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Drone operators under strict rules from JCAA

Published:Thursday | April 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A Phantom 2 Vision+ drone takes flight.

A rapid increase in the number of unmanned aerial vehicle operators in Jamaica has prompted the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) to issue a public awareness notice.

Guidelines of Flight Safety Notification FSN-GN-2015-01 R1 were published in The Gleaner on April 20, 2016 and served to inform of the parameters required by persons who operate unmanned aerial vehicles, more popularly referred to as drones.

Based on a document on the JCAA's website, both hobbyists and professional operators of drones, are being asked to adhere to these guidelines developed from the Civil Aviation Act 1966 (Jamaica), The Civil Aviation Regulations 2012 (Jamaica), ICAO Annex 2 and ICAO Document CIR 328/AN/190.

The guidelines apply to persons who operate model aircrafts and drones for recreational purposes and those who operate for non-recreational purposes, including business-related activities such as, but not limited to, aerial photography, surveillance, geometric surveys, power line inspections, crop observations, and research and development activities.


Special Aerial Work Permits


Drone operators are now required to apply for special aerial work permits, which are granted by the JCAA subject to the operators meeting specific standards. The document also dictates that all commercial operators must apply for this permit before each flight, providing all the details of the intended operation. Operators are being instructed to not fly the aircraft until permission has been received from the authority.

The Jamaican Civil Aviation Regulations describe several criminal offences involving the dangerous operations of aircrafts, and that committing such offences may be punishable by imprisonment or fines.

More details regarding the regulation of drones can be found at: