Drones have become not only one of the hottest tech products of this decade but also a source of controversy in many countries around the world, Lebanon included. Regardless of whether you’re a new Drone owner or an experienced drone operator, it’s important to realize that flying a drone isn’t as simple as opening the box and picking up the controller.
There are various laws and regulations that regulate drone use, and not being aware of them could get you in serious trouble. To help you enjoy flying and aerial photography without risking a brush with the law, we have written this article as the ultimate source of information for flying a drone in Lebanon.
Drone Laws In Lebanon
Aviation in Lebanon is regulated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a directorate associated to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT). The DGCA is composed of the Directorate of Airports, the Directorate of Technical Exploitation, the Airport Presidency, the Diwan, and nine other miscellaneous technical and administrative departments.
DGCA publishes the Lebanese Aviation Regulators, which specify operating and flight rules, operational and emergency equipment requirements, flight preparation, flight plans, and flight itineraries, pre-flight and fuel requirements, operations at or in the vicinity of an aerodrome, visual flight rules, instrument flight rules, radio communications, emergency communications and security, aircraft noise emission levels, air navigation, special operations, validation tests, and several other topics.
However, the Lebanese Aviation Regulators doesn’t contain any provisions that directly relate to drones in particular. What the Lebanese Aviation Regulators indirectly tell us is that drone use in Lebanon is allowed, at least as far as DGCA is concerned.
To make the matter slightly more complicated, the Lebanese Army announced in March 2017 that it would require companies and individuals that operate drones or other Remotely Controlled Aircraft with a camera in Lebanon to acquire a special permit from the Air Force. Those who fail to comply with this requirement can face a penalty or legal prosecution.
How To Get A Drone Permit In Lebanon
To get a drone permit in Lebanon, it’s necessary to send a written request to the Air Force. The request must include information about the company or individual that wants to get the permit, the reason why the company or individual is applying for the permit, the type of remotely controlled aircraft in question, and a rough schedule with flight locations and times of filming.
In addition to the written request, the Air Force also requires applicants to include a copy of the operator’s personal ID, a copy of the operator’s passport (in case the operator is a foreigner), and a picture of the remotely controlled aircraft with its serial number.
Because the application process may take a few weeks, it’s advisable to apply as soon as possible. Foreigners who would like to visit Lebanon to capture its beauty from above can send the application to the Secretary of General Staff via email or fax.
Tips For A Safe Flight In Lebanon
Even with a permit, you should always be mindful of basic safety practices to enjoy a problem-free flying experience.
- Don’t fly in bad weather: While stormy conditions may give your aerial photos and videos an intriguing atmosphere, a nice shot is seldom worth a broken drone. What’s more, bad weather conditions may cause your drone to fall from the sky unexpectedly and land on someone’s car, house, or even head.
- Respect others’ privacy: While people in Lebanon are generally welcoming, friendly, and open, you should never assume that someone wants to star in your movie. To avoid getting bad looks, always ask others for permission to film them before you take off and start zooming around high in the skies.
- Avoid crowded areas and government buildings: Drones have caused many injuries and dangerous accidents because many drone operators don’t understand that it’s never a good idea to fly something that weighs almost as much as a brick over other people’s heads. If possible, avoid crowded areas and always stay clear of government buildings and military facilities.
- Keep your drone in good working order: Inspect your drone before every flight to ensure that it’s in good working order. Periodically check the capacity of your batteries and replace them sooner rather than later.
- Don’t overestimate your abilities: As a drone operator, you must always remain mindful of your abilities, especially when flying in populated areas or over roads. Remember that it takes just one error to cause a huge accident.
Where To Fly In Lebanon
There are many beautiful places in Lebanon where drones are welcome. Here are five places you shouldn’t miss:
- Batroun: This coastal city in northern Lebanon is one of the oldest cities in the world and one of the most popular destinations in Lebanon. When in Batroun, make sure to fly your drone over the ancient Phoenician wall.
- Baalbeck: Also known as Balbec, this city in the Anti-Lebanon foothills east of the Litani River in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley is home to the Tell Baalbek temple complex and many other noteworthy ruins.
- Beiteddine Palace: Located in Beiteddine, this 19th-century palace is more drone-friendly than you might think, especially if you avoid the annual Beiteddine Festival.
- Temple of Adonis: Situated in Faqra, the Temple of Adonis is a famous ruin with a square court surrounded on three sides by a portico.
- Sidon Sea Castle: Built by the crusaders in the thirteenth century, this former fortress is one of the most prominent historical sites in the port city of Sidon.
Without many regulations and with countless beautiful landmarks, Lebanon is a land of opportunity for all drone operators who live for aerial photography. To avoid problems with the law, drone operators in Lebanon should get a drone permit from the Air Force and adhere to basic safety practices.
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