The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) issued Dubai Civil Aviation UAS Operations in October 2023. The DCAR-UAS defines the policies and requirements to regulate UAS-related operations in the Emirate of Dubai.

The document is broken down into 9 sections to define the policies, requirements and supporting references for drone operations within the Emirate of Dubai. Within the sections there are several articles which have been summarised by Juajo Sola in the following document.

The UAS Categories for the Emirate of Dubai have been defined as Basic, Advanced A, B and C and Certified.
The specifications for each category are in the infographic below:

Murzilli Consulting's infographic of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority's UAS Operations Categories

It should be noted that in addition to the infographic, all recreational UA operations must stop and land immediately if a safety risk would be imposed on individuals, property or other aircrafts. The pilot must also land immediately if they observe any air traffic within or in the vicinity of the operation area.

Section A Airspace Usage for UAS Operations

DCAR.UAS.A.01 - Airspace Policies for UAS Operations 

This policy states that UAS operators should ensure their operations have been planned strictly following the Dubai airspace regulations and zones as per the Dubai UAS map. A UAS operator should also have up-to-date information on the Dubai airspace and needs to make this information known to all parties involved in the operation. They must have all relevant external systems and support services required to maintain control of the UA for the entire duration of the operation. The UAS must also be able to operate in the environmental conditions of the Emirate of Dubai.

The second part of the article “DCAR.UAS.A.01 states that UAS operations must not be conducted in prohibited areas, restricted areas without authorisation or controlled airspace without authorisation. UAS operators must also have a valid DCAA UAS Operations Safety Assessment (DUOSA) in order to perform any Advanced Category UAS operations.

It should also be noted that DCAA may change the borders of any UAS Airspace area or zone as needed. 

DCAR.UAS.A.02 - Airspace Limitations for UAS Operations

The operational limits for UAS operators during the planning and execution of an operation are defined in this article. The maximum attainable height above ground has been set at 120m (393ft). All UAS operations must be planned to maintain a safe distance from; groups of uninvolved people, buildings and structures, other UAs, and airports, helicopter landing sites or airfields.

This policy also states that UAS operations must not, under any circumstances, fly over military areas, police areas, embassies or prohibited areas marked on the Dubai Drone Map. UAS operations are also not allowed to fly continuously over pedestrian walkways, motorways or metro and tram lines in the Emirate of Dubai.

Murzilli Consulting's drone view of the city of Dubai

Section B UAS Importing, Exporting and Trade

DCAR.UAS.B.01 - UAS Importing 

This policy defines the requirements to be met by the importer of UAS manufactured outside the Emirate of Dubai. It states that any organisation intending to import UAS, parts or components must be registered and authorised under the DCAA.

The steps involved in obtaining registration under the DCAA organisation require the importer to declare compliance with the Dubai Civil Aviation Regulations (DCAR). They must also apply for a UAS Import Authorisation and have a relevant valid trade license from DED or Dubai Free Zones.

Importers must register their products with the DCAA prior to importing them to Dubai and adhere to general safety requirements, including proper packaging and proper documentation. These products will also need unique serial numbers, proper labelling and specific information for handling. Each product needs to have a manual and all relevant information, including performance conformity, up-to-date records of the organisation's import activity for at least 60 months, and permitted audits by the DCAA to validate compliance. Any additional UAS, parts or components will also need to go through the same approval process.

DCAR.UAS.B.02 UAS Exporting and Trade 

The article defines the regulatory framework for the UA/UAS sales, exports and procurement process. Organisations engaged in the distribution, sale or export of UAS, parts or components must also comply with the above-mentioned registrations, authorisations and safety regulations.

Exporters will also need to ensure compliance with relevant safety requirements, maintain records, address product non-conformities, and notify the relevant authorities if there are any safety or security risks. Non-compliance with any of these factors will result in a suspension or total revocation of trade activities. 

Our recommendation for this process is to utilise Murzilli Consulting’s expert drone consultancy services. Our regulatory strategy service can help to prepare and execute your product deployment within Dubai airspace.

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Section C UAS Design, Manufacture, Assembly, Modification and Maintenance

DCAR.UAS.C.01 - UAS Manufacturers

This article defines the requirements for UAS designers and manufacturers for the production, integration, assembly and modification of UAS. The article identifies a UAS manufacturer as a legal entity with a trade license for UAS production or modification. It excludes self-built UAS for personal use. It also exempts manufacturers that are producing or modifying products for law enforcement or defence purposes from certain obligations under the DCAR.

DCAR.UAS.C.02 - Responsibilities of the UAS Manufacturer

The policy defines the responsibilities of anyone who intends to manufacture, import and distribute UAS. The article outlines that UAS Manufacturers planning to produce UAS for basic or advanced categories must register with the DCAA, declare and adhere to the intended UAS category, perform product conformity checks prior to registration and maintain records of UAS models and their specifications. The UAS manufacturer must also name a legal or authorised representative to oversee the process. 

