Updated: Oct 2020
The Recreational Flyer
By Feb 2021, you must have obtained a UABT (Unmanned Aircraft Basic Training) cert in order to operate a drone in Singapore if you’re operating a drone that is 1.5 – 7kg. It cost $30 and can be taken at authorised training organisations. As of writing, there are 2 such organisations here. If you’re flying the DJI Mavic 1, 2 Pro, Air, DJI Spark. You just need to have the CAAS stickers, stay below 200 feet, out of 5km of any aerodomes, you do not need a UABT to fly.
The Commercial Flyer
You will need to have a UAPL Unmanned Aircraft Pilot License. In order to get that, you will have to have attended an optional training with an approved training organisation, pay $125 for the theory test, completed a practical test then apply for the UAPL at $500 and has perpetual lifetime. Commercial flyers would have been informed a year in advanced, this is just for info.
You are on short term visit to Singapore, for holiday. If your drone is below 1.5kg, you do not need UABT. See above under recreational flyer.
After you have hold any of the above, your drone must have been registered with CAAS. The stickers cost $15 each and must be displayed on the drone. Register here.
So what if you do not have the above? What are the penalties?
Users who fail to comply with the UA Basic Training requirements could face a fine of up to $50,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or both for a first offence and up to $100,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both for a second or subsequent offence. In addition, users who fail to produce a valid UA Basic Training certificate, UA Pilot Licence (UAPL), activity or operator permit during the verification checks by CAAS enforcement officers could face a fine up to $20,000 for a first offence, and a fine of up to $40,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 15 months, or both for a second or subsequent offence.
It is what it is
As of writing, Aug 2020, this is what is being done and what will be done come Feb 2021. There are comments on how this is killing flying in Singapore, how it will stifles innovation or even STEM, education on drones. I think we have to see it from a safety point of view. There has been multiple cases of errant flyers. It was slowly coming to a point where the authorities have to step in. The comparison can be done with the Personal Mobility Devices (PMD) that was recently banned in Singapore. No e-scooters, hoverboards and electric skateboards etc on footpaths.
Do we want this hobby to be completed banned? There are 6000+ drones being registered with CAAS as of writing, do we want to be kept to a specific field, Singapore being already so small, how crowded will this field be?