On 9th April 2021, the government of India published a list of 66 Green Zones. These will serve as temporary zones for the operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) up to a maximum altitude of 400 ft AGL (Above Ground Level). This is the first publicly available list of airspace zones for drone pilots in India. Certified drone pilots may fly NPNT-compliant drones in the Green Zones with valid permits (UAOP/UIN) following the UAS Rules 2021. View the complete list of Green Zones here.
What are Green Zones?
Indian Airspace is divided into three parts: uncontrolled airspace, controlled airspace, and no-fly zones. Green Zones are parts of uncontrolled airspace where drone pilots can conduct operations without any restrictions. These zones have their geometries defined in the released AIP but have 400 ft AGL as their vertical limit. However, drone pilots still need to request permission through Digital Sky at least 24 hours prior to the drone operation.
Green Zone Map
Although the government has published the list of Green Zones and their coordinates, the visual data is not yet available outside of Digital Sky. To view the visual map of the zones, a user would first have to create an operator profile on Digital Sky, upload identity proofs, select NPNT-certified drones and upload drone-related documents, permits, and licenses. Finally, when the operator moves to flight planning, he/she can select the flight area from a visual map.
Although the 66 Green Zones are barely enough to facilitate large-scale countrywide drone operations, they will help initiate the process for the addition of more zones. Drone pilots can now conduct operations at the nearest zone from the AIP list. Firstly, pilots need to get certified by a DGCA-approved drone training institute. To become a certified drone pilot, applicants need to obtain a student pilot license, followed by a radio operator’s certificate, and finally a remote pilot license. Read about the entire process in detail here. One of the many hurdles, which was flight planning can now be addressed with these zones on the way to more drone-friendly regulations.