Nicole Swart , female, 23 and pilot had been awarded the first drone licence in Africa by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
Drone regulations prohibits drones from being operated by any pilot without a letter of approval. Drones are controlled either from the ground or by another aircraft, they are also called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems). It was until the beginning of July that Drones regulations came into act, before then, there was no need for licence
On 10th July, the South African Civil Aviation Authority issued the first licence to Nicole Swart which made her the first licensed drone pilot in South Africa. Swart holds the Airline Transport Pilot license, the highest pilot license in the country.
The licence was issued on 10 July to Nicole Swart,” said spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu. “It makes her the first person to receive such a licence in South Africa, the continent, and most parts of the world.”
“It was important for me to get a remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) pilot’s licence, as I believe technology is advancing rapidly and in the near future this mode of transport will be as common and necessary as cellular phones are in this era,” Swart said.
“I therefore wanted to ensure that when that time comes, I am already a step ahead.”
SACAA is processing about 10 drone pilot licences and 15 operator ones.
Drones can be to provide aerial surveillance, assist conservation efforts, scientific research. news coverage, crime fighting, photography and many other functions. Drones are used in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult.