UAV licensing site opened alongside river in Miaoli

REMOTE AREA::The CAA said that the site is not close to restricted airspace or densely populated zones and has a 300m runway and three sections to test drones

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Sep 13, 2019 - Page 2

The nation’s first venue for uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) licensing tests yesterday opened in Miaoli County, with regulations governing the management of UAVs in the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) to take effect in March next year.

An opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯), Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) and Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology president Gao Chung-hsing (杲中興).

The CAA said that it chose the site near the Houlong River (後龍溪) as it is not close to restricted airspace, airports, airfields or densely populated zones.

A model aircraft association has been using the site to host carnivals or practice flying model aircraft, the CAA said.

It entrusted the institute to design the site, which has a 300m by 20m runway and three test sections for small helicopters or multi-rotor drones, the CAA said.

The site meets international standards and is capable of handling licensing tests for drones with maximum take-off weight of 150kg, it said.

Lin Chia-lung told the ceremony that the opening was a milestone in terms of the government’s management of UAVs.

“UAVs, which have great business potential and could meet demand in the leisure and entertainment industries, need to be regulated,” he said. “This would meet the demands of the industries as well as the public. The government can contribute by facilitating the partnership between industry experts and academia.”

Drone operators from the institute’s aeronautical systems research division demonstrated the skills that drone operators would be tested on, such as vertical takeoffs and landings.

The CAA said that operating licenses are not required for drones of less than 2kg, but as of March next year, operators must pass a written test to obtain a regular operating license for drones weighing 2kg to 15kg.

For drones weighing 15kg or more, or those to be used for projects overseen by government agencies, schools and organizations, operators would have to pass a written and flight test, as well as a physical exam for a basic professional license.

All licenses would be valid for two years, the CAA said.