JCAA Advises Drone Users to Apply for Permits

Photo: Claudia Gardner Aviation Safety Inspector of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Jerome A. Davis, addresses the Jamaica Film Commission’s Open Day at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on Thursday, February 22.

Story Highlights

  • Film-makers, and commercial and recreational operators of drones are being advised to contact the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) to obtain permits and assistance to ensure they are not flying into restricted airspace, which could result in accidents and injuries.
  • Aviation Safety Inspector of the JCAA, Jerome A. Davis, made the appeal during the Jamaica Film Commission’s Open Day at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on Thursday, February 22.
  • “It is new technology and the regulations are being developed. So what we are trying to do is to get everybody competent and basically safe in their usage, so that when the regulations come it is not a hard transition into a regulated industry,” he noted.

Film-makers, and commercial and recreational operators of drones are being advised to contact the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) to obtain permits and assistance to ensure they are not flying into restricted airspace, which could result in accidents and injuries.

Aviation Safety Inspector of the JCAA, Jerome A. Davis, made the appeal during the Jamaica Film Commission’s Open Day at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on Thursday, February 22.

He said it is important that the use of drones be properly monitored, as many of them are able to ascend beyond 400 feet, which is the flying start point for helicopters.

“It is new technology and the regulations are being developed. So what we are trying to do is to get everybody competent and basically safe in their usage, so that when the regulations come it is not a hard transition into a regulated industry,” he noted.

Mr. Davis explained that the permit process is very simple and involves the submission of an email outlining information such as the date and time period for filming, type of drone and the exact location.

He said applicants will be given maximum support by the JCAA, whose officers may also “come in to inspect the event/operation to deem you certifiable… so when you later on come again and reapply, we upgrade you to a point where you just have to notify us”.

He pointed out that, currently, the permit is free of cost. “We don’t have any financial restraints at this point in time because the aim of the Government is to build the industry at this time, so we have no cost of this permit or for this process,” he explained.

Acting Manager of Security and Standards at the Ministry of National Security, Stephen Case, noted that the Government is working with the JCAA in developing the policy framework governing the use of drones on the island.

He said that a draft document is being prepared.

“In many other jurisdictions, the regulatory environment for the use of drones is in an infant stage. In many jurisdictions, laws have not quite caught up to this technology as yet. But, given the fact that drones are aircraft, then any existing legislation or regulatory framework governing aircraft can apply to drones,” Mr. Case explained.

JIS Social