Aerial Photography Policies

Legal and Ethical use of Aerial Photography Policies

> Aerial Photography Policies

Legal and Ethical use of Aerial Photography Policies

For Journeys Photography Club

April 2021

The interest of using aerial photography is growing and the legal and ethical use of drones, balloons and aircraft by photographers is needed within the JPC. The following polices and guidelines shall govern their use in all JPC Divisions and International Exhibitions. Aerial images captured by drone, balloon or aircraft may be used for division competitions, international exhibitions, portfolios of distinctions and audio-visual programs as described in the rules for each event if they comply with both the legal and ethical policies included herein.

Drone Photography Rules (legal operation):

Drones are legally described as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) which can produce either a single image or multiple images which are shown as video and is controlled by an operator (photographer) on the ground. All UAS operators are responsible for knowing and following all laws and regulations where they operate, whether local, state, national or international, particularly in parks, refuges, recreational and designated wilderness areas.

  1. The rules for the use and flight of UAS are different in different countries and any JPC member must follow and adhere to the rules of the country where the images are captured.
  2. In India operation is governed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, their rules can be found at
  3. All UAS must be registered, and the assigned aircraft must display its registration number. It is highly suggested that the operator’s information also be attached to the aircraft.
  4. All operators (photographers) must obtain, at a minimum, a recreational pilot’s license from the MCA, or the governing body of the country in which the UAS is being flown.
  5. Within India the following MCA rules must be adhered to:
  • All drones except those in the Nano category must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
  • A permit is required for commercial drone operations (except for those in the Nano category flown below 50 feet and those in the Micro category flown below 200 feet).
  • Drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight at all times while flying.
  • Drones cannot be flown more than 400 feet vertically.
  • Drones cannot be flown in areas specified as “No Fly Zones”, which include areas near airports, international borders, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations, and military installations.
  • Permission to fly in controlled airspace can be obtained by filing a flight plan and obtaining a unique Air Defense Clearance (ADC)/Flight Information Center (FIC) number.

Drone Categories in India

Registration is required for all but the Nano category.

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams (.55 pounds)
  • Micro: From 250 grams (.55 pounds) to 2kg (4.4 pounds)
  • Small: From 2kg (4.4 pounds) to 25kg (55 pounds)
  • Medium: From 25kg (55 pounds) to 150kg (330 pounds)
  • Large: Greater than 150kg (33 pounds)

Required Drone Equipment in India

Also worth noting is that India has specific requirements regarding the types of features a drone must have to be flown in India (excluding those in the Nano category). These mandatory requirements include:

  • GPS
  • Return-to-home (RTH)
  • Anti-collision light
  • ID plate
  • A flight controller with flight data logging capability
  • RF ID and SIM/No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT)

India’s No Permission, No Takeoff Policy

Before every single flight, drone pilots are required to request permission to fly via a mobile app, which will automatically process the request and grant or reject it. India is calling their system “No Permission, No Takeoff” (NPNT). If a drone pilot tries to fly without receiving permission from the Digital Sky Platform, he or she will simply not be able to take off.


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ARON WISHLEY Founder & Director

NIMA SEDAN Chief Executive Officer

JOHN FALMI Head Manager