Soaring High with Responsibility: Drones, Regulations, and the Open Sky

Soaring High with Responsibility: Drones, Regulations, and the Open Sky


As drone technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, hobbyist drone flying has shot through the roof in popularity across India. The thrill of taking stunning aerial videos and photos is exciting. However, increased drone use has also led to growing safety and privacy concerns.

To address these worries, India has implemented Digital Sky, a national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform. All drone operators must register on Digital Sky and follow its regulations and guidelines. This includes hobbyists flying recreationally.

If you're an Indian hobbyist drone pilot or want to start, this guide breaks down key things you should know about flying drones responsibly under Digital Sky. Adhering to Digital Sky opens up fantastic opportunities to pursue drone flying while respecting others’ rights.


What is Digital Sky?

Launched in 2018, Digital Sky is India's national UTM platform overseen by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). It offers real-time tracking and digital licenses for every drone flight under India's Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) governing drone use.

All drones except nano category (under 250 grams) must obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) to fly legally in India. You must also file flight plans and follow other protocols submitting details like pilot name, drone category, area of operation, flight time, etc.

Digital Sky aims to systematically manage India's low-altitude airspace under 400 feet.


Why Follow Digital Sky as a Drone Pilot?

You might be wondering if Digital Sky's regulations apply to flying drones for fun as a pastime. The response is yes. In India, any non-nano unmanned aircraft, regardless of their purpose of being recreational or commercial, are required to adhere to Digital Sky regulations.


Here are key reasons to follow Digital Sky protocols as a drone pilot:

  1. The Law of the DGCA and CAR provide legal authority to Digital Sky regulations. Penalties for violations include up to three months in prison and fines of at least Rs. 100,000.
  1. Improving Privacy & Safety: Drone collisions in midair can be avoided by registering flights, avoiding no-fly zones, and following other regulations. Furthermore, it prevents unauthorized access to private property.
  1. Enables Advanced Drone Functionality: By demonstrating your ability to fly safely, Digital Sky unlocks enhanced drone capabilities, such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights beyond 1 km, which hobbyists may find intriguing.
  1. Clears the Path for Commercial Aviation: Proving your ability to fly responsibly in accordance with Digital Sky criteria is the first step toward perhaps obtaining commercial drone licenses in the future.

Supports Innovation: Adaptation of Digital Sky helps concrete drones' huge technological innovative potential in India through accountable, sustainable growth policies.

(Key Tips for Hobbyists on Digital Sky Compliance

Here are some essential tips for hobbyists to follow Digital Sky rules while enjoying UAVs:

Register any and all Non-Nano Drones: Every unmanned aircraft system over 250 grams(>250 grams is called a nano drone), requires a Digital Sky UIN linked to its make, model number, serial number, etc. So properly register eligible hobbyist drones.

Obtain Pilot UAOP: Hobbyists are required to obtain a pilot-based UAOP permission in addition to registering their drones. This permit is renewed every five years upon exam clearance, even for recreational flights.)

  1. File Flight Plans: Before flying, upload thorough flight plans to the Digital Sky site, which should include the date, pilot, drone's purpose, planned flying zone, duration, and any other necessary information required so that the site has complete information before you start flying.

Comply with Geo-Fencing Guidelines: Similar to airports, geo-fencing digitally specifies no-drone flying zones. To prevent violating prohibited airspace, make sure recreational drones have appropriate geo-fencing technology.

(Maintain Mandatory Insurance: To financially safeguard the public in the event of an accident, hobbyist UAS operators are required by Digital Sky to at least get a basic third-party liability coverage.)

  1. Fly Responsibly: Whether you're a hobbyist or not, stay away from risky activities that put people's safety or rights, such as flying drones over busy areas, in poor weather conditions, or beyond visual line of sight.
  1. Sober Flying: Never operate a drone hobbyist while you are drunk or intoxicated. Full consciousness is mandatory for a secure flight for your and community's safety.
  1. Acknowledge National Drone Regulations: In addition to Digital Sky, make sure you are familiar with all national, state, and municipal UAS laws that apply in India. These laws include things like nighttime bans and height restrictions for flying the drone. Violation of the same can cause legal issues and severe financial penalties.
  1. Spread Digital Sky Awareness:  Encourage other beginners to have an overall knowledge and awareness of Digital Sky in order to increase compliance. Additionally, offer the DGCA suggestions for enhancing drone regulations that as a hobbyist you feel would increase your experience while maintaining the safety of others. 
  2. Join local drone communities, forums, and social media groups to engage with fellow enthusiasts. Share your experiences, seek advice, and learn from others' journeys. Community support is invaluable in your growth as a drone pilot.

Pursuing Passion While Respecting Others

Embarking on the thrill of drone flying, enthusiasts are often met with a mix of excitement and concerns about regulations. In India, the growing drone ecosystem, driven by initiatives like Digital Sky and the Draft Drone Rules 2021, is present to strike a balance between technological innovation and public safety. This environment opens up opportunities for hobbyists to explore the skies responsibly, with a supportive framework in place to not endanger public safety while making .


With Digital Sky's secure operating environment, hobbyists are able to concentrate on developing their skills and following their creative passions. Imagine shooting stunning pictures, competing in exciting races, or becoming an aerial expert—all without having to worry about legal roadblocks. Understanding this enthusiasm, insideFPV provides a range of drones which are categorized into FPV (First-person view) and non-FPV These drones enable users to release their creativity across large terrains by meeting a variety of purposes, from cinematography to effective data collecting.


Consider rules as stepping stones rather than as limitations toward creating a responsible and creative drone community. By using safety precautions when flying, you can fully realize the immense future potential that drone technology offers while safeguarding the community from accidents. Take flight, explore, and create - with the right tools in hand and a clear sky ahead of you. The open sky awaits, full of endless possibilities.



In Digital Sky, a future where drones that enhance lives power India's skies buzzes with possibilities. In this thrilling story, enthusiasts play an active role, influencing the very direction of drone innovation by their responsible behaviors rather than being passive observers. They assist us in striking a balance between our limitless potential and the advancement that is fueled by trust by embracing safety and ethics. This joint adventure guarantees that the Indian skies will be transformed into a platform for responsible progress as well as innovation, where our drones and the public's faith in our vision will soar together. The skies are limitless, and with responsibility and creativity, let’s all soar to new heights in the world of drone piloting. Happy flying!



  • Do I need to register my recreational drone with Digital Sky?

A: Yes, all non-nano drones above 250 grams operated in India require Digital Sky registration and a Unique Identification Number (UIN), even those flown solely for hobby or competition purposes. Exempting hobbyist UAS from Digital Sky could compromise public safety and violate national airspace rules.

  • What if I don't file a flight plan before recreational drone use?

A: It is against the law to operate hobby drones without submitting the required Digital Sky flight plans, which include information about the location, credentials of the pilot, duration of the flight, purpose of flying, date, and so on. This is valid even for recreational flying. Breaking Digital Sky regulations can result in severe civil fines of at least Rs. 100,000 as well as possible three-month prison term under national UAS legislation.

  • Who regulates hobbyist drone use across different Indian states?

A: Local, regional, state and national laws continue to enforce UAS rules, even though the national low-altitude airspace below 400 feet is governed by the Digital Sky platform. States provide other recommendations as well. Therefore, hobbyists need to abide by both Digital Sky and any local state laws pertaining to drone use.

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