Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Cops’ ban on flying objects hits Mumbai’s engineering students

Mumbai: A strict ban on drones, aeromodels and other light flying objects, imposed by an edgy Mumbai police, has affected engineering studies in the city.
Project work of students at leading institutes like Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, K J Somaiya College of Engineering, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute have been stalled since October 2016 when cops informed student asociations that such objects posed a security threat to the city. A December 29 circular said the ban would be in force from December 31 to January 29. But the restriction was not lifted subsequently.
Students design and fly such models as part of coursework. Aeromodelling is also a popular sport and has spawned national and international competitions which see participation from across the country.
The activity falls within a grey area since the Indian aviation authorities are yet to frame rules governing the flying of microlights and drones. Draft guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) bans model aircraft along with drones, unmanned aircraft and other remotely-piloted objects, but they are yet to be passed as a law.
Some colleges have petitioned the Indian Academy of Model Aeronautics (IAMA) seeking its intervention to enable their students to conduct flying tests at Mahalaxmi racecourse.
01/03/17 Yogita Rao/Times of India