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CAAM issues reminder to drone pilots to apply for flying permits. Here’s what you need to know

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has issued a reminder to drone pilots in Malaysia to apply for authorisation from CAAM. The reminder was shared on CAAM’s Facebook page, and it follows a similar reminder back in March 2020 that all drone operators require authorisation from the authority before flying/operating drones.

According to the FAQ section on CAAM’s official website, there are three categories of unmanned aircraft system (UAS)/drones:

(a) small unmanned aircraft system
– unmanned aircraft system, other than a balloon or a kite, having a mass of not more than 20 kilogrammes without its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight

(b) small unmanned surveillance aircraft
– a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition

(c) unmanned aircraft system of more than 20kg

As per the Malaysia Civil Aviation Regulation (MCAR) 2016 Regulation 140–144 and Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 04/2008, the CAAM has also confirmed that authorisation is required to fly drones under the “small unmanned surveillance category” in the following circumstances:

(a) over any designated area
– any area which is used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes
(b) within 150 metres of any designated area
(c) over any assembly in the open air of more than 1,000 persons
(d) within 150 metres of any assembly in the open air of more than 1,000 persons
(e) within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft
(f) within 50 metres of any person
(g) within 30 metres of any person during take-off or landing

How to apply for authorisation

To apply, head over to CAAM’s website to download the application form. Fill out all of the details, such as your drone’s specifications and pilot details, and attach the required documents along with the form. Then, submit your application to [email protected].

You’ll need to submit the application at least 14 days before your proposed flight/activity, while you’ll be required to make a payment of RM1,000 for unmanned aircraft systems of more than 20kg, and RM250 for drones below 20kg.

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It’s also worth noting that only drones that weigh more than 20kg are required to be registered with the CAAM, while individuals who infringe the regulations are subject to fines not exceeding RM50,000 or jail time not exceeding three years, or both. Corporations who infringe on the regulations are subject to fines not exceeding RM100,000.

The above is governed by Regulation 140-144 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016, which you can read in full here. To find out more, head over to CAAM’s website here.

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