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Drone Regulations in Zimbabwe: 15 Dos and Don’ts

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Earlier today, we published the current regulations on drones from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ.) With 31 pages, the document is pretty comprehensive, covering most aspects of owning, operating, or hobby-making with drones.

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Below is a list that simplifies the contents of the regulations. These are not dos and don’ts in the sense of “best practice” – but are actually what the law allows and does not allow you to do.

So, here we go:

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except in special conditions,

Do not:

1. Fly a drone unless you have a valid, CAAZ-issued license

2. Fly a drone that isn’t fit to fly (the specifications on what is fit to fly are in the regulations)

3. Fly drone from two different control stations

4. Fly it when weather is so bad that others cannot see your drone

5. Land a drone on or take off from a road, fly along a road, or within 30m from a road

5. Fly it in controlled airspaces

7. Deliver or drop stuff from drone, or carry dangerous goods

8. Use drugs or alcohol within 8 hours of flying a drone, or while flying it

9.  Tow another drone, or in any other way endanger safety of others

10. Fly drones in formation or in a swarm, do tricks in the air or perform aerial or aerobatic roll in an emergency to avoid collision

11. Fly a drone 400 feet (122 meters) above the surface, or within a radius of 3 nautical miles from an airport

12. Fly a drone next to or above a prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, national key point or strategic installation.

13. Fly a drone beyond visual line of sight (that is, you have to see the drone), or fly it at night

14. Fly a drone above or 30m above a person (or group of people) unless you are together

15.  Fly a drone 30m from a building unless you have the building owners permission.

Do:

1. Register the drone, and get a Remote Pilot Licence to fly it

2. Maintain the drone in an airworthy condition

3. Be aware that you are accountable for safe operation of the drone

4. Report to CAAZ if someone is injured, dies or property is damaged

5. Be aware that you are responsible for avoiding other aircraft

6. Give way to manned aircraft

7. Avoid flying over, under etc… a manned aircraft

8. Follow right of way guidelines of flying

9. Descend by at least 100 feet as soon as a manned aircraft is seen to be around

10. Keep a log book of your drone flights

11. Keep a flight folio where you record any thing unusual that happens, e.g. “hit a tree and cracked propeller. Glued it”.

12. Keep a first aid kit handy

13.  Keep a fire extinguisher on the ground

14. Keep proper documentation for your drones from the State of the country where the drone originated

15. Speak and use English proficiently

24 thoughts on “Drone Regulations in Zimbabwe: 15 Dos and Don’ts

  1. How do you tow a drone?
    This is a genuine question cz pamwe pane zvandisinga zivi.

    1. Drones come in many forms(multi rotor, fixed wing, etc) so you can’t use a drone/RPAS to tow another

    1. 🙂 This actually a requirement in order to acquire the Remote pilot licence (RPL.) See section 03.2.1 in the regulations.

    1. #11 (Do’s) which knocked you out actually had a small error, and thanks for pointing it out. It has been updated. And #15 is of course a classic.

  2. #10 (Don’t) do tricks in the air or perform aerial or aerobatic roll in an emergency to avoid collision.
    I get the aerobatic emergency point but the reason why most people buy drones is to perform aerial tricks and have different camera shots, right??? idk, maybe I’m wrong….

    1. This really sucks the fun right out of it. I wonder if this applies to competitive quad rotor racing (and if they even recognise it as a potential class of use).

      1. These are mainly commercial regulations. Racing is under hobby use, different regulations.

  3. #15 is to do with English proficiency because general spoken English is the international medium of Radio communication and communication in general in aviation. You can’t get a Private Pilot License (PPL) in Zim for example without a grade C or better in English O’ level. Thanks good summary and time saver!

  4. What the hell!!! Question what is the difference between a drone and remote aircrafts we used to play with

  5. Your conventional RC toy relies on LOS wheareas a drone can operate outside of it
    Your RC plane relies on a strip from and onto which it can take of or land.
    Your drone has autonomy built into it. It is aware of its surroundings and has multiple sensors to help it navigate (gyro,GPS,stabilizers,proximity sensors…etc)
    With your standard RC vehicle alot more skill is required to fly it perfectly.
    When the standard drone loses signal from its controller, it is capable of retracing it’s flight path and “returning home”…in the process, such autonomy can be potentially dangerous.
    A typical consumer drone has multiple rotors, enabling easier manoeuvres and access to certain places that forward-flight RC planes can never have. You can literally invade privacy or trespass easily.
    All are UAVs, but the key distinguishers are autonomy & intelligence & maneuverability

  6. it’s now pointless owning a drone, what else can you do with it, after all those don’ts.

    #fly_it_indoors#

  7. Has anyone tried to apply the CAAZ-issued license? How long does it take, and can it be done online?
    I am preparing a 1-year backpacking trip to Africa, including Zimbabwe. It would be a pity if I can’t launch it.

  8. I note that the regulations talk of an Association (or Club?) . In Zimbabwe, do we have one and if so how can one join etc,,, Thanks for tthe regs and the advice. I was thinking of investing but it seems a waste of money now.
    Jim

  9. Hi, I represent Aerialworx, a professional UK based drone operating company. We have been asked to carry out filming in Zimbabwe with a UK based production company. We plan to bring our own drone into the country as part of the film crew. I understand restrictions under which we have to operate and that we have to register the drone prior to arrival and may need permissions to operate commercially. Can you offer any advice on who to approach in order to comply with Zimbabwe regulations. Many thanks Pete.

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