The fine print


  • Time/date/venue availability and operations logistics subject to CAA RPAS rules and regulation Document SA-CATS and CARS (
  • All operations subject to CAA approval (ATC if required)
  • All private operations subject to landowner’s written consent
  • All public operations subject to relevant authority written approval
  • Location prior scout fee may apply
  • Extended distance travel fees may apply
  • 50% non-refundable booking fee may apply
  • Minimum 3 business days’ notice required for change of location
  • 50-75% cancellation fee may apply if operation is terminated within 24 hours of operation
  • Quoted fees include CAA/ATC, CAMU and FUA approvals, insurance, pilot and craft
  • Quoted fees exclude specific location permissions and permit fees, when applicable (such as SANPARKS, City Parks and Recreation, etc.)
  • Allowance made for one weather day



  • The introduction of Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Act has meant that the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – informally known as drones – is regulated for commercial application.

The RPAS Operating Certificate (ROC) is the final approval for commercial operation and means that the Drone Operator is approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to perform commercial services. Only legal ROC holders qualify for professional and third party liability cover. The operator is subject to mandatory, bi-annual audits and other ongoing compliance requirements by the regulator, the SACAA.

Registered, ROC compliant, SACAA-issued operators have to be in possession of the following:
– Air Service License (ASL)
– Radio Station License
– RPAS Operating Certificate (ROC)
– SACAA-approved RPAS Operation Manual (ROM)
– RPAS registration certificate (RPA/drone-specific)
– RPAS Letter of Approval (RLS, RPA/drone-specific)
– Remotely Pilot License (RPL, per RPA/drone pilot)

As a client, you have the right to see copies of these. Ask for it.

Non-compliance concerns:
SACAA direct compliance related: Fines up to R50 000 or 10 years imprisonment
Civil law suits: Liability suits are undefined and is dependent on the severity of the case
– Criminal charges: Serious, especially where death, injury or severe damage occurred as result of infringement of the Civil Aviation Act
The company or person procuring the services of a Drone Operator will be the primary liable party and secondary, the Drone Operator itself.

The general public is far from properly informed of the risk they face when illegal drone operations are performed.

All persons involved in illegal drone operations are all directly and jointly liable for any fines, imprisonment and liability lawsuits, where the instructing party (the end client) will be deemed first respondent. 

Any drone flight/operation must have the necessary approvals over and above the SACAA framework requirements, and include permissions from:
– Any person being flown
– The landowner where the operation takes place
– Neighbouring sites that may be affected.

INSURANCE: Professional, public liability and drone craft:
Only holders of a valid ROC can hold cover and are mandated to have sufficient third party and professional liability, as well as aircraft insurance. No third party and professional liability insurance is valid if the Drone Operator is not in possession of a valid ROC.

Collisions with structures or people on the ground:
Any damage will have devastating legal and liability implications for those involved, especially if someone is injured.

Collisions with other aircraft:
The SACAA defines drones as an aircraft. During any commercial drone flight operation the RPAS pilot has to communicate with other air traffic in the area to ensure awareness of RPAS operations, and for the RPAS Pilot to be aware of other air traffic. This is a vital step to ensure separation of any air traffic in a given area. Collisions between drones, or drones with manned aircraft, are deemed by the SACAA to be a collision irrespective of the aircraft being manned or unmanned.
(A liability example: A drone is ingested into the engine of a commercial jetliner. The aircraft lands and no-one is injured, but the jet-liner engine is damaged beyond economical repair.) 

Peace of mind:
Licensed commercial operators and their equipment are subjected to vigorous training and testing while illegal operators have no external control being exercised to ensure safe operation.

For reasons of YOUR company’s reputational risk and liability it makes sense to hire a professional Drone Pilot and Operator who are accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority, legally compliant, safe and insured.

*RPAS = drone