What it takes to fly a drone

The drone is a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), an aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight.


Drones come in a wide variety of sizes, the large ones are mostly used for military purposes such as the Predator drone, the smaller ones can be launched by hand, to other unmanned aircraft which require short runways. The aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.

The nose of the aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems are present. The rest of the body is a complete innovation, since there is no loss for space to accommodate humans and also light weight. The engineering materials used to build the drone are highly complex composites which can absorb vibration and decreases the noise produced.

The most obvious advantage of drones is that they greatly reduce putting military personnel in harm’s way or in combat during a war or attacks.

It also has more pinpoint accuracy from greater distances, thus reducing collateral damage to civilians and infrastructure.

The drone has become of great help to video editors, movie directors and some section of the media in general. It is able to get information from far and wide whiles the operator could be comfortably stationed at an appropriate location.

Even though the drone has brought many benefits to some people, there are obviously its setbacks.

One disadvantage of  the drone is that they can be considered an invasion of privacy in the sense that they are constantly surveying.

Many people see drones flying over their homes as spying on them while they conduct their everyday lives.

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) came up with standards and practices to regulate the operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) popularly referred to as drones, with effect from September 2017.

According to the Authority, this meant owners and users of drones, as well as those who wish to acquire them, needed to officially apply to the GCAA to secure approval before they can use or acquire them.

The Director-General of the GCAA, Mr Simon Allotey, made this known at a day’s workshop in Accra to explain the processes and procedures one had to go through before operating drones.

He mentioned that even though the operation of drones is now seen at most places in the country, the GCAA has no statistics on the number of the RPAS in the country currently.

According to Mr Allotey, there was the need for individuals and commercial operators to register with the authority for easy regulation.

He told Graphiconline that “Per the new guidelines, a person will not be obliged to act as an RPA observer without having in his or her possession proof of RPA observer competency issued by a training organisation approved by the authority.”

“No person shall be allowed to operate or import drones into the country without our approval,” he added.

Mr.Allotey added that, the registration would enable the authority to be able to compile the number of drones in the country, noting that plans were underway to put operators into an association in the long term.

For those who already owned the equipment, He said, they would be required to supply the authority with relevant information for registration.

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