In recent years, the use of drones has increased exponentially to film the natural beauty of any place at minimal cost and less time. Drone, technically known as Unmanned Aerial Device (UAV) is popular among the professional videographer, vlogger and amateur travelers. As a new device for filming, there are various bureaucratic hassles one should face when using it in different countries. In Nepal too, there are certain things you should keep in mind before flying your drones. This article gives you a detailed information about the laws regarding the use of drones in Nepal.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is responsible for the laws regarding the drones and any other aerial devices. Based on the information provided on their website (http://caanepal.gov.np/en/drone), here is the list of permissions you should get before flying drones.
A. For tourists:
If you are a tourist visiting Nepal, you should get the prior permission from the following government offices before flying your drones in Nepal.
1. Ministry of Home Affairs
2. Department of Tourism
Further, if the purpose of flying your drone is purely for researches like geology, archeology, anthropology of Nepal, you should also get the permissions from the related ministries and government agencies.
Once you have the permissions, following are the things you should keep in mind. For your easy understanding, I have chosen the QA model to present the regulations.
● Who can fly drones?
Answer: Only the proficient drone pilots having the adequate knowledge regarding the operations of the drone are allowed to fly it.
● Does the weight of my drone matter?
Answer: Yes, it does. If your drone has more than 2 kilograms (4.40 lbs), you need to get permission from CAAN to fly it.
● Can I fly drone anywhere I like after getting the above permissions?
Answer: No, you cannot. You still need to complete other paperwork too which I’ll answer later. However, there are certain off-limits even though you possess every document you need. For instance, you cannot fly drones over or within 150 meters (492 feet) of any crowded place, and an open assembly containing more than 1000 people. You are not allowed to use it within the airport and additionally, it will be deemed illegal if you fly it within 50 meters of any vehicle or a structure.
● Can I fly drone inside my private premise?
Answer: Yes, you can fly a drone below 2 kg inside your private compound.
● Who is responsible for the accidental damages caused by my drone?
Answer: In case of any harms caused to a person or any damages to buildings while operating your drone, a person operating it is deemed responsible for it and has to bear the consequences.
● What if I don’t get the above-mentioned permissions and still fly my drones in Nepal?
Answer: If you fly your drone without obtaining the above-mentioned permissions, it will be considered illegal and you will be subjected to criminal charges in accordance with the aviation laws of Nepal.
● Is there any verified government paper I can refer to regarding drones?
Answer: Yes, there are a couple of government-issued papers you can refer to. They are:
a. “Flight Operations Directive No. 7, May 2015”, by CAAN.
b. “Procedure for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flying” by the ministry of home affairs.
● How high can I fly my drone?
Answer: You can fly drones only up to a height of 120 meters (394 feet)
● How far can I fly my drone?
Answer: You can fly your drone no further than 500 meters (1640 feet).
• What is the general process to fly a drone in a particular place?
Answer: First of all, you have to take a permission from the local municipality if you are planning to fly your drone at that place. Once, municipality grants you “no-objection letter”, visit the office of Chief District Officer (CDO) who will grant you a recommendation letter after verifying municipality letter. Then you should visit police headquarter of the district to obtain security clearance letter. Finally, you can apply to CAAN submitting the letters you have obtained so far.
• How long will this process take?
Answer: Typically, given the facility of a private vehicle, you can complete this process within three days.
• How much do I have to pay during all this process?
Answer: Applying for drone flying is free of cost, so you do not have to worry about the official costs. However, you have to bear the expenses of traveling there and of the security personnel, if you are offered any.
• Is there anything else I should keep in mind?
Answer: I have answered almost every rules and regulation you should follow, however, keep in mind to fly the drone within your sight and strictly follow the rules to avoid hefty penalties and possible charges.
I hope I have answered all your questions regarding the things you should remember while flying drones in Nepal. Wish you happy droning.