Latest Drone Laws in Papua New Guinea

Like other countries in Oceania, such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea allows drone operations by hobbyists, governments, visitors (tourists), and commercial flyers.

However, it’s essential to know the latest drone laws and comply with them during your flights.

Under the current drone laws, registration is mandatory for all operators. However, the authority may waive the requirement for a pilot license for hobbyists and visitors in certain situations. 

Also, insurance coverage isn’t a requirement for all operators, but the authority recommends it for hobbyists and visitors.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Papua New Guinea (CASA PNG) is the regulatory agency that ensures safe and legal drone flights. 

Our article gives you an in-depth understanding of the legal situation of drone activities in Papua New Guinea.

Keep reading.

What Are the Latest Drone Laws in Papua New Guinea

The current Papua New Guinea drone laws categorize drone flying activities into two classes:

  • Part 101 operations laws
  • Part 102 operations laws

Let’s take a close look at each.

Part 101 Operations Laws

The operation class comprises low-risk drone activities.

CASA PNG doesn’t require you to obtain authorizations to conduct Part 101 drone operations.

Hence, the authority has no direct control over your qualifications, skills, or aircraft’s airworthiness.

The operational class regulations apply to recreational and commercial drone fliers.

Thus, you may conduct various commercial activities without CASA’s control.

Part 101’s risk-based approach allows you to perform lower-risk operations without Part 102 certification requirements.

Only ensure you’re compliant with the Part 101 restrictions.

Which Part 101 Operating Restrictions Should I Comply With to Fly a Drone in Papua New Guinea?

There are twelve restrictions you should comply with to fly your drone in Papua New Guinea under the class Part 101: 

  • Avoid flying your drone in special-use airspaces without the area’s administration authority.

    The spaces include low-flying zones, military installations, government facilities, and restricted areas.

  • To avoid collision with other aircraft, maintain a visual line of sight without a monitor, binoculars, or smartphone. Alternatively, have an observer keep an eye on your device.

  • Don’t operate a drone weighing more than 10kg unless you have the Director’s approval. Also, ensure your drone is safe to use.

  • Never fly in controlled airspaces without an Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance from Papua New Guinea Air Services Ltd.

  • Don’t fly your drone beyond the 120-meter (400-foot) altitude cap unless you meet certain conditions.

  • Fly your drone at least 4 kilometers from airports unless you have the authority’s approval.

  • Avoid potentially hazardous activities affecting people, property, and other aircraft.

  • Seek consent from a property owner or the area’s authority before flying above it.

  • Fly your drone only during daylight hours unless it’s an indoor or scheduled operation.

  • Always fly your drone in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) unless authorized or with air traffic control clearance.

  • Be familiar with your flight area’s airspace restrictions or operate under the observation of someone who knows it.

  • Avoid operating your drone in a state of intoxication or within 12 hours after consuming an alcoholic beverage.

  • Don’t fly a drone while operating a moving vessel, vehicle, or crewed aircraft.

  • Don’t fly over people without their consent.

  • Always give way to crewed aircraft.

Part 102 Operations Laws

The regulations govern higher-risk drone operations. Part 102 operations offer great versatility, as the regulatory agency only prohibits a few specific drone activities. 

These include flying over crowds, near emergency response operations, or beyond visual line of sight without proper authorization.

Being aware of these restrictions, you can ensure safe and compliant operations.

The Director of Civil Aviation plays a pivotal role in issuing Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificates (UAOCs). 

CASA issues the UA certificates on a case-by-case basis, requiring you to convince the Director that you understand your intended operation(s).

Also, you must demonstrate comprehensive plans to mitigate potential risks. 

The process underscores the importance of your operation’s safety and compliance.

If your intended drone operation isn’t Part 101 compliant, it may pose a higher risk and require Part 102 certification.

Non-compliance could lead to serious safety issues and legal consequences. 

Therefore, ensuring that your operations align with the regulations to maintain safety and avoid unnecessary risks is essential.

Basic Structure of Part 101 Operations

Drones in class Part 101 weigh less than 25kg and are Part 101 compliant. If yours weighs more than 10kg and isn’t Part 101-compliant, it requires Part 102 certification.

