in General Aviation / Features

Nigeria zones in on drone regulation

Posted 26 July 2017 · Add Comment

Although the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) targets 2018 to publish standards and recommended practices (SARPs) for the certification and operations of drones, interest in their civil and military use in Nigeria has continued to increase. Chukwu Emeke reports.

The level of interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)/remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) gained prominence when, in December 2013, Nigeria’s then president, Goodluck Jonathan, unveiled the country’s first indigenous UAV, codenamed GULMA.
It was designed and constructed by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at the base in Kaduna.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, he congratulated the air force, saying that the achievement marked a turning point in indigenous technological development in Nigeria. He urged the private sector to key into the NAF breakthrough in order to achieve a high level of mass production and the highest and best commercial use of the prototype UAV.
The need for UAVs has increased for Nigeria at a time the nation is diversifying its economy. Drones can be deployed for disaster management, power line survey, telecommunication, weather monitoring, news coverage, oil and gas exploration, aerial imaging and mapping.
“The development of the use of RPA nationwide has emerged with somewhat predictable safety concerns and security threats. Therefore, with the preponderance of these operations, particularly in non-segregated airspace, there has to be proactive safety guidelines,” said Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) spokesman Sam Adurogboye.
He revealed that, by early 2016, some RPA/UAVs had been deployed for commercial and recreational purposes in the country without adequate security clearance, stating that the NCAA had put in place a regulating advisory circular to guide the certification and operations of civil RPA in its airspace.
“No government agency, organisation or individual will launch an RPA/UAV in the Nigerian airspace for any purpose whatsoever without obtaining a requisite permit from the NCAA and the office of the national security adviser (ONSA),” he said.
“In addition, operators must ensure strict compliance with the condition stipulated in their permits and the requirements of Nigeria civil aviation regulations (NCARs).”
Adurogboye added that violators would be sanctioned according to the dictates of NCARs.
Engineer Ifeanyi Ogochukwu, of the safety directorate of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), said the regulation of drone operations in the country had become an emergency because of the security threat capabilities of the technology.
Another expression of the government’s commitment to UAV regulation occurred on November 21, 2016 when ONSA, in collaboration with the NCAA, held a one-day stakeholder meeting to articulate the use of UAV/RPA in Nigerian airspace.
Discussions centred on safety implications, risk assessment, oversight, regulations and certification.
NCAA director general, Captain Muhtar Usman, recently took steps to establish an RPA/drones safety team, which will help to develop recommendations to assist his organisation in creating an RPAS registration system in the shortest possible time. This would also help connect an RPAS with its operators in cases where people were not following the rules.
The RPAS advisory committee, to be overseen by NCAA’s Directorate of General Aviation, is also to help prioritise RPA integration activities, including development of future regulations and policies.
The first regulation for routine RPA use took effect in 2015. According to the NCAA, a new regulation that will put a limit of 25kg as the allowable weight limitation for civil drones in the country will be made public by 2017, providing an important regulatory foundation for allowing additional weight categories in future, to be followed by proposed rule on RPA operations over populated areas.
The announcement by the United States military, in September 2016, for plans to build a $100 million drone base near Nigeria, particularly in Agadez, central Niger, to help the west African country combat militant groups and protect its borders, could be an added emphasis on the importance of strengthening UAV regulation in Nigeria.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Boeing Helena site expands to support 777X aircraft production

Boeing employees and community members have commemorated the 90,000 square-foot expansion of Boeing Helena to support 777X airplane production.

Congo Airways revises fleet expansion plans

Congo Airways is considering both Airbus and Boeing products for its narrow-body fleet expansion plans the carrier's Chief Executive Officer Desire Balazire has disclosed, reports ch-aviation.

Embraer appoints CCO for Executive Jets business unit

Embraer has appointed Stephen Friedrich as Chief Commercial Officer for the Company's executive aviation business unit, effective immediately.

Flying Colours appoints Trevor Knox as director of maintenance

Flying Colours, the North American maintenance, refurbishment and completions company that does business in Africa, has confirmed the appointment of Trevor Knox as Director of Maintenance. Knox, who takes up the position with

Lagos slumps as travel to Africa displays double-digit growth

An analysis of seat capacity for travel to the top ten international airports in Africa, produced by ForwardKeys, reveals that Lagos is seeing substantial declines in both domestic and international capacity, mainly because Arik Air

FlightSafety Academy introduces Growth and Achievement Programme for new students

FlightSafety International, that has a Learning Centre in South Africa, has announced a new Integrated Growth and Achievement Preparation Programme for students entering the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida.

AfBAC Expo SK2017
See us at
Global Aerospace BT28218GroundHandling BT0303280917Aviation Africa BT18418ACI Africa BT77181017AfBAC Expo BT2017