SECURING airspace is the major reason behind a decision by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to ban any unauthorized use of remotely piloted aircraft commonly known as drones.
Explanations from various websites state that proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles had since become a matter of concern by world governments due to the threats they pose to the aviation industry – and aviation experts now state that a drone could cause a crash if an airplane hit or one was drawn into an engine.
“With drones, whatever security you thought you had is gone,” Kunal Jain, an expert from the drone security company -- Dedrone in San Francisco, United States is quoted as saying and quoted by one of the websites. “While most people don’t yet equate drones with security risks, they pose an array of threats, and reports of drone-related accidents and near-misses are on the rise.
With some one million drones entering the airspace globally each month, the prospect of securing drones is becoming more daunting. “Think of nearly any worst case scenario and you can probably do it with a drone,” Jain adds in his explanations.
Mr Jain explained further that some governments in the world, through their airport authorities, have completely banned the flying of drones near airports. According to Mr Jain, any light to medium weight weapon could probably be attached to a drone, causing catastrophe.
“There are already videos of drones with chainsaws, machine guns, and flamethrowers attached,” he exemplified in his explanation. He said terrorists were (also) beginning to employ drones for both reconnaissance and combat operations.
Such unmanned aerial vehicles could be used to deploy dangerous chemical weaponry, drop bombs, or even carry out nuclear attacks. On Monday, TCAA issued public notice on drones, saying it had noted with concern the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles in the country’s airspace that were operated by various entities or individuals.
“It should be noted that operation of all aircraft within the Tanzania airspace or at any point in Tanzania is subject to regulatory approval and/or authorizations by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority,” the aviation authority stated in its public notice.
TCAA, with immediate effect, ordered all institutions, entities or individuals intending to procure test or operate drones to seek approval from the Ministry of Defence and National Service or obtain authorization from the authority.
The aviation authority called upon individuals, entities and institutions to be guided by current Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) number 5/17 (Pink 62) of 1 JAN 2017. The circular (AIC) gives details about the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority limitations and conditions for the operation of remotely piloted aircraft in the country in accordance with the provisions of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO Circular 328 AN/190).
ICAO Circular 328 AN/190 states that an aircraft capable of being operated without a pilot shall not be so operated except with the authorization in writing of the Authority and in accordance with such conditions as may be specified in the authorisation.
The circular further provides that in order to facilitate safe operation of these aircraft, certain procedures are to be followed by the prospective operators.