Drones Over Columbia

Down in the tech mecca that is Columbia, the government has issued regulations concerning drone ownership and use. Let’s take a quick look, shall we?

#1: A Required Training Course
We must take a Private Pilot Course identical to some of the basic courses real plane pilots must take. This might seem like a good idea, only there are a few catches: it must be taken at an aeronautics school authorised by the Aeronáutica Civil, and to date none has been authorised to teach such courses.

Also, should they be authorised, several of these schools have confirmed these courses will cost at least $5,000 USD. Oh, and by law they must be renewed every six months.

#2: Mandatory Insurance
We must take out insurance policies covering damages to third parties in case of any incident. Again, no problem here…except no Colombian insurance company offers such coverage for drones at the time of writing this article.

#3: Communication with Air Traffic Control
Quite in accordance with drone policies in many other countries (and with common sense), we must not fly within a 5km radius of any airport. However, we must make sure we establish radio communication with the nearest airport control tower before and during every flight.

Yes, that’s correct: all drone operators must own radios with ranges upwards of 5km and capable of the frequencies airports use, the cheapest of which cost more than a DJI Phantom and require a license to operate legally. Not to mention how many airport controllers would be required to handle all these completely unnecessary communications, and how many plane pilots might be affected by drone operators interfering with their quite necessary communications with airports.

#4: Flight Plans 15 Days Before
Before every flight, we must submit “flight plans” both to the Aeronáutica Civil and to the Colombian Air Force. They must be submitted with at least 15 working days of anticipation to each flight, and in addition to the details of the flight, each request must justify why that same job cannot be performed by a regular airplane.

This last point contains an obvious hint as to why the Aeronáutica Civil has taken such a drastic stance on drones. It turns out this entity is tightly connected to the handful of aviation companies that used to make thousands of dollars on every flight involving aerial photography, videography, and the like, but with the widespread use of drones, their precious cash cow is dying. So unsurprisingly, corruption is the real motivation behind this new law, not the safety of our citizens.

Holy crap – no wonder our Congress can’t get anything done; they’ve obviously been off moonlighting for Columbia – these absurd regulations have all the hallmarks of their ineptitude. Though as Columbia codifies these idiocies, expect Congress to do much the same here in order to pacify our traditional aviation companies the name of “national security.”

Drones Over Columbia

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