In order to properly align with the DCAA and to make sure the end-to-end process runs as smoothly as possible, we recommend Murzilli Consulting’s aviation authority liaison service. Our team of expert drone consultants can support your business using our contacts to connect you with the relevant aviation authorities.

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DCAR.UAS.C.03 - UAS Maintenance Organizations

A UAS Maintenance Organisation is defined as any commercial organisation in charge of continuous airworthiness and serviceability of UAS intended for various basic and advanced category operations.

DCAR.UAS.C.04 - Responsibilities of the UAS Maintenance Organization in basic category 

Requirements for UAS maintenance activities for UAS systems and the required modifications in the basic category. Any basic category operations should follow the UAS manufacturer's instructions.

DCAR.UAS.C.05 - Responsibilities of the UAS Maintenance Organization in the advanced category

Requirements for UAS maintenance activities for UAS systems and the required modifications in the advanced category. Maintenance in advanced category UAS operations must be carried out by qualified personnel who are trained according to the maintenance plan in the UAS Operator’s Operations Manual. An organisation must keep a logbook of all maintenance carried out on the UAS.

Section D UAS Radio Frequency Use

DCAR.UAS.D.01 Frequency bands for radio communications in UAS Operations

In this article, radio bands reserved for UAS operations are identified. It states that communication tools and infrastructure in UAS operations must comply with TDRA regulations.

DCAR.UAS.D.02 Frequency bands for radio communications for UA Pilot and ATC or aerodromes 

This article identifies the radio band requirements for communications between UA Pilot and ATC or aerodromes. This also includes aeronautical VHF frequencies from within an airport or authority-designated areas.

DCAR.UAS.D.03 Command and control direct communications 

This article identifies the radio band requirements for a direct RF link between the UAS Operator and the UAS. It specifies that a UAS operator is responsible for ensuring effective command and control communications based on the operations category. The basic category uses TDRA’s license-free frequencies, while the advanced category can use licensed frequencies with a justified purpose. All radio frequency bands must comply with TDRA allocations and Dubai’s Unmanned Radio Systems laws.

DCAR.UAS.D.04 Command and Control network communications 

The policy identifies the network communication requirements between the UAS Operator and the UAS. It clarifies that the UAS operator must guarantee effective command and control network communications. Operations in the basic category are excluded from network use, while advanced can use licensed or licensed-free network communications. Certified Category Operations are allowed to use aviation-related frequencies. The UAS operator must also protect and secure the communication from unauthorised access.  

DCAR.UAS.D.05 Direct Radio Electronic Conspicuity of the UA 

This article identifies the requirements for direct electronic conspicuity of UA. It states that direct radio electronic conspicuity in UAS operations must follow TDRA regulations and Dubai laws relevant to radio frequencies. Devices on the UA need to work independently from the UAS radio communications and must include the UA and UAS identification, UA location and trajectory information while remaining protected against unauthorised access.

DCAR.UAS.D.06 Network Radio Electronic Conspicuity of the UA

Network Radio Electronic Conspicuity in UAS Operations must adhere strictly to TDRA regulations and Dubai laws regarding radio frequencies. Devices and sensors for this purpose must be independent of C2 radio communications, ensuring they provide authenticated UA and Operator data, location, and trajectory information while being protected against unauthorised access or modification.

DCAR.UAS.D.07 Network Radio Communications between UAS and UTM

This article identifies the network communication requirements between the UAS and the UTM system. These communications with a UTM must be separate from the UAS command and control radio communications and are able to provide important information such as airspace situational awareness, weather conditions and flight permits.

DCAR.UAS.D.08 Radio communications between the UA Pilot and the operation crew 

UAS operators are responsible for establishing and maintaining secure communication within their operation crew and must maintain adequate signal quality throughout their intended operation. These requirements must be followed in accordance with TDRA guidelines and Dubai laws on radio frequencies. Communication should be made using the relevant method according to the UAS category, as shown in the table below:

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's infographic of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority's radio frequency categories.

Section E Categories of UAS Operations

DCAR.UAS.E.01 UAS Operations Categories 

This article identifies operation categories and compatible UAS technical characteristics, specifications and limitations that are required to operate in an operation category. 

For specifications, please refer to the infographic. All operations except for recreational flights need to follow the DCAR policies according to the relevant category.

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's infographic of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority UAS Operation categories.

DCAR.UAS.E.02 Requirements for UAS to be used in Basic Category Operations 

This article identifies requirements that a UAS shall be in compliance to be authorised for operations in the Basic Category. UAS in the basic category need to provide the pilot with precise height data and must maintain controllability under the following conditions:

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's infographic of Dubai Civil Aviation authority's UAS standards to be safely controllable.

