Update: Oct 2020 on drone flying laws in Singapore

EDIT: They changed the name slightly again on 22 Oct 2020, it is now UABTC and not UABT any more but we can’t be bothered to edit the whole post.

There has been some small but important updates.

By Feb 2021, all existing commercial drone operators in Singapore must have the new UAPL – unmanned aerial pilot license. This is a add on to the existing UOP permit. You must still maintain your UOP. yeah, nothing is stopping them to come out with anything new in 2021, 2022 or whatever with UAPL 2.0 and creating something from thin air to add on to the UOP that will make you pay more ON TOP of the UOP you would have already been holding.

Recreational flyers who stick to the law of not flying above 200 feet, has a drone that is less than 1.5kg and do not fly 5km near any aerodomes are ok. Flying the Mavic air, mavic mini, Phantom 3, Phantom 4 are all ok. You just need to register your drone and have a CAAS sticker affixed.

Recreational flyers who fly bigger drones like the Inspire 1/ 2 will need to take the UABT. unmanned aerial basic test.

If you are flying anything above 7kg like the DJI M600 you must have the new UAPL and depending on your activity, you may require the Class 1 or Class 2 activity permit as well.

Man charged with illegally flying drone to take pictures of MINDEF’s Gombak Base, Gali Batu Depot

SINGAPORE: Over three days in October last year, a man allegedly flew a drone over protected areas and took illegal photos of the Ministry of Defence’s Gombak Base and the Gali Batu Depot.

Russell Wong Shin Pin, 20, was given eight charges in court on Thursday (Oct 15) under the Air Navigation Act and Infrastructure Protection Act.

He is accused of flying the drone without a relevant permit at a park beside Cashew Road and Upper Bukit Timah Road on Oct 8 last year.

On the same day, he allegedly flew the drone up to 225m over Gombak Base, which is a protected area, and took a photo of the base with the drone.

Charge sheets state that Wong went to a car park near Stagmont Ring the next day and flew the drone up to 543m above mean sea level and within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome. He did not have a permit at the time, said court documents.

That day, he allegedly flew the drone over Gombak Base and used the drone to take a photo of Gali Batu Depot, which is also a protected place.

Wong is accused of similar acts on a third occasion on Oct 19, 2019, when he went to Dairy Farm Lane and flew a drone up to 574m above mean sea level and within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome. He did not have the relevant permit at the time, said charge sheets.

Wong will return to court on Oct 29.

Under the Air Navigation Act, anyone convicted of operating a drone over any part of a protected area can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both. If convicted under the same Act of taking a photo of a protected area using a drone, he could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both.

For operating a drone without a permit, he could be fined up to S$20,000 if it is his first such conviction.

He could be jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$20,000 or both if convicted of taking prohibited photos of a protected area using a drone under the Infrastructure Protection Act.

The police said in a news release that they do not condone the flying of drones in an “unsafe and irresponsible” manner, as this poses risks to aviation and public safety and security.

They advised drone users to refer to the OneMap.sg website or mobile application to check for areas where flying of drones is not allowed without a permit.

Any drone weighing more than 250g must be registered before it can be used in Singapore.

From Feb 1 next year, some drone users must obtain a certificate or licence before operating their drones in Singapore.

Source: CNA/ll

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/man-charged-drone-mindef-gombak-base-gali-batu-depot-13285208

Drone Registration starts

All drones above 250 grams must be registered before use in Singapore.

Stickers for registration can be purchased online at Shitpost Singpost. it will be an offence to fly any drones above 250 grams without registration after 2 April 2020. There is a grace peroid of 3 months from today, 2 Jan 2020.

More info here.

We flew the DJI Mavic Mini

Mavic Mini is here. We took it out. Our thoughts…

Once again, the provided bag can’t seem to fit everything in nicely. It’s too tight a fit but could be due to our type of plug/ british type. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the best designed in the world and i love it too. It’s just a little big at times.

Charger

The charger that charges the batteries comes with a single port USB plug. The charging block houses a USB port and a android type B cable is provided for you to charge your remote viat his port. However, if the batteries are charging, you will not be able to utilise that USB port. Batts need to be full or removed for that port to be active. it can however, also be used as a power bank to charge the remote, your handphones/ ipads when on the road with the batts inserted.

Batteries

You no longer can tell how much batt is left in the battery unless you have the charger with you.

Smart Modes/ Obstacles Avoidance

You do not get any smart modes with this drone. You only get GPS and Sports mode, Cinesmooth/ tripod mode. No orbiting, no follow me, no hyperlapse and no obstacles avoidance. Nothing else.

There’s a little feature to let you know where your drone is at all times. Kind of useless but well, it’s there.

Range

The range seemed better than the Spark flying at the usual field. One negative thing is, the signal do not gradually get bad. It just cuts off suddenly and if you stubbornly do not stop immediately, when the video does return, you’ll find yourself at a totally different location. We did a good 300 meters which is plenty but practically, stay within 100 to 150 meters is ideal. Flying through tight space is useful for the Mavic Mini.

