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South African Aviation Body Considers Drone Industry Regulations

South African Aviation Body Considers Drone Industry Regulations

Written by Thalia Holmes | From My broadband

The South African Civil Aviation Authority has highlighted the need for regulation in the drone industry by drawing on the risks inherent in flying them.

“Safety and security concerns should not be downplayed,” it told the Mail & Guardian. There are “many” drone-related incidents, it said, “that border on aviation catastrophes”.

Drone Zone’s Wessie van der Westhuizen said that some users do not realise the risks involved. “Those things have got eight carbon propellers moving at up to 15 000 revs per minute,” he said.

“The tips travel close to the speed of sound in some cases. That is like a mincer-shredder being thrown into a crowd of people.

“These things are not toys – in the wrong circumstance they are potentially very, very dangerous.”

Ben Kieser, chairperson of the South African UAV Association for Small Aircraft, said that whereas drones need to be handled with care, as far as he is aware no deaths related to small or commercial drones have occurred anywhere in the world.

And, said Kieser, research conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows that using a conventional human-piloted aircraft poses risks about 1 000 times higher than doing the same job using a drone. One of the reasons for this is that no life would necessarily be lost if the machine crashed.

“The risk factor is extremely low,” he said. “It is higher boarding an aeroplane. It is really, really small.”

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