Browsing 'drones' News

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It is against the law to operate remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) in Qatar without government permission, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said.

The prohibition against unauthorized drone usage was published in newspapers this week.

Reiterating a warning it issued last year, the CAA said the use of drones without permission “poses serious threats and hazards” to the country’s air safety and navigation.

Drone ban announcement

It also warned it would take legal action against any violators of the law.

Drone development

Qatar has been working on plans to develop a “space management concept” for more than a year now.

The aim of developing a policy to regulate drone usage is to avoid incidents such as airport closures due to unauthorized RPAS in the area.

Vineet Bhatia/Twitter

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

“It is not a big issue, but we have to take care of it. Drones can sometimes be disturbing,” General Khalid bin Ahmad Al Kuwari said in June.

Qatar is also in the middle of developing its own drone technology to protect its coastal borders.

Last summer, the RSC signed a five-year research deal with Texas A&M University at Qatar regarding drone technology in the areas of defense, industry and commerce.

Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Global Military Review

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

To help protect its coastal borders, Qatar is planning to further develop its own drone technology, a defense official has said.

According to the Gulf Times, General Khalid bin Ahmad Al Kuwari, director of the Qatar Armed Forces’ Reconnaissance and Surveillance Center (RSC), said the remote-controlled aircraft would help boost the country’s security.

“The use of drones is going to be very important, as it is in any country,” he said.

The official spoke following the signing of a five-year research agreement between RSC and Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) in “drone technology in defense, industry and commerce,” interim dean Dr. Ann Kenimer said.

Made in Qatar

The deal follows remarks from Qatar’s defense minister earlier this year, who said that plans to build drones locally were at an “advanced stage” and that the devices could hit the market by next year.

Speaking at the fifth Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) in March, Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said the country has been working on a drone production project with Germany, as part of efforts to extend Qatar’s defenses.

In recent years, Qatar has made several international deals for aerial vehicles, their parts and their technology.

At DIMDEX, the government signed an MOU with Polish firm WKK to manufacture and produce drone parts for Qatar’s armed forces.

The agreement included WKK providing “support in the field of aircraft manufacturing and technology transfer to Qatar,” QNA reported at the time, and followed Qatar’s purchase of a 51 percent stake in the company.

The QR32.58 billion worth of deals signed at the biennial defense expo also included a QR460.5 million agreement with US-based Aurora for drone sensor integration and QR365 million worth of drones from German company Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems.

Airspace protection

During yesterday’s signing, Al Kuwari said plans were also underway to draft a “space management concept” for Qatar’s airspace.

HIA

Damon McDonald/Flickr

HIA

The aim is to avoid situations like the closure of Dubai International Airport for more than an hour last weekend due to unauthorized use of a drone.

“It is not a big issue, but we have to take care of it. Drones can sometimes be disturbing,” Al Kuwari reportedly said.

Drone owners who wish to fly their craft must first get government approval, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced last month.

The CAA added that the use of drones has always been “prohibited” without the agency’s prior authorization.

The reminder came more than a year after the aviation authority said it was drafting new rules to regulate the use of drones.

Thoughts?

Drone outfitted with GoPro camera for illustrative purposes only.

Don McCullough/Flickr

Drone outfitted with GoPro camera for illustrative purposes only.

Drone owners in Qatar need government permission before operating their unnamed aerial vehicles, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has warned.

The notice comes as drones, which are remote-controlled aircraft, grow in popularity within Qatar and around the world. Many use cameras attached to drones to capture unique and previously unseen aerial angles of local landmarks.

Drone ban announcement

Drone ban announcement

However, in a notice published in newspapers yesterday, the CAA said the use of drones has always been “prohibited” without the agency’s prior authorization:

“The Civil Aviation Authority noted with concern the recent rise in popularity of the unauthorized use of (drones) in violation of the … law,” the notice said.

No one at the CAA would comment on the announcement, which comes more than a year after the aviation authority said it was drafting new rules to regulate the use of drones.

Drones in Qatar

Previously, rules about drone usage in the country were less straightforward.

While some residents reported having unmanned aerial vehicles seized by customs inspectors at Hamad International Airport, others have seen drones being openly sold at retail shops here.

Last year, an official with the Qatar Scientific Club – which operates an airfield in Al Khor where members can fly UAVs as a hobby – said drones specifically fitted with cameras are prohibited due to privacy concerns.

However, yesterday’s CAA notice does not distinguish between drones with or without cameras.

Aerial view of Sidra

SnapTV/YouTube

Aerial view of Sidra

Despite the apparent rules, some residents have previously posted – and, in some cases, quickly removed – videos of popular local landmarks and little-known sites such as a motor vehicle “graveyard” outside Al Wukair.

In other instances, researchers have used drones with the permission of authorities to conduct archeological surveys of Qatar’s historical sites.

Incidents

In addition to privacy concerns, regulators around the world are also concerned about the possibility of drones colliding with commercial aircraft.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that the European Aviation Safety Agency was establishing a task force to study the risk of crashes between drones and aircraft.

The news came in the aftermath of a collision between a British Airways plane landing at London Heathrow airport and what was initially believed to be a drone.

British Airways A320, for illustrative purposes only.

Andrew Cupitt / Flickr

British Airways A320, for illustrative purposes only.

However, it later turned out to be an unidentified object that a government minister said may have been a plastic bag.

In other cases, drones have crashed into high-rise apartment buildings after losing contact with operators.

Like Qatar, the UAE has also been trying to curb the unchecked use of drones.

Last year, the Emirates passed a new law banning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles with cameras and requiring all drones to be registered, The National reported.

The newspaper said several recreational drones have strayed onto flight paths of commercial aircraft taking off and landing at Dubai airports, causing authorities to temporarily ground planes.

Thoughts?