The certification is a regulatory requirement for drones in this weight range, ensuring their safe and legal operation.

The Director of Civil Aviation must assign someone to authorize the construction/inspection, approval, and operation of 10-25 kg weighing drones.

It’s crucial to thoroughly understand the Civil Aviation Rules applied in Part 101 operations.

This knowledge empowers you to decide whether to cope with the rules or opt for Part 102. 

Remember, operations in the latter class may have some exemptions.

Note: A Part 102 certificate application includes assessing your operation’s potential risks and proposing mitigation measures.

The mitigation strategies must satisfy the Director regarding the operation’s security concerns and public and proper safety.

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Remote Pilot License in Papua New Guinea?

The requirements for obtaining a Remote Pilot License (RPL) in PNG include the following: 

  • You shouldn’t operate a remotely piloted aircraft without pilot credentials unless you:

  • Follow the Part 101 requirements.

  • Conduct your operations as an open category as per rule 101.219.

  • Fly the aircraft more than 5 nm from the nearest airport boundary.
     
  • Operate your drone at least 5nm from the airports’ boundaries unless you have:

  • A pilot qualifications

  • Ability to use aeronautical charts and airspaces.

What Are the Requirements for Getting Drone Operation Authorization in Papua New Guinea?

Below are the requirements for getting drone operation authorization in Papua New Guinea:

  • Apply to the CASA via the Director of Civil Aviation for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate or authorization according to rule 102.3

  • You may apply for the certificate if you operate your drone following Part 101.

  • Pay the CASA-specified application fee.

The authorization application must include the following details:

  • Your name and Papua New Guinea service address.

  • Operations specification details as per rule 102.15.

  • Your exposition, according to rule 102.11.

  • Other relevant information the Director may require.

A qualified drone operator in PNG must have relevant aviation documents and ensure lawful operations. Hence, you must:

  • Conduct satisfactory employee training and supervision.

  • Ensure safety standards compliance.

  • Provide sufficient resources for compliance with the prescribed safety standards.

What Are the Requirements for the Application and Exposition of Unmanned Aircraft Operators in PNG?

Your UA application requirements are the operator’s authorization or certificate. You must satisfy the Director with an acceptable exposition.

Hence, your exposition shall include crucial details about your intended operation’s risk, nature, and degree.  

Here are the details:

  • Identification of the individual with the operations’ primary responsibility

  • Identification of the:

  • Holder of the significant certificate privileges
  • Remote chief controller

  • Number and specifications of your operational drones, including unique identification number, schemes, markings, and color

  • Personnel operating requirements (pilot and support crew): licensing, training, qualifications, and competency

  • Inflight policies, including maintaining the minimum flying distance from property and people

  • Cargo-handling and item-dropping procedures, where applicable

  • Maintenance procedures and continued airworthiness measure: specific maintenance tasks, schedules, and checkpoints

  • Exposition controlling, amending, and distributing procedures

  • Information reporting procedures to the authority

  • Safety control system according to rule 102:29

  • The operation area’s physical location details

  • The required initial airworthiness standards

  • Your drone’s control system details

Note: The UA operator certificate is valid for five years.

What Are the Privileges of a Drone Authorization/Certificate Holder in Papua New Guinea?

A drone authorization or certificate holder in PNG has the following privileges:

  • Exemption from the Civil Aviation Rules 137, 129, 119, 95, 93, 92, 91, 67, 66, 65, 63, 43, 39, 26, 21, and 20.
     
  • Performing operations specified in the operations specifications.

Conclusion

The legal state of drone operations in Papua New Guinea is clear and detailed. It accommodates all operators flying drones for work or fun.

Whether you’re a hobbyist, commercial pilot, government personnel, or a tourist on the land, you only need to identify your operation class (Part 101 or Part 102) and adhere to the relevant rules.

Also, a pilot license is a requirement but may be unnecessary for hobbyists and tourists in some situations.

Our article provides all you need for safe and legal drone flying exercises in PNG.

  • AdIf you have a particular case that requires more details, reach out to CASA via the details below adress: Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Papua New Guinea P.O. Box 1941, BOROKO, 111, NCD Papua New Guinea
  • Email: info@casapng.gov.pg
  • Phone: +675 325 7320

Author
Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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