Most drone operators fully aware of restrictions around Changi Airport, say hobbyists

Most drone operators fully aware of restrictions around Changi Airport, say hobbyists

People who flout the regulations as “black sheep” who do not represent the larger community, says the drone flying community.

Man in Singapore operates drone
File photo: A man operates a remote control drone at an open car park in Singapore on Apr 5, 2016. (Photo: AFP/ ROSLAN RAHMAN)

SINGAPORE: Most drone operators in Singapore are aware of no-fly zone regulations at Changi Airport, said members of the drone flying community in the wake of recent drone sightings around the airport.

Thirty-eight flights were affected earlier this week when the airport was forced to temporarily shut one runway.

Members of the drone flying community told CNA that there are continued efforts to educate new hobbyists, and that people who flout regulations are not part of such interest groups.

“For most of the members flying DJI drones, (the regulations) tend to be the first few things they learn,” Farhan Tahir, administrator of Facebook group Universal Drones – Singapore, said on Thursday (Jun 20).

“Whenever we host our Flymeets, the new faces or the member of the public tends to ask our members on the locations they can or cannot fly. And we do have members asking from time to time on the Facebook group asking for the same advice.”

Shops selling drones do their part to educate people as well at the point of sale, said Mr Eddy Chan, owner of drone shop Hobby Square LLP.

“We always remind newbies (about the regulations), or even people who make enquiries about where to fly. We also have a poster from the CAAS (Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore) of the dos and don’ts.

“We also recommend, for further information, to log-on to the CAAS website where it tells you exactly where are the no-fly zones,” he added.

Drone hobbyists CNA spoke to appear to be aware of the CAAS regulations.

Civil servant Chen Zhirong said gets information from the CAAS website and from a friend who flew drones.

Another drone enthusiast, Ms Atikah Razak, said: “(I know about the regulations) mainly because I have a friend who had a drone as well, and (my friend) told me about the regulations. Then after that I went to research on my own."

SOME GIVING THE COMMUNITY A BAD NAME

Most members of drone flying groups said they do not consider people who flout CAAS regulations a part of the community, and fear that their actions would bring about negative repercussions for other drone hobbyists.

“We consider these (people) as the black sheep,” said Mr Chan. “They give the community a bad name, that all drone flyers are not very considerate. Most drone flyers are aware (of the restrictions).

“I can speak for the community that they are not very happy with this,” he added.

Mechanic Hassan Saidi, who has been flying drones for the past six years, agreed.

“These people don’t represent the drone community in Singapore. They are small groups or individuals … I feel that whatever they are doing, it’s classless to me,” he said.

He added that whenever people ignore no-fly zones, they raise the possibility of having the authorities tighten regulations in response.

“I’m very worried that the government will take more strict and stern action against drone operators to curb such bad actions (and will) make an example out of these operators,” he said.

“We are very worried as a community too.”

Source: CNA/cc(gs)

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