Ghana passes a law that could see one jailed for 30 years for flying drones illegally

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Flying an unregistered drone in Ghana will get you up to 30 years in jail as Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) ushers in the process of registering all drones in the country and makes it a must for all pilot drones to get a license reports Quartz.

“You could be convicted up to a 30-year jail term. Let say an Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (Drone ) just takes off without appropriate permit, authorization, and communication traffic control and flies into an aircraft on the approach path, resulting in a crash,”  said Mr. Kofi Danso, Air Traffic Control, GCAA reports Yen

The new policy is meant to prevent accidents in Ghana’s airspace according to GCAA. The new policy states out the punitive measures which include having your flying permit withdrawn.According to Mr. Danso, one can also be fined depending on the severity of the breach in the regulation. Big operators might have their certificates revoked. Furthermore, the policy also gives the areas that drone operations are ‘unapproved’.

“The proposed restrictions is that RPAS or drones should not be flown within 10 km radius for instrument airports and 5 km for non-instrument airports. It should also not be flown 400 feet high,”  Mr. Kofi Danso, Air Traffic Control, GCAA said

According to the Pulse, statistics from GCAA shows a sharp increase in the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems, also known as drones for commercial and private purposes

Ghana joins other African countries such as Kenya and Nigeria that have already imposed strict drone regulations. In Nigeria, acquiring permits cost a whopping 4000 dollars which involves going through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the National Security Adviser. The United States only charges a total of five dollars for the permits.

A drone is a small aircraft piloted by computers on board or by remote controls on the ground. It is majorly used by the military for spying, monitoring and combat. However, the creative industry such as film making and photography has adopted drones in their works. The high rates for permits and complex registration procedures have been seen as a way of adding more tax to the industry which has high growth.

In Kenya one has to secure permission from both the Ministry of Defense and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).