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Drone pilot training sought by aviation office

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Drone pilot training sought by aviation office
Courier delivery drone in action. Photo: DHL
10:59 CEST+02:00
The federal civil aviation office (BAZL) in Bern wants to introduce stricter laws to regulate the use of drones, which are becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland, a media report says.

A requirement for mandatory training to acquire a drone pilot's licence is being proposed, at least for the operation of larger drones, the Blick newspaper reported on Thursday.

A growing number of private individuals are using the remote-controlled craft for recreation and to take aerial videos.

But companies such as Amazon and Swiss Post are also testing their use for deliveries, while the Swiss Army and police forces are using them for surveillance.

The federal government is planning to spend 250 million francs to acquire military drones from Israel, German-language state broadcaster SRF reported on its 10 vor 10 current affairs programme on Wednesday night.

All this raises the spectre of an ever-rising number of remote-controlled aircraft hovering over Swiss skies with minimal restrictions.

The prospect of chaos in the air is worrying the civil aviation office, Blick reported.

At the moment anyone in the country can buy and operate a drone, the newspaper noted.

Since last August, small drones have been subject to some regulations, including being unable to fly them over crowds without approval, Blick said.

But Urs Holderegger, BAZL spokesman, said regulations are lacking for larger drones.

These are needed because of fast-changing technology, Holderegger said.

See also: DEUTSCHE POST LAUNCHES DRONE DELIVERIES

BAZL has proposed dividing drones into three groups — hobby drones, simple drones and professional drones.

For the third category a new profession — drone pilot — is being proposed, with training similar to that undertaken by aircraft pilots.

Swiss representatives presented their proposals two weeks ago to the European Aviation Safety Agency, where it was well received, Blick said.

The agency wants to adopt the Swiss regulatory approach, the newspaper said.

The aim is to apply the same rule for drones throughout European airspace.

However, implementation of the new regulations may take some time, Blick said.

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