CAAZ approval of flying of drones in far remote places welcomed

By Owen Mandovha

Zimbabwe is expected to expand the use of drone technology in the industry and society following the approval of certification for remote pilots to fly drones to faraway places.

In Zimbabwe, flying of drones was only done under the Visual Line of Sight whereby the pilot should maintain visual contact with the drone not beyond 500 metres.

However, it was a major drawback to the country’s adoption and use of drone technology, which is transforming industrial processes and the society at large.

In a first for Zimbabwe, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has licensed drone operators under the Beyond Visual Line of Sight whereby a remote pilot is not required to maintain visual contact with the remotely piloted aircraft to manage its flight and to meet separation and collision avoidance responsibilities visually.

“BVLOS refer to an operation in which a remote pilot cannot maintain direct unaided visual contact with the remotely piloted aircraft to manage its flight and to meet separation and collision avoidance responsibilities visually. When the remote pilot maintains visual contact with the aircraft, this is referred to as Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). Most commercial and corporate drone operations are BVLOS operations since they want the drone to get to faraway places,” Mr Munyaradzi Chiduwa, Flight Operations Inspector with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, said.

One of the certified training organisations, Drone Solutions Academy Executive Director Jeremiah Musabayana says this is huge milestone for Zimbabwe in terms of transforming industry.

He said, “This is a huge milestone and a game changer for the country because it will create massive opportunities in terms of expanding the use of drones which are transforming industries such as mining and agriculture.”

The use of drones is becoming widespread in industries such agriculture and mining, hence this certification will match Zimbabwe’s adoption and use of drone technology to global standards.

Rwanda is the first country on the African continent adopt the use of drones in transporting medicines to hospitals and clinics in remote areas.