TEMPORARY RESTRICTED AIRSPACE AROUND THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN

SUBJECT: DECLARATION OF A TEMPORARY RESTRICTED AIRSPACE AROUND THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN AND THE PROHIBITION OF DRONES, DIRECTING LASER BEAMS AT AIRCRAFT AND PERSONS DURING ARMED FORCES DAY ACTIVITIES

Due to increased aircraft activity around the City of Cape Town as a result of Armed Forces Day 2019 air operations by the SA Air Force, a temporary restricted airspace has been declared by aviation authorities in the area.

The intention of Air Operations within the greater Western Cape airspace is to create awareness and instil a sense of pride and patriotism in the people of South Africa. Military aircraft operating in the Western Cape Region will conduct fly-past and aerial displays within the legal limits of the South African Civil Aviation Authority and Military Regulations.  All aircraft will be under control, by both military and civilian air traffic controllers (ATNS), and will be monitored closely. 

Local and International airspace users are aware of the military flying operations as the necessary communication has been distributed by means of published notices. Additionally, engagements with the local flying fraternity from minor airfields and international airports management were conducted.  These engagements foster close civil military relationships in the aviation sector and create understanding of the planned South African Air Force activities.

Furthermore, and in the interest of aircraft, pilot and public safety, members of the public are warned against the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS-Drones) laser beams or any such devices directed at pilots and aircraft in the sky or persons as this poses tremendous hazards to their safety.

The public of the Western Cape are requested to refrain from interfering with any aviation activities, civilian or military, as interference can constitute a criminal offence. Particular attention is drawn to pointing of lasers at aircraft and the flying of RPAS. The South Africa Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has previously published the following statement concerning the pointing of lasers at aircraft (SACAA, n.d.):

“Members of the public using laser pointers should take note of the risks involved when distracting pilots or air traffic controllers on duty. The potential disastrous consequences of laser beams directed at aircraft by civilians on the ground cannot be ignored.

Flashing a light beam or other energy source, whether visible or not, towards any aircraft, air traffic control tower or any person therein is prohibited by the Civil Aviation Regulations and contravention could result in a fine or imprisonment of 10 years, or both.”

The public in the Western Cape, in particular residents and visitors to Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Muizenberg and Table View/Bloubergstrand in the Cape Town metropole are sensitised that these areas have been declared Temporary Restricted Airspace. The flying of RPAS, also referred to as drones, is therefore prohibited at these venues at the time when the SANDF is displaying to the public. The regulations concerning the flying of drones is summarised accordingly as follows: 

  • Drones cannot fly more than 400ft or 120m above the ground, nor within 10km of an aerodrome or WITHIN RESTRICTED AIRSPACE.
  • Drones cannot be flown within 50m above or close to a person or crowd of people, structure or building – without prior SACAA approval. Nor can you fly drones adjacent to or above:
  • A nuclear power plant.
  • A prison.
  • A police station.
  • A crime scene.
  • A court of law.
  • National key points.
  • You cannot use a public road for the take-off or landing of a drone.
  • You cannot use a drone in adverse weather conditions, where your view of the drone is obstructed since visual contact must be maintained with the drone by the operator – unless in approved beyond visual line of sight or night operations.
  • Drones need to give way to all manned aircraft and should avoid passing over, under or in front of manned aircraft, unless it passes well clear and takes into account the effect of aircraft wake turbulence.

The SANDF urges the public to cooperate with the aviation safety guidelines provided herewith to ensure safe demonstrations and displays. We are proud to display in the Western Cape and trust that the residents and visitors of Cape Town will enjoy the experience. 

The full details of the CAA Aviation Regulations related to RPAS Part 101 can be found on the aviation authority’s website    www.caa.co.za

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