Frequently Asked Questions: Drones

  1. What is a Drone/unmanned aircraft system (UAS)?

“Drone” is an aircraft without a human pilot on board the aircraft. It is also known by several other names such as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), etc. however, under the scope of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the terminology Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is not in use since the vehicle falls under different jurisdiction.

  1. Is it mandatory to register all the drones?

Yes, it is mandatory to register all the drones that are imported into Bhutan. As per circular any types of UAS are allowed. But they can fly only in following operation condition:
1) VLOS ops
2) Height not exceeding 300ft (90m) above ground or water level
3) Out of restricted and danger area, air routes and 3 miles out of airports

In addition, BCAA allows drones of weight 6kg (incl. battery & camera) and below in current practice.

  1. What are the legal requirements for flying a drone?

Pending the finalization of draft UAS regulation, BCAA has issued Advisory Circular (AC) no. BCAA 003/6/3 dated 26 April 2016 vis-à-vis UAS operation, as an interim measure. This AC will be superseded by the UAS regulation, currently in draft stage, upon its finalization and endorsement. The draft UAS regulation has been sent to all the stakeholders for review and comments for finalization.

  1. What are the legal restrictions when flying a drone?

The applicant or the drone operator has to sign an Undertaking with BCAA when obtaining a flying approval from BCAA

  1. Where do I start if I want to get permission to fly a Drone?

Kindly go through the Advisory Circular (AC) issued to the general public by BCAA.

  1. How do I get the certification and how do I register my drone?

The Applicant or the operator needs to visit Flight Operation/Legal Section, Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority, Paro International Airport for registration.

  1. Where can I fly drones in Bhutan?

There will soon be a “negative list” furnished by this office where the drone activity will be prohibited. As of now, before finalization of draft drone regulation, BCAA will specify the terms and conditions for flying of drone at the time of issuing the approval.

For more queries or information please contact the following drone focal of BCAA:

  1. Jigme Thinley, Flight Safety Officer, (jthinley@bcaa.gov.bt)
  2. Dawa Yangchen, Legal Officer, (dyangchen@bcaa.gov.bt)
  3. Sangay Tamang, Sr. Airworthiness Officer, (stamang@bcaa.gov.bt)

Or Visit/Contact Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority in the following address:

Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority

Ministry of Information and Communication

Paro international Airport

Paro, Bhutan.

Post Box: 1229 

Tel:  PABX +975-08-271347