Flycam drone users in Vietnam must be licensed

Camera-equipped drones, known as flycams, have become increasingly popular in Vietnam, especially among photographers and filmmakers, but few people know they need permission from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to fly the devices.

flycam drone users must be licensed hinh 0 VNA quoted the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper as reporting that sales of flycam drones have been booming in stores in major cities and on online shops.

The paper’s reporters visited shops in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap district, District 10, and District 3 and were shown flycam drones with prices ranging from VND2 million to VND30 million (US$90 to US$2,200).

According to the shops, most buyers are young people, backpackers, or photographers.

One flycam user who lives in Go Vap district told the paper that “using a flycam drone is not difficult, you just need to practice. You can fly the drone anywhere you like but should not fly in sensitive areas [military or police-controlled areas] because you will be fined and the drone will be seized.”

Ninety per cent of flycam users are unlicensed, he told the paper.

The owner of a wedding studio said his photographers usually used flycams to take wedding photos and videos. “Most photo albums and videos clips are made in deserted areas such as mountains or beaches,” he said. “So we have not asked for permission and nobody has asked us to show a license.”

MoD regulates the use of flying cameras under Decree No. 36, issued in 2008, but the regulations are unfamiliar with local drone owners.

Colonel Nguyen Xuan Tien from the MoD’s air force division 370 said flycams were strictly regulated.

MoD has asked ministries, sectors, and localities to strengthen their management of flycam drones to ensure aviation safety.

Organizations and individuals must seek permission from the ministry before using flycam drones, and can use them only once licensed.

Those who wish to import, export, design, produce, or sell the drones must also be licensed by the ministry.

The Hanoi-based Department of Operations of the General Staff is the agency that grants licenses to flycam users.

Flycams flying at altitudes below 50 meters are managed by district-level military commands, Colonel Tien said, while those flying from 50 meters to 200 meters are controlled by district military commands.

Drones flying from 200m to 500m are monitored by the air force defense sectors of military zones in the area the drone is being used in, while air force defense divisions of Air Defense and the Air Force are in charge of managing flycams flying above 500 meters.

People who wish to use flycam drones in public must also join licensed aviation clubs, the Colonel said.

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