Drone Crew becomes first fully licensed UAV operator in the film industry in SA


Drone Crew has received its Remote Operator Certificate (ROC) from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), making it the first fully licensed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator in the South African film industry.

The receipt of the certificate on 23 October makes it the third fully licensed operator overall in South Africa (the others being in anti-rhino poaching and mining sectors).
“We would like to thank all involved at SACAA and DOT [Department of Transport] for processing our application in a professional manner, and our entire team of experts for their hard work and commitment to the process, as well as all those who have supported us and cheered us on along the way. This is a great milestone for us, and we look forward to leading the way in providing a safe and reliable service in this specialised part of the film industry,” Drone Crew said.

Drone Crew specialises in high end drone filming services for the film industry. Flying cameras such as the RED Dragon/Epic/Scarlet or the Arri Alexa Mini, to capture low level aerial footage.
“Considerable extra effort was needed to get approvals for what are considered higher risk operations, but we felt it worthwhile to achieve these approvals to be able to deliver on common requirements for drone operations on film sets,” Drone Crew said.
“We are very glad to say that in addition to normal operations as defined by part 101 RPAS regulations, we also have approval for operations in close proximity to people, operations at night, operations in controlled airspace (near airports), operations in restricted and prohibited airspace, operations near buildings and public roads. All these additional approved operations will be conducted according to our approved operations manual, and within agreed parameters.”

In May 2015 SACAA Director Poppy Khoza announced that the commercial use of UAVs would be regulated from 1 July 2015.

In the first two months since South Africa’s new UAV regulations were instituted the SACAA registered 118 UAVs, issued 10 remote pilot licences and received 10 applications for UAV training organisations.

In September, Gauteng-based ProWings Training became the first flying school in South Africa to be approved by the SACAA as a commercial UAV training organisation.

Earlier this month aerial data solutions provider RocketMine became the first commercial unmanned aerial vehicle operator to be given approval to operate in the mining sector by the SACAA.

The first UAV pilot’s license was issued to Nicole Swart on 10 July, making her the first person to receive such a licence in South Africa, the continent, and most parts of the world as many countries are still striving to come up with regulations to administer UAVs.

South Africa is one of a handful of countries around the world to have introduced comprehensive regulations to guide UAV operations.