The command and control link must be performed by a remote pilot following the manufacturer’s instructions, as necessary under all anticipated operating conditions, including the failure conditions,

The UAS needs to withstand all possible loads and flight conditions stated by the manufacturer’s instructions and be equipped with a data link protected against unauthorized access. The UAS should be electrically powered with a unique serial number and a warning to prepare the pilot of a low battery level for safe landings. They must also have lights, a DCAA-approved remote identification, a geo-awareness system and a detailed user manual.

DCAR.UAS.E.03 Requirements for UAS to be used in Advanced Category A Operations 

This article identifies requirements that a UAS must meet to be authorised for operations in Advanced Category A. In addition to the requirements listed in DCAR.UAS.E.02, a UAS intended for the advanced category, needs to demonstrate its detailed mass and the centre of gravity clearly. The UAS must also have the flight envelope and limitations in the manual. The UAS must have DCAA-approved Detect and Avoid functionality to mitigate potential air risk during operation.

Additionally, the UAS requires a unique serial number and placards and must have the following DCAA-approved emergency recovery systems:

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's infographic of the DCAA-approved emergency recovery systems.

Finally, the UAS must have a human factor study using the environmental qualification standards to show compliance with all operational and adverse environmental conditions.

DCAR.UAS.E.04 RESERVED - Advanced Category B 

To be defined in future phases.

DCAR.UAS.E.05 RESERVED - Advanced Category C

To be defined in future phases.

DCAR.UAS.E.06 RESERVED – Certified Category

To be defined in future phases.

Section F Responsibilities of UAS Operators

DCAR.UAS.F.01 Policies for Dubai UAS Operator Authorization (D-UOA)

UAS operators intending to fly within Dubai airspace must register and become authorised by DCAA and have Dubai UAS Operator Authorization (DUAO). Operations in the advanced category will need DUOSA to obtain the D-UOA, whereby all personnel and assets must be registered along with any updated changes. 

DCAR.UAS.F.02 General Responsibilities of the UAS Operator 

A UAS operator in the Dubai airspace must adhere to all DCAR and Dubai laws throughout the pre-flight, flight and post-flight phases. The DCAA must be notified of any process or procedural changes that will affect their operations. The operator must acquire the relevant insurance, flight permit and permit from property owners. They must always prioritise safety and adhere to noise regulations. The operator should ensure crew competency, maintain airworthiness, comply with all regulations and facilitate audits. Operations may only take place after all permits and requirements are fulfilled.

Murzilli Consulting can support you in providing system safety assessments or with the proper application of the correct development assurance level processes with our aircraft and system safety assessment and development assurance service

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's  aircraft and system safety assessment and development assurance service.

DCAR.UAS.F.03 Additional Responsibilities of UAS Operator for Advanced Category A

This article identifies additional responsibilities for Advanced Category A of operations over the general responsibilities of the UAS Operator. 

For an advanced category operation, the UAS operator must follow specific rules, such as developing an operational plan that aligns with the Dubai U-Space and DCAR regulations, ensuring compliance with DUOSA limitations and safety measures, and checking the necessary external services. They're also responsible for equipping the UAS with approved emergency recovery systems, verifying operation plans through exercises, and ensuring coordination with authorities and third parties to obtain required permits before initiating an operation.

DCAR.UAS.F.04 Security Policies for UAS Operators

This article identifies policies for UAS operators to ensure security requirements for their operations. It states that UAS operators must ensure compliance with DCAA and any other relevant authority and their security requirements. UAS operators are responsible for the prevention of any unlawful interference or access to their UAS, operational area, or database and for making sure that all operational data remains within the UAE without any unauthorised transfers. The operator must not allow the transporting of any dangerous goods and can only use photographic or imaging devices with permission from DCAA-approved authorities.

DCAR.UAS.F.05 Responsibilities of UAS Operator in case of an Occurrence

This article identifies a UAS operators responsibilities in case of an accident, incident or any safety observation that may lead to the termination of an operation. It clarifies that if any observed incident during an operation poses a safety risk, the UAS operator must immediately and safely terminate the operation and notify DCAA and any relevant organisations. If there is an occurrence, incident, accident or termination during an operation in the advanced category, the UAS operator must report it to the DCAA, and, for operations in the advanced category,  follow an approved Emergency Response Plan and the relevant procedure updates to prevent any similar incidents.

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's image of drones being operated from a control centre.

DCAR.UAS.F.06 UAS Operators Post Holder

This article states that a UAS operator must appoint a post holder. This appointed post holder must be authorised by the organisation’s Legal Representative and needs to be up to date with the DCAR, Dubai Laws, operational procedures, manuals and operational plans. This person is the primary point of contact and must be knowledgeable about the operator’s protocols and documentation.

