International Drone Day 2023

International Drone Day is observed annually on the first Saturday in May, meaning this year it falls on Saturday 6 May 2023. It is a day used to celebrate and highlight all things related to drones.

What are drones?

A drone is a type of aircraft that is controlled by a pilot (operator) however the operator is not actually inside the aircraft, instead they control the aircraft remotely via remote control.

Drones are not only used recreationally around the world but also commercially to take aerial photographs and videos, surveillance, search and rescue, gathering data, delivering supplies, and monitoring property, amongst other uses. Advantages of drones include their flexibility and affordability, as well as their ability to reach areas that a human operator would be unable to physically access themselves. 

This year on St Helena, a few weeks are being dedicated to promote and raise awareness around the safe operation and legal requirements of these operating small unmanned aircraft (SUA’s), which are more commonly known as drones.

Drones have become increasingly popular globally by both hobbyists and professionals. Like the rest of the world, on St Helena the purchase and operation of drones is on the increase. On Island, drones are used for both private and commercial purposes. 

The use of drones across St Helena and its territorial waters is governed by the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order (AN(OT)O). 

Persons and or businesses using a drone in St Helena for commercial purposes (work for gain/  valuable consideration) are required to apply to the Island’s airport regulator, the Air Safety Support International (ASSI), and seek permission to conduct aerial in accordance with the AN(OT)O.

Why are drone rules important?

A drone operator is legally responsible for flying their drone safely. Therefore it is important operators fully understand their legal responsibilities, which are to be considered each time they are planning a flight.

Essentially, under the AN(OT)O a drone operator’s responsibilities are to:

  • Seek the relevant permissions from:
    • ASSI (Commercial flight requests)
    • St Helena Airport (for Restricted and No Fly Zone flight requests)
    • Authorities (Commercial / Operational areas) and Land Owners (Private land)
  • Operate in accordance with the ASSI Direction restricting the use of drones and implementing the St Helena Drone Fly Zone map (Safe Fly Zone, Restricted Fly Zone, No Fly Zone)
  • Keep your drone within sight at all times
  • Not fly higher than 120m (400ft) above ground level
  • Fly only in good visibility and weather conditions
  • Consider rights of privacy
  • Keep your distance:
    • Do not fly within 120m (400ft) of any congested area
    • Do not fly within 120m (400ft) of an open air gathering of more than 400 persons
    • Do not fly within 45m (150ft) of any person, vessel, vehicle, building, structure or overhead grounds of people at any height which is not under the control of the person in charge of the Drone

Non-adherence to regulations set out in the ASSI AN(OT)O is a serious offence and will result in summary conviction and penalty.

More information

Guidance on the use of drones can be found on the St Helena Airport website and the ASSI website

All drone operators, new or experienced, benefit from rules and safety tips to help them fly safe – Drone safety is the law. 

Have a question about Drone operations on St Helena? If so, information enquiries may be sent to SHG Civil Aviation via email address, or by telephone on 22477. Alternatively these can be directed to St Helena Airport via email address or the Accountable Manager Gwyneth Howell by telephone on 25175 / 63131.

Fly safely, stay in control!

#StHelena #InternationalDroneDay #DroneDay

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470