The use of drones in Barbados has not escaped attention and is being monitored by the relevant authorities.
According to Director of Civil Aviation, Mr. Kingsley Nelson, the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, as they are referred to, present some security, privacy and safety concerns.
However, there are safety and security guidelines which currently exist to regulate the use of such vehicles and to which persons should adhere, he stated.
Noting that the drones were becoming increasingly available, Mr. Nelson stated that guidelines and processes for importation and use of these unmanned aerial vehicles were currently being reviewed by the agencies responsible.
The Division of Defence and Security, Prime Minister???s Office, The Barbados Civil Aviation Department, Barbados Defence Force, Royal Barbados Police Force, Telecommunications Division and Customs and Excise Department are among several government agencies examining the issues posed by the use of these vehicles.
Explaining that there were several no-fly areas, as persons are constantly reminded, especially around Easter with the flying of kites, the Civil Aviation Director pointed out that the flying of drones in no-fly areas by their operators could pose potentially severe security and safety threats.
Currently, the Civil Aviation Department restricts recreational flying of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to four designated areas: Dash Valley, St George; College Savannah, St John; Sterling and Marley Vale, St Philip. All persons/entities, whether recreational or commercial, operating in breach of the above may be subjected to criminal prosecution.
Persons wishing to operate UAVs outside of the designated areas or on a commercial basis are required to make an application to the Permanent Secretary, Defence and Security, Prime Minister???s Office.
Operators of all Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) are also required to be in possession of a valid telecommunications radio-controlled licence; maintain visual contact ???Visual Line of Sight” with the RPAS at all times; maintain a safe distance from all obstacles including buildings; operate at a height less than 400ft above ground level; and comply with any provisions and conditions issued by the appropriate authorities.