Kochi Metro Rail gets Drone use permission for Water Transport System project

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Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) usage to Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Kerala for Integrated Urban Regeneration & Water Transport System Project (IURWTS). This conditional exemption is valid till 31st December 2021 from the date of issue of the letter or until the full operationalization of Digital Sky Platform (Phase-1), whichever is earlier. This exemption shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated below are strictly adhered to. In case of violation of any condition, this exemption shall become null and void.

Conditions and limitations to Kochi Metro Rail Limited to use Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Integrated Urban Regeneration & Water Transport System (IURWTS) Project:

  • This exemption to KMRL from the paragraphs 5.2 (b), 5.3, 6, 7, 8.4,.9.2, 11.1 [d), 11.2 [a], 12.4, 12.5 and15.3 of CAR Sect on 3, Series X, Part I, is subject to exemption from Rule 15A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • The KMRL shall obtain necessary clearances from (a) Local Administration (b) Ministry of Defence (c) Ministry of Home Affairs (d) Air Defence Clearance from Indian Air Force and (e) Airport Authority of India (AAI) [as applicable] prior to operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
  • M/s Senselmage Technologies engaged by KMRL (through Techno Vision Survey & Mappings ltd.) shall only operate the RPAS models specified in the approved Standard Operating procedures (SOP)V.1.0.2020. 
  • 1 Revision No. dated 11″‘ January, 2021. The operations of the RPAS having valid Drone Acknowledgement Number  (DAN) [specified in the SOP] shall be operated as per the above mentioned SOP in the area specified therein. Any change in the approved SOP for e.g. Change in procedures or RPAS or use case or personnel or area specified in the approved SOP shall be included in the SOP and submitted to DGCA for approval.
  • KMRL shall ensure that only trained I experienced bona fide personnel operate the RPAS as per the approved SOP. Subsequently, the RPAS operator shall ensure that remote flight crew is trained through approved FTOs/ RPTOs.
  • The RPAS Operator shall ensure that the RPAS is in working condition and maintained as mentioned in the approved SOP and shall be responsible for any eventual ties due to malfunction I disorientation of equipment.
  • The RPAS operator shall maintain the records of each RPA flight and make such records available to the DGCA on demand.
  • KMRL shall take necessary permission regarding Aerial Photography from Directorate of Regulations & Information. DGCA or Ministry of Defence (as applicable). The photographs/video-graphs, taken through RPAS shall be used by KMRL only. KMRL shall be responsible for safety and security of RPAS and data collected through RPAS.
  • The RPAS operator shall ensure that the RPAS are made NPNT compliant [certified by QCI] as soon as the digital sky platform is made operational.
  • KMRL shall ensure that each RPAS operated by M/s Senselmage Technologies for the subject purpose has fire resistant identification plate inscribed legibly with OAN, DAN and Model No. of the RPAS.
  • The operation of RPAS shall be restricted to day operations (from sunrise to Sunset), within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) in uncontrolled airspace only and at a height of 200fl maximum from AGL.
  • RPAS shall not be operated in the vicinity of the airport as per the provisions of the CAR. If required to operate near the airport, approval from Airports Authority of India (AAI) and/or concerned airport/airfield operator shall be taken in advance regarding time and area of operations of RPAS.
  • KMRL shall ensure their no items are discharged or dropped during flight of the RPAS. The KMRL shall also ensure that hazardous material or variable payloads are not carried in I using the RPA under any circumstances.
  • KMRL shall ensure that uninvolved persons are not allowed within the operation area (including ground station) during the RPAS operations and ensure safety conditions specified in the SOP/RPAS flight manual and in this letter are adhered to.
  • KMRL shall ensure safety, security and privacy of public, property, operator etc. Further, in case of any eventuality, DGCA shall not be held responsible.
  • The operator shall ensure the RPAS is not flown in a manner to cause danger to any person or property. In case of any injury to any person due to physical contact with the equipment, the operator and KMRL shall be responsible for medico-legal issues. The KMRL shall ensure the insurance policy remains valid and of adequate level to cover any damage to third parties resulting from the accident I incident occurred during the operation of RPAS.
  • The operator shall not operate the RPAS in no-fly zones specified in Para 13.1 of the CAR Section 3, Series X,Part I without the approval of concerned Ministries/ authorities.
  • The KMRL and M/s Senselmage Technologies shall indemnify DGCA from any legal cases or any other issues arising due to these operations.
  • This letter shall not override other restrictions I SOP on Remotely Piloted Aircraft System framed by other Government Agencies or any bye-laws.
  • In case of incident/accident during any phase of the operations, the operator shall generate a report with full details to the Air Safety Directorate of DGCA within 48 hours of such event.
  • The Operator shall intimate the schedule of operation (location and date of operation) to DGCA (as and when available) well in advance for conducting safety oversight. In this regard, KMRL shall ensure access to DGCA is provided to perform this function.

Source: PIB-Press Release |  Image Credit: KMRL

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