or private property without consent.
  • A pilot or owner of a remotely piloted aircraft shall, before starting operations, seek the permission of the appropriate authorities, and inform the community within the area of operation.
  • Any person conducting operations using a RPA fitted with cameras shall operate in a responsible way that ensures respect of privacy of other persons.
  • A RPAS pilot or observer shall not commence the duty period while under the influence of alcohol or any psychoactive substance having a narcotic effect.
  • A remote pilot shall ensure that the RPA does not pose undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of loss of control of the RPA for any reason.
  • A remote pilot shall—
    • maintain awareness in order to see and avoid other aircraft and vehicles; and
    • yield right-of-way to all aircraft and vehicles.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Uganda

Category A: Basic operations (low risk)

  1. RPAS must be operated within Visual Line Of Site (VLOS), and
  2. At a maximum height of 400 feet above ground level, and
  3. 50 meters lateral distance from any persons, building or object not associated with the operations.
  4. All operations under this category shall be approved or authorized by the Authority, and such operations shall only be conducted within VLOS.
  5. RPAS operated in this category shall not be more than 25kg maximum take-off mass together with associated payloads.
  6. Operations mentioned under this paragraph shall be conducted within segregated airspaces and away from any notified prohibited, restricted or danger areas unless expressly authorised by the Authority.
  7. RPAS operators in Category A shall hold a certificate issued by the Authority permitting them to conduct operations.

See general rules above.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Uganda

Any person who intends to conduct commercial RPAS operations shall seek authorisation from the Authority prior to conducting any operations.

Category C: Complex, commercial or certified operations (high risk or manned aviation approach)

  1. RPAS operations in this category shall be conducted in any airspaces not classified as prohibited, restricted or dangerous, and shall be subject to ATC instructions and guidance and at heights and lateral distances from any persons, buildings or objects as prescribed in the Civil Aviation (Rules of the Air) Regulations, 2020.
  2. All operations under this category shall be approved or authorised by the Authority.
  3. RPAS operations in this category may be conducted BVLOS provided that the RPA has the required capabilities and is fitted with the appropriate equipment and the pilot is suitably qualified and has the appropriate ratings for such an operation.
  4. RPAS in operated in Category C shall be issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Authority, based on the type certificate issued by the State of design or manufacture.
  5. Personnel operating RPAS in this category shall HOLD a valid licence issued by the Authority and endorsed with the appropriate ratings for the type of RPAS

See general rules above.


Useful published information on flying drones in Uganda

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

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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IMPORTANT NOTE

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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