A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the confusion created by a new set of regulations regarding drone flights in Malta. Back then we had asked Transport Malta for some clarifications, and they’ve gotten back to us recently, so evidently, we weren’t the only ones asking questions.
How high are you?
One of the bigger bones of contention was the maximum height limit of 60m, as of 31st December 2020. Although EU laws allow flights to rise to 120m, TM’s got people’s safety at heart, since all of Malta is a controlled air space. Having said that, you can still apply to fly at a higher altitude. A risk assessment will be conducted and submitted to TM-CAD, and if all the conditions are met, then the flight will be approved.
The same applies to nighttime flights. The reason is because of reduced visibility, but if you need to film or snap photos at night, apply beforehand, and your submission will be reviewed.
“Flights can take place from 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.“
Another thing that had enthusiasts and commercial pilots worried was the apparent 5-day waiting time for flight clearance. If your flight clears all the safety regulations, then it will be approved by the system immediately. The 5 days waiting applies to submissions that fall foul of the “open” category, and need to be reviewed and coordinated not just by TM, but by anyone affected by the drone’s possible flight path.
These new regulations “were developed by EASA after several years of consultation with stakeholders across Europe”, although the community in Malta feel hard done by, and with good reason. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who need to be following the rules, so it would have been better if local stakeholders were also consulted.
Police officers, as well as Transport Malta inspectors, will be enforcing the new regulations.
So, drone pilots, does this clear things up, or is there more you’d like to know? Hit us up in the comments!