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DGCA warns of fake drone pilot training organisations, says such bodies will be penalised

There are websites that falsely advertise by claiming association with the DGCA, according to reports.

In a public notice issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian government warned citizens of fake drone or remote pilot training organisations (RPTO) offering remote pilot training programs.

In the notice, dated March 2, Arun Kumar of DGCA said that it was brought to their notice that many RPTOs, unrecognised by DGCA were claiming to be approved by the body and were allegedly luring candidates through misleading advertisements.

“In view of the above, All such organisation/person are hereby warned that as per Rule 50 of Drone Rules 2021, appropriate penalty shall be levied by DGCA, if found involved in such fake activity.” – DGCA notice.

According to Rule 50 of Drone Rules 2021, the Indian government, if it has been proved that a person has failed to comply with Drone Rules 2021, may penalise the person of a sum not exceeding Rs 1 lakh.

The Drone Rules 2021, which superseded the earlier Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Rules 2021, abolished various restrictive norms. Recently, the Indian government introduced an amendment that further simplified the new rules and said that certain types of drones will not need a license to legally fly, but instead will need certification from one of the 12 DGCA-recognised drone schools using the Digital Sky platform.

Not just RPTO, other associations are claiming to be DGCA affiliated

The DGCA said that apart from RPTOs, few NGOs, federations, trust, associations and so on were allegedly giving misleading advertisements on their websites. They were claiming to be associated with DGCA/approved DGCA and were collecting membership fees from drone startups and companies in the drone industry.

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“General public is hereby advised to be cautious about such demand as DGCA does not support such activity. Information about such fake RPTO may be reported to DGCA Drone Directorate on email-drone.dgca@gov.in,” the DGCA informed.

Following are the authorised RPTO, according to the Digital Sky website —

  • Alchemist Aviation Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ambitions Flying Club Pvt. Ltd
  • Flytech Aviation Academy
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi
  • Pioneer Flying Academy Pvt. Ltd
  • Redbird Flight Training Academy Pvt. Ltd.
  • The Bombay Flying Club
  • Telangana State Aviation Academy
  • CASR Anna University
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademy(IGRUA), Himachal Pradesh
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademy (IGRUA), Karnataka
  • Drone Destination Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ganpati Aviation Solutions
  • Government Aviation Training Institute (M/s Global Avianautics Ltd.)

Govt recently prohibited the import of foreign drones

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has prohibited the import of foreign drones with immediate effect, according to a notification by the DGFT on February 9. Exemptions from the ban have been provided for drones used for research and development, defence and security purposes. However, the import of drone components will remain free, the notification added.

With the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021 (notified on 25th Aug 21), drone airspace map (24th Sep 21), drone PLI scheme (30th Sep 21), UTM policy framework (24th Oct 21), drone certification scheme (26th Jan 22) and single window DigitalSky Platform (26th Jan 22) in place, this is a good time to invest in the Indian drone industry,” — Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Amber Dubey.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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