There are certain restrictions and requirements to fly unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone in Turkey. If you pay attention to these, you can use these technological toys without harming both yourself and your environment. The government agency overseeing the civil aviation sector in Turkey is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). DGCA has made drone flying under certain conditions with the legislation it introduced. Now, every drone user who does not comply with these conditions is punished or drones are dropped without the need for any warning in places where the local authority is ordered.
All UAVs are included in this legislation except state-owned UAVs, those used indoors, devices or balloons attached to the ground, and UAVs with take-off weight less than 500 g.
UAVs classified according to take-off weights are divided into 4 classes. According to their weight, they are classified as iha0 between 500gr and 4kg, IHA1 between 4kg and 25kg, IHA2 between 25kg and 150kg, and IHA3 between 150kg and above.
If you want to fly your UAV outside of residential areas or in areas determined by the civil administration in the city, you are doing this for hobby or sports purposes. You can also fly for leisure purposes in out-of-city areas that are not prohibited by the local government. A UAV pilot certificate is not required for this.
If you are going to fly within the city and in residential areas, this flight is determined as a commercial flight according to the legislation, even if it is for hobby purposes. If you are using iha0 or iha1 to perform this flight, you must obtain a UAV Pilot Certificate from DGCA authorized flight schools and obtain a flight permit from DGCA.
In order to fly UAVs in IHA0 and IHA1 classes, you must take UAV pilot lessons from authorized flight schools. At the end of these lessons, the authorized flight school must give you a drone certificate and a drone license. You have to upload the certificate to the system and keep the drone license with you on every flight. To be eligible for the certification, you must take the designated courses and attend each course. Currently, no exam is required. After you receive the UAV pilot certificate, you must log into the account you have created at the DGCA and apply for commercial pilot registration. For this, you must upload the certificate, certificate type, passport photo and health report to the system.
What is UAV flight permit? In which cases is permission required?
If flights are to be carried out for sportive and amateur purposes with IHA0 and IHA1 class UAVs, there is no need to obtain permission from the DGCA except for the designated areas (inner city, no-fly zones, etc.). However, in order not to have any problems with law enforcement officers who are unaware of the legislation, it is useful to go to the law enforcement centre (gendarmerie station or police station) of the relevant region and explain the situation. In addition, if there are prohibitions of the top administrative authority of the area where the flight will be made, it must be complied with.
If commercial flights are to be carried out with UAVs in the IHA0 and IHA1 categories and this flight is out of cities and residential areas, there is no need to obtain permission from the DGCA. However, attention should be paid to the no-fly zones and flight rules.
If commercial flights are to be carried out with UAVs in the IHA0 and IHA1 categories, and if this flight is within the settlements, permission must be obtained from the DGCA except for the prohibited areas. For this, it is necessary to fill in the flight permit request form on the website of DGCA and every question asked in this field must be answered. If the flight permit request sent by the DGCA to the local authority is deemed positive, the flight information is published in the NOTAM (Notice to Airman). If there is any negative opinion, the request will be denied. This process can take a long time and sometimes, a month. For this, if necessary, it is useful to check your documents by going to the local administrative authority of that region.
UAVs such as the DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Air that are 500 gr and below do not have to be registered in the system. However, there is a possibility that this limit may change in the future. If you own a UAV in the IHA0 and IHA1 classes, it must be registered with the DGCA no matter what purpose you are flying for. The following documents are required for registration with DGCA: TR Identity Number, name, surname and residence information, telephone number, e-mail and contact information, criminal record for those older than 18 years of age, a notarized document that they accept criminal liability for those under 18.
UAVs in IHA0 and IHA1 classes purchased from a licensed vendor from SHGM must be registered through the online system of DGCA. For this, the company that imports and sells must enter your TR ID number into the system and transfer the UAV to you and you must accept this transfer on your own through the system.
If you have purchased one of the UAVs included in the IHA0 and IHA1 categories abroad, you have to register the detailed information within three days by entering the system. This information includes; UAV’s manufacturer, brand and model, serial number, place and date of production, maximum take-off weight, TC identity number, address and contact information of the UAV owner and criminal record.
The QR code that the system gives you after the registration is the certificate of the authorized UAV. You have to paste it on a visible part of your UAV.
Can someone else with a pilot certificate use a UAV registered on me?
All individuals with a pilot certificate can use the UAV with the permission of the owner. The point that should not be forgotten here is that all responsibility that may arise during the flight belongs to the owner of the UAV.
Insurance requirement for drones
There is also an insurance requirement other than permission and registration to use drones of 25 kg and above. The purpose of this insurance is to cover the possible damages of the drone to third parties. In this way, it is aimed to cover the damage that will occur in the event of a possible accident. If you already own such a drone, you must submit your insurance documents while obtaining a flight permit.
Age limit for drone flying
If you want to fly a drone weighing up to 500 grams – 4 kg, your age must be at least 12 years old. This age limit is 15 for drone models weighing 4 kg – 25 kg. In addition, there is an obligation to obtain private pilot licenses for drone owners of higher classes. Since these licenses are obtained for a certain period of time, the licenses must be renewed with additional training at the end of this period.
Drone pilots of 25 kg and over are subject to certain flight time limitations in addition to all these. For example, they can only work 10 hours a day and the monthly flight time cannot exceed 150 hours. Pilots of this type of drone devices are obliged to keep a flight log as well.
You can find detailed information about drone or UAV flights, which are subject to these and many similar rules, in the instructions document prepared by DGCA.
Where are prohibited areas for drone flying?
The General Directorate of Civil Aviation offered UAV Flight Zones Map for drone users so that UAV owners can see the red and green zones.
You can access the map of city-based flight zones from the “Operations”-> “Flight Regions Map” menu after individual registration to the UAV Registration System from the https://iha.shgm.gov.tr/public/login link. As a drone owner, you can see the red and green regions on a provincial basis. UAV Flight Zones Map is constantly updated in line with demands and needs.
The following regions are closed to all UAVs without the approval of the DGCA:
- Areas at a distance of 9 km from airports, regardless of height,
- Residential areas (requires permission),
- “In prohibited, restricted and dangerous areas” included in the Aviation Information Publication (AIP),
- Around critical structures, facilities and assets such as military buildings and facilities, prisons, fuel tanks and stations, weapon / cartridge factories and depots,
- Areas announced as forbidden by NOTAM
What are the conditions for flying UAV?
The following rules must be followed for unrestricted amateur and commercial UAV flights:
- You should only fly during the daytime. Even if you have permission, you cannot fly after the sun goes down.
- UAV must be flown in weather conditions with a vision of at least 2 km.
- The UAV must be in the pilot’s field of vision, not exceeding 500 meters horizontally.
- An elevation of more than 120 meters should not be made from the ground.
- The flight should be made at least 50 meters away from people and structures.
Translated by Bazaar Times Team