Article updated on 02/03/2020

It is the full responsibility of the remote pilot of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to fly his/her aircraft safely and not endanger the safety of another aircraft, any person or property. The remote pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities. For private use, you must familiarise yourself with and adhere to the SACAA’s RPAS Part 101 Regulations.

Operation for private use

  • Acceptable operation 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
  • Negligent operation:
    • collision with other aircraft, with possibly 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

Limitations and restrictions of private use

  • Private operations of RPAS shall be conducted:
    • only in R-VLOS 
    • with a Class 1A or 1B RPAS (may not weigh more than 7kg; have an impact energy* of less than 15kJ) 
  • Do not fly an RPAS:
    • near manned aircraft
    • 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad or airfield)
    • in controlled, restricted or prohibited areas
  • Do not fly an RPAS 50m 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 RPAS in daylight and clear weather conditions.

Dos & don’ts for private use

  • Do fly/operate an RPAS, 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 RPAS 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 50m or closer from:
    • Any person or group of persons (like sport 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 7kg
    • In controlled airspace
    • In restricted airspace
    • In prohibited airspace
  • Do not fly/operate an RPA, or toy aircraft higher than 45m (150ft) from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACAA.

The operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) is regulated in terms of the South African Civil Aviation (SACAA) Regulations.

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