(updated 29 Oct 2020)
(Please note that the information contained in these pages are provided – “as is”, – with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, – or timeliness. SAMPP assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions.)
Aerial Filming / Operation of Unmanned Aircraft
The rise of unmanned aircraft (UA) or drones for aerial photography has vastly changed the media industry in the last ten years. Drones have allowed filmmakers to capture dramatic aerial perspectives without the use of helicopters. The low cost and accessibility has allowed for a proliferation of creative expression in all areas of media production.
It is important that the flying of UA does not compromise aviation and public safety, so ensure that you fulfill the regulatory requirements before flying your UA.
From 2 April 2020, it will be an offence to operate an unregistered drone above 250 grams. Offenders may be sentenced up to 6 months’ imprisonment or up to $10,000 fine, or both, for each offence.
Drone Training and Certificates/Licences
From 1 June 2020, drone operators are required, by law, to obtain relevant certificates or licences. These regulations will be enforced from 1 February 2021 onwards.
Under the new regulations, if you operate a drone that has a total mass above 1.5kg up to 7kg for a recreational or educational purpose, you will be either required to:
- Hold a UA Basic Training certificate and be at least 16 years old; OR
- Fly your drone under the supervision of someone who has such a certificate (otherwise known as the supervising pilot).
If you intend to operate a drone for a commercial purpose (regardless of the weight of the drone), or if your drone is above 7 kg, you will be required to obtain an UA Pilot Licence (UAPL).
There are 2 categories of license – Class A and Class B.
- Class A UAPL allows you to fly any drone, weighing up to 25kg.
- Class B UAPL allows you to fly only a specific model of drone weighing more than 25kg.
It is an offence to operate a drone weighing above 7kg, or for recreational or educational purposes, without a valid UAPL.
In addition, from 1 February 2021, it will also be an offence if you:
- Fail to produce a certificate if asked by the relevant authorities to do so when operating a drone or supervising someone operating a drone.
- Operate a drone which is either above 7kg or for commercial purposes (regardless of the drone’s weight) without a valid UAPL
First-time offenders may be fined up to $50,000 or imprisoned up to 2 years, or given both punishments. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $100,000, or imprisoned up to 5 years, or both.
An UA operator permit is issued by CAAS to a company or individual only if the applicant has demonstrated safe handling and operation of the drone. A UA operator permit is valid up to a year.
Conversely, an activity permit is granted by the CAAS to an organisation or individual for either a single activity or a block of repeated activities to be carried out by the drone.
Permit applications are to be submitted electronically via the CAAS website.
- All applications for an UA operator permit or activity permit should be made in advance, at least 2 weeks before your planned date of operation.
The following link provides a simple quiz tool to check the permits required for your unmanned aircraft operations: https://www.caas.gov.sg/public-passengers/unmanned-aircraft/ua-regulatory-requirements
And here is the map showing the legal areas to fly a drone in Singapore: https://go.gov.sg/dronequery
Additional permits may be required:
- Singapore Police Force (SPF) for aerial photography and/or overflight of security-sensitive locations
- Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) for use of radio frequencies and power limits other than in IMDA’s guidelines for short range devices.
- Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for discharging a substance from a UA.
For further information, see: