It is the full responsibility of the remote pilot of the RPAS to fly his/her aircraft safely and not endanger the safety of another aircraft, any person or property.
The operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is regulated in terms of the South African Civil Aviation (SACAA) Regulations.
Note that the Director of Civil Aviation has designated an external organisation to oversee the operations of recreational aviation. For more information on the operation of model aircraft, please contact the South African Model Aircraft Association (SAAMA).
Information accurately updated on 27/01/2018.
Limitations & restrictions
Private operations of RPAs shall be conducted
- only in R-VLOS
- with a Class 1A or 1B RPA (may not weigh more than 7 kg; have an impact energy* of less than 15 kJ)
Do not fly an RPA
- near manned aircraft
- 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad or airfield)
- in controlled, restricted or prohibited areas
Do not fly an RPA 50 m or closer from
- any person or group of persons (like sports fields, road races, stadiums, schools, social events, etc.)
- a public road
- any property without permission from the property owner
Only fly an RPA in daylight and clear weather conditions
For private use
- the RPAs may only be used for an individual’s personal and private purposes where there is no commercial outcome, interest or gain
- the pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities
For all other use
- all RPAs must be registered and may only be operated in terms of Part 101 of the SACAA Regulations
Dangers of negligent operation
- Collision with other aircraft, with possible fatal results
- Injury to the public
- Damage to people’s property
- Legal liability for breaking laws such as privacy by-laws and other laws enforceable by other authorities
Dos & Don’ts
- Do Fly/operate an RPA, or toy aircraft in a safe manner, at all times
- RPAs or toy aircraft should remain within the visual line of sight at all times
- Fly/operate RPA in daylight and clear weather conditions
- Inspect your aircraft before each flight
- Do not, through act or omission, endanger the safety of another aircraft or person therein or any person or property through negligent flying/operation of an RPA, or toy aircraft.
- Do not fly/operate an RPA, or toy aircraft 50 m or closer from:
- Any person or group of persons (like sports field, road races, schools, social events, etc.)
- Any property without permission from the property owner
- Unless approved by the SACAA, do not fly/operate an RPA or toy aircraft:
- Near manned aircraft
- 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad, airfield)
- Weighing more than 7 kg
- In controlled airspace
- In restricted airspace
- In prohibited airspace
- Do not fly/operate an RPA, or toy aircraft higher than 45 m (150 ft) from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACAA.