I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

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I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:29 pm

Hello all,

First off, I am new to the drone industry or rather the aviation industry. I was bitten by the drone bug the moment I saw them and couldn't wait to get my first drone. I now own my own drone and have so much fun flying my drone as a hobbyist. Recently, however, I have been bitten by the bug to do what it takes to make it my primary source of income as I am crazy about flying drones and photography and figured "why not do what I love and make money doing it?"

Anyways, NEVER would I have thought that the process to become licensed and fly legally for money would be such a ridiculous circus! OK, this is just my experience and opinion and might come from a very naive standpoint and that is why I am posting this post to try and understand the logical reasoning behind why we even have a ROC and why we as South Africans have to fly under a ROC and yet international countries do not have to do the same.

So, I took it upon myself to get in touch with a specific person today that I won't name to protect their identity. This person was EXTREMELY close to the initial decision-making process of what regulations and laws we as South Africans have to abide by when it comes to flying any store-bought drones and let's just say that this person actually had a major influence for the existence of the ROC and why we as South Africans are now obliged to be regulated in this way.

So the conversation I had was one of the same nature as this thread. For me to understand the need for a ROC for people that simply want to fly drones offering services such as real estate property footage or rural land surveys or similar. I'm not referring to LARGE drones. I'm specifically referring to store-bought drones. Phantoms, Mavics etc...

The person gave me the following reasons that we in SA have an ROC and the other countries do not:

REASON 1
South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to implement any form of regulations around drones.

MY OPINION
ok, great that South Africa was the first and it is awesome to see a forward-thinking team of people and maybe because we were first, the ROC seemed logical at the time. However, as time has evolved (and don't get me wrong...we still have a long way to go) should this not be revised to categorise the different license classes better?

REASON 2
South African citizens are considered "irresponsible" and therefore we need to be more regulated because people in other countries such as Europe or the US do not drive through red robots as they will get arrested. Here in SA, people drive through red robots and get away with it so they take that behaviour and bring it to the skies.

MY OPINON
Yes, that is exactly what this person said to me. I was simply gobsmacked that this type of thinking was even on the table. I had no words...

REASON 3
South Africa is not other countries. We make our own rules.

MY OPINION
uhhh, is that even a reason to have a ROC?

REASON 4
Do you think that doing a 10-day course to get your RPL is sufficient enough to call yourself a pilot?

MY OPINION
No, it is not sufficient to call myself a pilot, but then I was not training to be a pilot. I'm training to fly small drones. It doesn't take 3 years for someone to train me in the rules and regulations in order to fly my little 734g drone. And if the training was the issue, why not make the training a more rigorous process before becoming licensed rather than enforcing a ROC on us that costs exorbitant amounts of money? Isn't that what I was trained for when training for my RPL? To be proficient in flying the drone safely and efficiently with the knowledge of the rules and regulations? Why does a ROC change that? What more does a ROC offer than an RPL offers? I just don't understand.

Anyway, getting the above responses from this person led me to wonder what the validity of this ROC was for? I can totally understand that a ROC should be in place for companies that might be flying drones larger than a certain size or weight and performing specific jobs that might call for the drone pilot to fly higher than the normally acceptable altitudes but should an RPL not be enough like our international counterparts?

Please understand that this post is simply trying to understand the reasons behind WHY we have to be regulated under a ROC. I just can't bring myself to understand the reasoning for the extreme decisions that was made other than it feeling like some money making racket.

Can someone here help me understand this? It feels very overkill to me. Am I alone in this thinking??

Thanks in advance
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by Wonko the Sane » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:13 am

fourwings wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:29 pm
Hello all,
.....trimmed.....
No, it is not sufficient to call myself a pilot, but then I was not training to be a pilot. I'm training to fly small drones. It doesn't take 3 years for someone to train me in the rules and regulations in order to fly my little 734g drone. And if the training was the issue, why not make the training a more rigorous process before becoming licensed rather than enforcing a ROC on us that costs exorbitant amounts of money? Isn't that what I was trained for when training for my RPL? To be proficient in flying the drone safely and efficiently with the knowledge of the rules and regulations? Why does a ROC change that? What more does a ROC offer than an RPL offers? I just don't understand.

Anyway, getting the above responses from this person led me to wonder what the validity of this ROC was for? I can totally understand that a ROC should be in place for companies that might be flying drones larger than a certain size or weight and performing specific jobs that might call for the drone pilot to fly higher than the normally acceptable altitudes but should an RPL not be enough like our international counterparts?

Please understand that this post is simply trying to understand the reasons behind WHY we have to be regulated under a ROC. I just can't bring myself to understand the reasoning for the extreme decisions that was made other than it feeling like some money making racket.

Can someone here help me understand this? It feels very overkill to me. Am I alone in this thinking??


Thanks in advance
You and '000 of other RPLs in SA...


W
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:36 am

Hi Wonky

I’m ajust a little unsure of your reply. When you say 000 are you meaning that thousands of other RPL’s are feeling the same as I am or that 0 other RPL’s are feelin the same. I suspect it to be the former.

Sorry if I’m being stupid. I’m just a little confused at what you’re saying.

Thanks in advance :)
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by Wonko the Sane » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:39 am

fourwings wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:36 am
Hi Wonky

I’m ajust a little unsure of your reply. When you say 000 are you meaning that thousands of other RPL’s are feeling the same as I am or that 0 other RPL’s are feelin the same. I suspect it to be the former.

Sorry if I’m being stupid. I’m just a little confused at what you’re saying.

Thanks in advance :)
Jip, the former, there are a lot of pilots out there that just want to make a few bucks while having some fun. My RPL cost me a tad under R20K and I can't do sh ! t with it...

W
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by RuanS » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:07 am

I do agree with the above. In my opinion it makes it impossible for smaller operations to exist. I looked into the ROC requirements and it is impossible for any small business to get started. There is an entire market that could be created legally. At the moment getting an ROC to take real estate photos or similar does not make sense financially. Why not relax the choke a bit for the smaller operators? Call it a ROC Lite. Drones under a certain weight or size, have insurance, make the RPL training more strict, use a licensed drone etc... here is a void that can be filled if the CAA would just look at it in a logical way.
That would not take business away from the bigger guys anyway. RTOs would benefit, the industry would benefit and a few more people would have jobs.
What the regulations are actually causing is for people to go fly where they are not supposed to, get paid for it and in my opinion making the sky less safe. Give people a reason to get licensed and legal, i.e. more accessible to operate as a small operation without the overkill regulations then more people would let licensed and overall be safer.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:15 am

RuanS wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:07 am
...Give people a reason to get licensed and legal, i.e. more accessible to operate as a small operation without the overkill regulations then more people would let licensed and overall be safer.
I couldn't agree with this more!!

It was clear to me that the person I spoke to almost "had it in" for us small operators as though we are polluting the airspace and we must be expunged and that's why the ROC exists. Of course not said in so many words but it came out in this persons attitude and abrasive replies to me.

This person (in my opinion at least) could not give me a SOLID reason why the ROC actually exists. Again I will say that it might be required for larger drone companies doing huge aerial surveys or similar but all I think that this person achieved when drawing up the regulations was creating outlaws and criminals so that this person can benefit from the cost and time it requires to establish a ROC as this person consults with companies to get the ROC drawn up.

Is there actually anyone or anybody other than JARUS fighting this? Or is JARUS not fighting this? I'm just wondering what is being done to challenge these ridiculous decisions.

Though I would LOVE to know...Why does a ROC change anything? What more does a ROC offer than an RPL offers? I just don't understand.
Someone standing in Europe flying his drone safely isn't flying it any different to me flying my drone safely here in SA. They don't have to fly under a ROC yet we do.....How does the ROC change anything in our country? Where is the logical reason for having it?

ROC made up of
  • Rules?
  • Have to have clear Instructions?
  • Have to have clear manuals
and probably more but a hobbyist can fly however they like as long as they stick to the rules. So why can't we as registered RPL's also just stick to the rules???? huh?!? this makes no sense but I guess TIA!
Last edited by fourwings on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by Wonko the Sane » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:18 am

RuanS wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:07 am
I do agree with the above. In my opinion it makes it impossible for smaller operations to exist. I looked into the ROC requirements and it is impossible for any small business to get started. There is an entire market that could be created legally. At the moment getting an ROC to take real estate photos or similar does not make sense financially. Why not relax the choke a bit for the smaller operators? Call it a ROC Lite. Drones under a certain weight or size, have insurance, make the RPL training more strict, use a licensed drone etc... here is a void that can be filled if the CAA would just look at it in a logical way.
That would not take business away from the bigger guys anyway. RTOs would benefit, the industry would benefit and a few more people would have jobs.
What the regulations are actually causing is for people to go fly where they are not supposed to, get paid for it and in my opinion making the sky less safe. Give people a reason to get licensed and legal, i.e. more accessible to operate as a small operation without the overkill regulations then more people would let licensed and overall be safer.
Agreed...
two things happening now...

