Playing the I-didn’t-know card won’t save the drone hobbyist from charges, should you be caught breaking the drone laws.

Drones are awesome gadgets and over the last holiday season, drone sales skyrocketed in South Africa.  This shows that there is an increase of drone hobbyists and those buying drones to have as toys.

But drone sellers are not advising buyers that they first need a licence and need to know the rules before they can fly a drone.  So, we have put together some need-to-know information for drone hobbyists.

  1. You need a Remote Pilot’s Licence, as well as approval documents from the Civil Aviation Authority, before you are allowed to take flight. Similarly to needing a driver’s licence and vehicle registration before you can drive your new car, so you need to first prove that you can fly a drone and then you need to register that drone with the cops of the sky.
  2. You may not fly higher than 120m off the ground. Helicopters may not fly lower than 120m, so this ceiling helps to avoid crash incidents between drones and manned aircrafts.
  3. You may not fly within 10km of an aerodrome (airport, helipad or airfield). Aerodromes are the manned aircrafts’ turf for landing and taking off. Venturing into it increases the risk of your drone flying into an aircraft full of people.
  4. You may not fly within 50m of a crowd. This is in case if falls from the sky and hits someone on the way down. It could cause serious harm to an innocent stander-by.
  5. You can only fly on or near private property if you have permission from the owners. Understandably, no-one wants your drone spying on them or their property. Please don’t turn drones into the Peeping Toms of the sky.
  6. Your drone must be flying within visual line of sight. If you can’t see the drone, you won’t know which obstacles avoid until you crash into them. Not only would this be disastrous for your drone, but it could be dangerous and cause harm to people and property.
  7. You can only fly in daylight and in clear weather conditions. This is for the same reason as the above. Safety lies in being able to see the drone.
  8. The drone pilot needs to be 18 or over. Similar to driving and voting, only responsible adults can fly drones.

Flying a drone is fun! It is why so many people are buying them hobby toys.  But the same rules apply to you as it does to the professionals.  So, get familiar with the rules governing the skies before you take your drone on its first flight.

AerialShots is a company of licenced drone pilots who can capture beautifully images from the sky and know how to do it safely.  Contact us on or for all your aerial imagery needs.

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