Training Fees & Fines For Drones Operations

  • Kenyans who want to operate drones will have to pay a ksh3000 registration fee
    Kenyans who want to operate drones will have to pay a ksh3000 registration fee
    File
  • In recent years, Kenya has seen an exponential rise in the use of drones, with unmanned aircraft often used to film political rallies, movies and weddings.

    However, for the longest time, there were no guidelines to regulate the emerging industry amid concerns over the contravention of people's property.

    Consequently, the government published the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations through Legal Notice 42 to guide the use of drones in the country.

    Mysterious drone that crash-landed in Wajir on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
    Mysterious drone that crash-landed in Wajir on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
    Twitter

    As per the provisions, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) was tasked with licensing institutions that offer Remote Pilot License (RPL) training. As of the time of publishing, KCAA had licenced 12 schools across the country to offer drone flying courses.

    Training Fee

    Flying a drone may seem easy to many, however, operating an unmanned aircraft can prove to be an uphill task despite being controlled by a remote control.

    A spot check by Kenyans.co.ke revealed that a majority of the schools offer training from Ksh150,000 to Ksh200,000.

    While some of the schools offer the course for a week, others have a four-week program. For example, renowned Fahari Aviation offers one-week coursework and practical lessons that last for close to two weeks.

    "We offer a week of theory training followed by examinations.  One-on-one practical flight training with an instructor for a minimum of 5 flight hours and a skilled test after, to determine competence," Fahari Aviation stated on their website.

    Some of the requirements needed to join the 12 schools are that one should be above 18 years.

    Fines
    As per the regulations, it is illegal to operate a drone without getting permission from KCAA.

    Additionally, drone owners are required to show proof of their training before being issued a license. Failure to which, an individual risks a jail term and a hefty fine.

    Some of the offences that can earn someone a fine of Ksh1 million or a prison term of one year include failing to report drone accidents or operating a drone in congested areas.

    Other offences under this category are operating a drone that is not airworthy or contravening insurance guidelines.

    On the other hand, there are fines that attract a Ksh2 million fine and they include offences relating to ownership, contravening people's privacy, flying dangerous goods or dropping goods.

    The Ksh2 million fine can also be imposed on an individual who exports a drone without informing KCAA.

    Unknown to many, some of the fines not only cover drone owners but also members of the public.

    "Any person who unlawfully interferes with the duly authorized operation of an UAS commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding Ksh2 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both," read the law in part.

    Undated file image of two men in police handcuffs
    A file image of two men in police handcuffs
    Kenyans.co.ke
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