South Africa’s newly-enacted drone regulations are due to come into effect in just under three weeks, and anyone who wants to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle for commercial purposes will have to register both pilot and drone for a licence, and undergo testing and training for compliance. In preparation for the influx of new licences, it’s being reported that South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has begun training officials to serve as inspectors.

According to DefenceWeb, there are five members of CAA that are receiving training at Petit Airfield, east of OR Tambo International Airport, over a 10 day period. Once the training is complete, the members will be qualified to act as Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) inspectors in order to oversee the new regulations.

“Training is provided by United States and United Kingdom based service providers. [The] training [is] to ensure the inspectors and other SACAA personnel are properly trained to deliver on our mandate according to Part 101 (Air Safety Operations) of the Civil Aviation Regulations,” SACAA’s Phindiwe Gwebu told the site.

Some of the regulations has had drone owners and fliers a bit confused, but Gwebu sees the new rules and regulations as only the first step to making changes in South Africa’s airspace.

“We are not claiming these regulations are static. Given the pace of technological development in this area we treat the RPAS regulation framework as a continual work in progress. We will continue to engage with industry to refine them when, where and as necessary.”

While SACAA is training inspectors, private companies are already filling the gap for aspiring pilots. Curiosity Campus in Cape Town has launched its first Drone Academy program, while Safe Drone is publishing detailed breakdowns of the regulations and how to comply.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Jerry Meaden]

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.