There have always been speculations when it comes to owning and flying drones in Zimbabwe. With the growing demand for drones in the country, there is a need to raise awareness and tell people what is required of them when it comes to drones.
Speaking at this year’s Hub Unconference at the Shoko Festival, CAAZ representatives shared guidelines on drone registration and operations. There are three categories when it comes to drones and that is a commercial operation, cooperate and non-profit operation and also private.
Though it was way overdue, the government put in place the Statutory Instrument 271 of 2018 and with this, every drone that gets into the country has to be registered. For commercial operation, one has to apply for a letter of approval and this is required on initial importation.
Once one is given the letter of approval, they have to get the drone registered. Drones in Class 2 and above require a registration certificate. Any drone below 2 kgs is classified as Class 1 and will need an operator to get an approval letter for operation from CAAZ , while any drone above 2 kgs will need the certificate of registration from CAAZ.
For temporary importation, pre-clearance approval is required and it’s valid for 3 months with a temporary importation permit issued by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority(ZIMRA) on entry into Zimbabwe.
With regards to retail or resale, according to section 64(1) “No person shall sell a remotely piloted aircraft within Zimbabwe unless he or she has by a way of a packaging label, or in the case of a resale, by way of notification, notified the buyer of the requirements prescribed by the Authority.
Be it the drone is for commercial, corporate or private operation a piloting license is required. Drones may fly up to 120 meters (400 feet). If you were wondering about the rules on flying drones in Zimbabwe here are some of the things that you need to know.
Drones may fly a maximum distance from the pilot of 500 meters (1,640 feet), and up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) with special permission and a qualified visual observer assisting. Drones may not be flown at night without approval from the CAAZ. Drones may not be flown within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of any airport or airfield and drone insurance is mandatory.
Drones are becoming popular in Zimbabwe and can be just as disruptive as the internet. One other thing to note though is that when you are done with CAAZ requirements then you also got to deal with approval from the Ministry of Defense and many drone operators have been raised concern on how the process is handled by the Ministry of Defence.