NEW DELHI:In the wake of security threat owing to unregulated flight of micro-light aircraft, powered hang gliders, hot air balloons and para gliders, the government is formulating a Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) to ensure a safe airspace in the country.
Most of these flights, part of adventure sports across the country, could be used as guided terror vehicle to target key installations, said a top security official.
A four-page note, issued by the government on the proposed regulation, reveals that areas of operation and flying activities are likely to be notified away from sensitive installations.
Operators of these adventure sport flights will also have to submit flight details to the concerned magistrate.
“Operator has to maintain proper log book and submit the same in office of District Magistrate on a quarterly basis. In addition to cancellation of the license, Directorate General of Civil Aviation would work out provision of strict penalties for violation of conditions of license and punishments for transgression beyond the notified area,” the SoP, suggested by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), said.
The MHA has also made it clear that “no leasing or renting of aerial vehicle is allowed” and people including tourists will not be allowed to carry Camera while operating the microlight aircraft, powered hang gliders and hot air balloons.”They will not be allowed to intrude into the air space beyond the authorised area of operation especially keeping in view that it is not possible to monitor such aircrafts moving beyond the reach of naked eyes in absence of radars or direction finders etc,” the note further pointed out.
India’s civil aviation regulator, DGCA, will be tasked to register the operator and to ensure implementation of Civil Aviation Requirement after obtaining security clearance from the MHA.
A senior official said the proposal was hanging in balance since 2013, but received fresh impetus in July last year when the MHA directed the DGCA to formulate a mechanism to ensure compliance. Subsequently, in September 2014 a high level meeting of officials from Ministry of Defence, DGCA , Intelligence Bureau and MHA was convened to iron out the vexed issues.
The MHA is also examining security threats from civil use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV or drone). It has noted with concern the frequent use of drones in wedding and other public functions. The MHA note said Ministry of Civil Aviation has formulated guidelines for civil use of drone and examining the SoPs from security angle. “As there are number of serious inputs from various agencies about possible misuse of aerial platforms, a detailed examination is required before MHA communicate its comment,” the note said.