Camera/ Samples

Conclude

Its a useful little drone, great for first timers but could grow out of it really quickly. It does not have a lot of features at this price point which is expected.

The DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Spark, Mavic Mini, Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro are available from Camera Rental Centre at a great rental price. Check them out.

Litchi, it does a lot but should do more.

[3 April 2019]

It’s been years since Litchi is around. Recently, we took the updated (Feb 2019) update for another run.

Litchi, unlike Altizure allows syncing to the “cloud”. You can then edit your missions/ waypoint anywhere on any device so long you log in to the same account. Of course, the catch is, Altizure is mostly free and you can do quite a lot already for aerial 3D scanning. $22.99 Litchi should do more.

It can do so much more. Recent Mavic 2 Pro suddenly did away with Course Lock and Home Lock. Seriously DJI? That’s like the most basic function any beginner/ intermediate users can use to learn about drones.

With Litch, it is 1 tap away.

Panoramas

We are limited to 13 actions. Maybe Litchi is afraid on the mission file size that’ll be transmitted to the drone.

  • Allow for more than 13 action so that multi rows panramas can be implemented. THere’s already the pano pre-setup. Adding one more action of tiling gimbal +30 degrees, 13 more action of the pano, -30 of the gimbal tilt and another 13 action of the pano, -90 tilt with 1 last pic should allow a good 360 panorama. We’ll love to see this.
  • If size of the mission is an issue, maybe allow the user to select the type of drone before we set up.

Flight Logs

GUI

Maybe it’s time for an overhaul of the GUI. It’s getting kind of kiddy with the GUI. I just hope changes don’t make it multi version, DJI Go, DJI Go4 another DJI app for the gimbals that they have. DJI Assistance 2, Assisant for Mavic 2, Assistant for Phantom. Do better! One app for all of them.

Mission

The mission’s GPS is flawless. However with multiple tests this is what I observed. Note take off and landing is always at the same spot.

  • Every change of battery seems to change the heading a little. I need exact heading set within the app. Any deviation change my FOV of the subject I was taking.
  • The ability to check cache video or photos is highly needed. There is no option other than to go back to a computer and check the SD card. Any mistakes would mean a whole day of shoot again. It it’s used for things that only happen once, you’re f*****.

Conclude

Thus for complex shots you know you’ll have the time to play around with. Litchi is a good tool. For production shot, that require repattative shots, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. The GPS function is good. With a team of pilots, you simply have to export the mission file out and share it. You’ll hit the exact spot every single time. Just make sure your gimbal degrees and heading are accurate. Dont depend on Litchi.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro: What we expected, what we got and where we go from here

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro. We’ll look at the Pro version and not the zoom (yet).

What’s the difference

Again, don’t compare this with the Mavic Air or even the Spark. This is to be compared with the Mavic Pro (1).

  • Front, back and sides obstacle avoidance sensors
  • Slightly larger but still foldable, the larger size felt more stable when in the air
  • Improved camera
  • Hyperlapse (this is addictive)
  • Longer battery life

Hyperlapse

The Mavic 2 Pro has brought aerial hyperlapse to a whole new level where even beginners with a few taps can shoot these wonderfully great looking hyperlapse(s).

It exceeded some expectration. All around obstacle avoidance and the bottom auxillury light is a good add on.

The size is still managable, it’s slightly bigger than the Mavic (1) Pro.

Smart Controller

The DJI Smart Controller for the Mavic 2 Pro is beautifully made. I think the weight could be reduced a little but it seems the super bright screen does need more battery life.

Precise Fly Safe Database (PFSD)

If you have updated your PFSD to Version 01.00.01.14, you’ll be swearing a lot.

Grey limits you to 150 meters. Some overlapping areas do not allow you totake off at all.

See details at https://www.dji.com/sg/flysafe/geo-map

We’ve done some unlocking as we hold permits for a year long project. It does seem to work on unlocking some areas without asking us to produce our permits.

The DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro are available from Camera Rental Centre at a limit rental price. Check them out.

We flew the DJI Mavic Pro

We flew it, here’s our thoughts. Out of the box, the yaw is too sensitive to us. Great for pictures, tracking with videos will be hard

Distance is great! Built up area and we flew 2.1km easily getting shots we never tried before with confidence.

Drifts quite a bit in little wind. Gesture modes works but we don’t think we’ll be using it often.

Wifi is a great alternative to control the Mavic but as the transmitter is already so small, dont think why you wouldn’t want to bring it out. It’s also useful for that 1 quick photo you need but do not need to go a far distance or need much control. Something like take off, go up to 100 to 200 meters, snap and land and be on your way.

The Mavic is available for rental at http://sg.camerarental.biz/