Department of Information and Public Relations
Users of small unmanned aircraft, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones are being advised that they are subject to aviation rules.
Officials of the BVI Airport Authority are reminding the public that requirements for the usage of UAV can be found in the Air Navigational Overseas Territories Order 2013 (ANOTO) Article 73. The ANOTO governs the United Kingdom (UK) Overseas Territories and is regulated by the Governor via Air Safety Support International (ASSI).
Director of Operations of BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA), Mr. Coy Levons said, “There have been a number of complaints regarding the usage of drones in the vicinity of the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport and such continued activity has the potential to cause obstruction to the safe operation of aircrafts.
Mr. Levons said recreational users of unmanned aircraft should be mindful that usage of drones in the vicinity of the airport is prohibited unless prior arrangements have been made with both the regulator and BVIAA. He also cautioned users to maintain a safe distance of 50 meters from people and buildings and 150 meters from congested areas.
Operators of unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.
Operators are asked to avoid:
- Operating within an aerodrome traffic zone, without prior approval from the regulator and BVIAA.
- Flying at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in article 73 (4) sub-paragraph (a) or (b) in the ANOTO 2013.
- Flying over or within 150 meters of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
- Flying within 50 meters of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft;
- Flying the aircraft for the purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the Governor.
Users of unmanned aircraft should take personal responsibility and abide by the rules to avoid prosecution from the Governor.
The BVI Airports Authority continues to develop and operate a safe, efficient and economically viable system of airports within the Virgin Islands.
For more information on the operation of unmanned aircraft in the Territory please contact the BVI Airport Authority at 394-8000 or visit www.airsafety.aero/sua.