1: Licensed RPLs are scared to fly without an ROC so are not doing anything (Knowing the rules in this case removes the ignorance) and as an(on record) pilot are afraid to lose their licenses

2: the majority of (small shop bought)RPAS owners are thinking... "f <<moderated - language>> that licence sh !t... just fly and do what you want until someone complains.

Sad but true

My RPAS is worth a couple of R10K's and I am not willing to have it confiscated by some badged moron acting under the authorities say so..

W
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:21 am

exactly....this person I engaged with said to me that just like I cant drive my car without a license, so to can I not fly without a license.

So I replied and said that I completely agree...but again..what is the purpose of the ROC? How does a ROC make any difference to how I fly?

no answer of course.

I think this ROC is only there to put money in the pockets of those people consulting to help companies to get a ROC.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by heisan » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:20 am

Here is another reason... If it were not for ROCs, it would still be years before we had any commercial drone operations in SA.

The Air Services Licensing Act pretty much covers everything that flies for remuneration - and it does not include a mechanism where anybody (even the minister) can allow operations without a license.

The ROC is part of the process of integrating the ASL requirements into the CARs.

I understand that there is some movement towards having the Air Services Licensing Act amended, but this is a long process, and has to go through public consultation, parliament, and finally the president. Many such amendments take 10 years or more to process (this should not be very contentious, so should be quicker).

But for the time being, Part 101 is constrained to work within the existing Acts regulating what the CAA can and can't do.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:27 pm

heisan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:20 am
Here is another reason... If it were not for ROCs, it would still be years before we had any commercial drone operations in SA.

The Air Services Licensing Act pretty much covers everything that flies for remuneration - and it does not include a mechanism where anybody (even the minister) can allow operations without a license.
wait... So you’re saying that to make it commercially allowed we must have a ROC??

Why? What does having a ROC do that having your RPL doesn’t? Why does having a ROC make it commercially viable??

If having a ROC makes so much sense then why aren’t other countries implementing the same?
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by Trevor Duane » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:17 pm

Honest advice, listen less to your friend or specific person. based on what he told you or rather the fact that you still have questions, hy praat kak met you or is just trying to impress you.

Take what Heisan said more seriously , he is absolutely correct in his opening statement.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:22 pm

This person was one of the people who drew up the regulation of the ROC.

But why is his opening statement correct? No one can tell me a solid reason why a ROC exists. The only answers I get is equivalent to “just because”
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by zander » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:32 pm

Multirotordronepilot wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:17 pm
Honest advice, listen less to your friend or specific person. based on what he told you or rather the fact that you still have questions, hy praat kak met you or is just trying to impress you.

Take what Heisan said more seriously , he is absolutely correct in his opening statement.
What a joke. Rather listen to your Friend. ROC does make no sense you are absolutely right.

The only reason it is in place is so it can be used as a cash cow by the sour old greedy pioneers of the industry losing their greedy part of the cake and because of the corrupted bureaucracy, who do you think swayed the decision for this monopolistic circus in their favour in the first place ?
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by fourwings » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:36 pm

zander wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:32 pm
Multirotordronepilot wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:17 pm
Honest advice, listen less to your friend or specific person. based on what he told you or rather the fact that you still have questions, hy praat kak met you or is just trying to impress you.

Take what Heisan said more seriously , he is absolutely correct in his opening statement.
What a joke. Rather listen to your Friend. ROC does make no sense you are absolutely right.

The only reason it is in place is so it can be used as a cash cow by the sour old greedy pioneers of the industry losing their greedy part of the cake and because of the corrupted bureaucracy, who do you think swayed the decision in their favour in the first place ?
At least I’m not being naive in this. I am yet to be given a SOLID reason for the existence of a ROC.

I agree that this is a cash cow. I’ve heard stories of the quotes given to companies for consultation on ROC manuals in excess of R50k per month for 6months.
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Re: I want to understand the logical reasons for an ROC?

Unread post by heisan » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:56 pm

There you go. See if you can find any way to operate anything defined as an aircraft (therefore including drones) commercially, without either an operating certificate, or modifying this act.
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