Moving shots of sweeping vistas. Dramatic aerial views of the volcano crater in Curepipe. Getting close up and personal with the giant water lilies at the Pamplemousse Gardens. These are iconic moments in Mauritius that you can really only capture with a drone.
It is legal to fly a drone in Mauritius. If it is for recreational purposes, you won’t need a license, but you do need a license if you are using the drone for commercial work. You will need to apply to the Department of Civil Aviation. They will grant a license for Permission for Aerial work, if certain conditions are met.
For both recreational and commercial use, you must follow the general rules for operating drones in Mauritius.
In this post, we’ve included some tips for traveling to Mauritius with your drone. We’ve also included an overview of the rules and regulations for drone flight in Mauritius.
It is legal to fly drones in Mauritius
Only recreational drones under 15.5 lbs (7 kgs) can be flown without a license in Mauritius. As the operator, you will need to be sure that the drone won’t cause any damage to anything or anyone.
Drones being flown for recreational purposes don’t need a permit. If you fly the drone outside the established limits, you will need to get permission from the local aviation authority, the Department of Civil Aviation.
You do need to apply for a license if you want to use a drone for commercial purposes in Mauritius.
Rules governing drones in Mauritius
One of the most important things to remember is that drones can be intrusive.
- It is thus necessary to make sure you don’t invade anyone’s privacy with your drone.
- It must also be kept away from any sensitive areas, including military facilities.
- You may not take any photos of areas that are marked as sensitive.
Safety is, of course, another important point to remember.
- You may not drop anything (including an animal) from a drone, even if it is attached to a parachute.
- You may not fly the drone unless you are confident that the flight can be made safely. This includes looking at the weather, only flying when the weather is good.
- You must be able to see the drone during the whole flight. This means you will be able to keep it out of the way of other flying craft. It also means you can only fly during the day.
- You can’t fly your drone within Classes C, D and E airspace without the permission of the CAA. These classes of airspace have borders around controlled airspace, such as airports.
- There is no drone flight allowed within 5 miles (8 km) of an airport.
- You can’t fly your drone anywhere around an aerodrome without the permission of the aerodrome’s air traffic control unit.
- You may not fly your drone above 400 feet (120 m), unless you have permission to fly it in controlled airspace, which alters this requirement.
- You may also not fly your drone within 164 feet (50 meters) of any vessel, vehicle, person, or structure that is not being controlled.
When a permit is necessary for recreational use
You may wish to fly a drone in Mauritius in a restricted area. You may also want to fly it beyond what the general rules allow. In these cases, you will need to apply for a permit from the Mauritius Department of Aviation.
Flying a drone commercially
If you are planning to use a drone for your work, you will need to apply for a license. The DCA will review the application. They will take your requirements into account, including the competence of who will pilot the drone.
Another important consideration is where you intend to fly the drone.
The application procedure is more complicated for drones that weigh more than (44 lbs) 20 kg.
Applying for Permission for Aerial Work license
When you apply for a Permission for Aerial Work license in Mauritius, there are conditions to be met.
Competency of the pilot
You must be 18 years or older and show that you understand airmanship, airspace, aviation law, and good flying practice. You will need to pass a practical flight test. You will also be required to present a detailed plan of the type of flights you intend to undertake.
Details of the license
The license is valid for up to 36 months. You will need to renew it before the approval period is over. This must be done at least 30 days before the expiry date. You can’t apply longer than 90 days before that date.
If you don’t renew your PWAF, it will become invalid. You won’t be able to continue using your drone for work until you apply for a new one.
The DCA will charge you a fee for the PFAW. This is MUR10,000 (about $230.00).
A PFAW is specific to one drone. If you need to use a different drone with a different size and weight, you must contact the DCA immediately.
General regulations for drones
You may be granted Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW). This is only relevant to the safety aspects of using the drone. You are still required to follow the general rules and regulations for operating a drone in Mauritius.
Using a drone in the Film industry
If you are involved in the film and television industry and want to use a drone in Mauritius, you will need to apply for a PFAW and to the Mauritius Film Development Corporation.
Insurance on your drone
If you are going to bring a drone into Mauritius for recreational purposes, it’s not necessary to take out insurance on the craft. However, it is always safer to do so. Make sure you are covered for travel to a foreign country.
If you are using the drone for commercial use, you do need to have it insured. When you apply to the DCA, you’ll need to provide evidence of the insurance.
Transporting your drone
When you travel, you may think it’s safer to keep all your delicate equipment with you. This includes a drone. This is not always practical, especially if your drone is larger.
Wherever you put your drone, it must be protected.
When you include it in your carry-on bags, make sure you have space for it. If you do pack the drone in your check-in baggage, make sure it is thoroughly protected. Airline baggage can be bumped around, so keep your drone from being knocked about.
Some airlines may require you to keep your drone with you. It is best to check with the airline before you fly to check on the specific rules.
Taking your drone through customs
When you leave the United States, you should register your drone as “Personal Effects Taken Abroad.” This will prevent you from being charged for it as an imported item when you return.
When you go through Customs in Mauritius, it’s a good idea to declare the drone to the customs officials. This will make sure you keep the fact that you are traveling with a drone transparent throughout your trip.
Traveling with batteries for your drone
Most drones use lithium polymer batteries. When you are traveling, you will undoubtedly take spare batteries for your drone. Most airlines allow batteries installed in drones to be packed into your checked-in (hold) baggage.
Spare lithium batteries may not be packed in the hold. They must be in your carry-on bag. In fact, it is preferable to put all your batteries in your cabin bag.
There is a chance that any battery can cause a problem on a flight. It is preferable to carry all the batteries for your drone with you in the cabin.
You may want to protect your drone and pack it adequately in your checked-in baggage. If so, you should remove all the batteries and put them in your carry-on bag.