New unmanned aircraft systems directives to take effect March 1, says minister

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 25 — Three new Civil Aviation Directives (CADs) regulating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations would take effect on March 1 (2021), Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said today.

The CADs are for Remote Pilot Training Organisations (RPTOs), Agricultural Unmanned Aircraft System Operations (AGR) and Special Unmanned Aircraft System Projects (SUPs).

The CADs were issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) chief executive officer in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 24O of the Civil Aviation Act 1969 (Act 3), Wee said in a statement .

“The CAAM has set forth the standards, requirements and procedures to individuals and operators in Malaysia for agriculture, training organisations, research and development, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, and any other operations that require additional support from the CAAM due to the additional risks it involves.

“The CAD is applicable to all RPTOs seeking to become approved training organisations by CAAM.

“It is also aimed at helping new organisations ensure that any application as an RPTO satisfies the CAAM’s requirements and explains the administrative arrangements, instructions and legal matters in relation to how CAAM will administer the RPTOs.

“It also guides organisations in ensuring continued compliance as and when there are any appropriate or necessary changes to the organisations,” he said.

For AGR, Wee said the CAD contained the standards, requirements and procedures for individuals and operators in Malaysia seeking approval for agricultural operations utilising the UAS for commercial and private operators.

“It also highlights the safety requirements that must be met, in terms of airworthiness and/or operational standards, before an agricultural UAS is allowed to be operated in Malaysia.

“The scope for agricultural UAS operations is applicable to dispensation and activities other than surveillance,” he said.

Dispensation operations include dispensing of any agricultural payload or pesticides intended for plant nourishment, soil treatment, propagation of plant life, or pest control or activities directly affecting agriculture, horticulture or forest preservation, but not including the dispensing of live insects.

On the SUP, he said the CAD aimed to facilitate local drone investors, innovators and operators which were either government or private entities to invest, innovate in research and development (R&D) activities and operate in BVLOS and any other operations requiring any additional support activity from CAAM due to the additional risks in the fast-growing UAS industry.

Wee said CAAM would unveil further directives including for the ‘open’ category and ‘toy’ drones which would be ready in the third quarter of 2021.

Between 2015 and 2019, there had been 46,876 drones tested and registered with SIRIM and issued with a Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) logo, he said.

There were an estimated 10,000 registered units in 2020, he added. — Bernama