Drone users would face stricter rules and restrictions on flying the unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Hong Kong under new regulations recently put out for public consultation.
The proposals, developed by consultants for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD), would require people with drones heavier than 250g to register with an online government database government and obtain third party insurance, to ensure “accountability” and “safety.”
People flying UAVs weighing between 250g and 7kg would have to take a “short web-based training” course, while operating drones heavier 7kg would require in-depth training and need to get certification from the CAV.
The consultants also proposed drafting an official map to specify no-fly zones for drones and suggest many of the rules could be implemented within two years.
Developed last year, the proposals follow growing calls to regulate drones, which aren’t specifically covered under civil aviation legislation and, thus, are classed as “aircraft.”
Presently, only an “aircraft” weighing over 7kg (not including fuel) must be registered with the CAD.
The current legislation also states that a person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.
Under the proposals — which will be subject to public consultation for three months — drones operations will be split into “risk categories,” each with restrictions on use.
Though they wouldn’t require registration, small drones — those less than 250g — could only fly during the day, go no higher than 100 feet and no faster than 40km/h, not come within 10 meters of a building or person, and must stay within 50m of the operator and always remain within line of sight.
Bigger drones heavier than 250g, would also be restricted to daytime flying and not be allowed to fly higher than 300 feet in hight and faster than 80km/h. This category would also have to stay at least 50 meters from people and buildings, fly no further than 500 meters from their operator and must also remain within a line of sight.
Concerns about drones have centered on both safety issues and fears over privacy.
In December, a lawmaker called for tougher legislation covering UAVs pointing out that drone operators could technically watch people having a bath and not be breaking the law, so long as they didn’t record the footage.
In the same month, a man was arrested for flying a drone over the track during the Formula E race in Hong Kong.