South African drone industry interest group launched

June 21st, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

The South African Federation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SAFU) was launched in Kyalami in Johannesburg on 20 June 2019, to establish a platform for collaboration between regulatory authorities such as the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the drone industry.

The federation’s membership comprises private drone companies, and was founded by NTSU Aviation Solutions (which constitutes the leadership team) and associate members Rocketmine, UAV and Drone Solutions, and Compact Aerial Services. Other members include FC Hamman Films, Skyhook, Salaria, and Scarab Drones.

SAFU secretariat Dale McErlean and chairman Sam Twala.

Setting out its purpose, its chairman, Sam Twala, said the federation aims to unite the drone industry around common objectives to find solutions to the challenges impeding the industry’s development. The non-profit organisation will also seek to create a link between the CAA and other government institutions to advance the industry’s interests. It hopes to improve the current Part 101 legislation which was introduced in 2015.

Twala said the organisation will also play a role in collecting data that is important to the industry, including safety data (e.g. crash data) and economic data, which is important for policy, economic and airspace design.

SAFU will also participate in public education and awareness initiatives, including developing materials to educate the industry and the public about drone regulations and general UAS knowledge sharing.

These are the goals set for its first financial year, with long-term strategies still being formalised. Members interested in joining can do so by completing the membership application form on the federation’s website at www.safuas.co.za.

Contact SAFU, info@safuas.co.za

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