The rise in popularity of drone ownership around the world has brought with it many issues for regulators, particularly around safety & privacy provisions which are front of mind for regulators governing the use of these compact flying machines.
In most countries around the world a set of rules & regulations are applied with respect to the ownership & operational aspects of flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). So why should Thailand be any different?
Visitors from around the world flock to Thailand in their millions each & every year, many bringing their drones with them to capture spectacular video which presents to the viewer a unique perspective of the landscape & geography of Thailand in all its glory.
Since 2017 registration has been compulsory for drones brought into Thailand. Thailand's National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have further advised that failure by visitors to do so could seriously impact their hip pocket, as the owner of the drone could be hit with fines of up to 100,000 Baht or worse - getting banged up in a Thai prison facing a five-year jail term. (Penalties were recently updated from the previous 40,000 Baht &/or one year in prison).
Thailand RPA Regulation: Source/Credit: Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.
Its fine to bring a drone into Thailand, however drone owners should be aware they are unable to fly their drones until they have registered their property with the NBTC or the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). Additionally, if a drone enters Thailand which is intended for commercial use, then approval for use must also be obtained from CAAT. Forms are available for download directly from the NBTC website here (in Thai) and from the CAAT here (English version).
The process to register a UAV with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand includes the provision of the following information as stated on the application:
- Type or Registration of Aircraft
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Weight Category
- Applicants Personal Information (including Passport Number, occupation & income).
- Current Address
- Juristic Person Contact Details
- Purpose of Use of the UAV
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Information
- Insurance Information
- Requested Operating Location/s
- Three copies (of the form)
Drone Flight Etiquette In Thailand
Tourists to Thailand should also familiarise themselves with the rules for flying drones in Thailand. These include (but not limited to):
- Drones are not permitted to be flown in such a manner that could cause potential harm to life, property & or to disturb the peace of others.
- Do not fly within 9 kilometres (or 5 nautical miles) of any airport or temporary airfield.
- Do not fly in restricted areas. This includes near hospitals, government offices & state buildings.
- Drones must be flown in line of sight at all times.
- Drones must not be flown over gatherings of people.
- Drones should not be used to breach the privacy of others.
- Drone pilots require permission of the owner of the land to fly.
- Drones cannot fly higher than a distance of 90 metres.
- Control & take-off must always be visible during each flight.
- Drones must not be flown close to manned aircraft.
- Drones must not fly close to any person, vehicle, construction or buildings - the drone should always be a minimum of 30 metres away.
Once you are familiar with the rules & regulations, drone pilots are good to go! Further information can be found by visiting the The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission website.