Area above Pandan Reservoir designated for recreational UAV flight
SINGAPORE – Unmanned aircraft enthusiasts will now be able to fly their drones for recreational purposes in Singapore’s first and only designated flight zone at Pandan Reservoir, in a pilot project that will run until January 2023.
Those flying registered drones weighing no more than 25kg and less than 60m above mean sea level will not need to apply for an activity permit.
The 16ha dedicated flying area aims to meet the needs of enthusiasts while ensuring the safety of the public and aviation, even as more and more people take up recreational flying in recent years, said the Transport Minister S. Iswaran at the launch event on Sunday July 17.
“There is a very large increase in the level of activity in the unmanned aircraft community in Singapore and we are seeing recreational use increase significantly,” Mr Iswaran said, noting that the number of registered unmanned aircraft in Singapore has quadrupled.
“An aviation-safe and public-safe flying area is an important consideration for us, especially in a place like Singapore where our living environment is quite dense. We want to be able to accommodate a diversity of activities but want also to make sure they are done in a safe way,” he said.
Examples of unmanned aircraft include drones, radio-controlled airplanes, and remote-controlled kites.
In the flying area above the Pandan Reservoir, users of UAVs will still need to adhere to the applicable rules set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
This includes not flying an unmanned aircraft higher than 60m above mean sea level. Any unmanned aircraft with a total weight over 250g must also be registered with CAAS before users can be allowed to use it.
As of June 30, there were 16,095 registered unmanned aircraft.
Permits are still required for those flying an unmanned aircraft over 25 kg and those conducting non-recreational flights.
CAAS said more than 80% of registered unmanned aircraft weigh between 250g and 1.5kg.
The boundary of the flight zone above the waters of Pandan Reservoir is marked with yellow buoys and is at least 400m from the nearest housing blocks for privacy reasons.
Users must take off and land their unmanned aircraft in a grassy area delimited by permanent yellow flags.
Basic equipment such as tables and benches are provided to allow people to set up their aircraft in a semi-shaded area.
CAAS said that previously those who wanted to set up their unmanned aircraft had to do so on the lawn, which is difficult to do, especially when the ground is wet.
Regular programs and community workshops to educate unmanned aircraft enthusiasts about safe and responsible flying will be held in the area, CAAS said.
The flight zone was the subject of a key recommendation by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Advisory Group established in 2019, with the aim of reviewing and improving the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft systems in Singapore.
Pandan Reservoir flight area operating hours are 9am to 6pm daily.
The community chat of the Pandan Reservoir UAV flight area on Telegram, UA Flying Areas, is open to the public to join and receive regular updates and important notices on the site.