DCAR.UAS.F.07 Policies for UAS Operations Safety Approval for Dubai Airspace 

The article defines the responsibilities of a UAS operator, specifically for advanced category operations. The UAS operator must go through the DUOSA process and demonstrate compliance using a DCAA-approved validation entity. The operator must also complete comprehensive documentation, and notify the DCAA of any changes, which may require additional validation within the DUOSA process and a validity period set by the DCAA.

DCAR.UAS.F.08 Flight Permit Policies 

The article outlines the requirements for UAS operators to obtain a permit for flight activity. It establishes that a UAS operator must obtain a valid flight permit to operate within a designated U-space unless within an approved flight club. To obtain the flight permit, an operator needs to provide detailed operational information, including the flight plan, coordinates, altitude, speed, dates, and times of the intended flight, along with information on the UA model, serial number, colour and any other assets related to the operation. The operator must also provide information regarding their operation crew and UA pilot(s) and all other personnel complete with full names, mobile numbers and UAE IDs. They must also show the operation insurance and property owner permits. The application for a flight permit must be submitted 14 business days prior to the operation or 48 hours before an operation in the Green Zone.

DCAR.UAS.F.09 Policies for UAS Airworthiness

To ensure UAS airworthiness, the article states that the UAS Operator must adhere to specific requirements. This includes ensuring the appropriate certification for the UAS class and compliance with the manufacturer and operator manuals. The UAS must also have up-to-date software and hardware configurations and adhere to the guidelines for any attachments. The operator must maintain logs for all UAs and ground control equipment and store and handle them according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Murzilli Consulting can support organisations to establish solid assurance, safety, or quality management systems with our UAS C-Class and CE marking service.

Murzilli Consulting, the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's UAS C-Class and CE marking service.

DCAR.UAS.F.10 Policies for UAS Registration 

This article explains that all UAS intended for Dubai U-space operations, including recreational flights, must be registered with the DCAA. To achieve registration, the UA and ground control details, as well as any detachable ancillary equipment such as cameras, sensors or parachutes, must be provided along with any manufacturer manuals.

DCAR.UAS.F.11 Responsibilities of UA Pilot 

The UA pilot’s responsibilities are to adhere to DCAR and Dubai laws by ensuring the fitness of the operation, which includes competency, documentation and proper coordination. The protocol requires meticulous checks before, during and after each operation. Throughout the operation, the UA pilot must remain in control of the UA while overseeing safety measures, avoiding interference and handling any incidents or safety risks. After the operation, the pilot must properly store the data, maintain the logbook and securely pack and store all the equipment used.

DCAR.UAS.F.12 UA Pilot Registration, Authorization and Validity 

This article identifies policies for registration of UA Pilot. A DCAA-licensed UA pilot needs to complete a thorough training process, including handling procedures, flight planning, equipment usage and risk recognition to prepare them for safe operations. Their training must also cover UA-specific operations, regulatory compliance, user and maintenance manuals and the relevant laws, which need to be periodically refreshed to remain up to date. Pilots are also required to hold a valid medical certificate, radio operator qualification of controlled airspace, and an English proficiency certificate. They must also comply and provide documentation to the DCAA for audits or inquiries.

DCAR.UAS.F.13 UAS Operator Responsibilities for Operations Crew 

The operations crew must be guaranteed fit and competent under the assessment of the UAS operator. Their roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and all crew must have the appropriate training, including familiarity with the intended operation and its potential risks.

DCAR.UAS.F.14 Operations Crew Registration and Validity

UAS operators must register all personnel involved in the operation with the DCAA and provide the necessary documentation for audits, investigations, or compliance purposes as required by the authority.

DCAR.UAS.F.15 Policies for UAS Operator in use of an aerodrome 

UAS operators intending to use aerodromes, including but not limited to airports, helipads and vertiports for UAS operations, must align with the specific guidelines outlined in this article. The specifications include securing a permit for each specific aerodrome, detailing precise timing and locations within an operational plan to acquire Flight Permits from the DCAA and ensuring alignment between the approved UAS operation categories and designated aerodromes. Operators must also provide mandatory insurance coverage for potential damages as well as manuals, compliant processes and procedures. There must be pre-approved coordinated activities and an agreed schedule with the aerodrome operator, and any changes to these must be reported immediately.

DCAR.UAS.F.16 Policies for UAS Operations Crew in use of an aerodrome

UA pilots and UAS operation crew must comply with the specific aerodrome regulations as outlined in this article. These regulations include ensuring authorised access to the aerodrome prior to the operation as well as familiarising all relevant members with the aerodrome's normal, contingency and emergency procedures. For the duration of the time spent within the aerodrome, all crew must adhere to the rules and regulations, which includes participation in emergency exercises. The UA pilot(s) is the main contact with the aerodrome and should maintain communication and follow instructions from the aerodrome operator while prioritising safety. Any incidents or interferences should be reported to the aerodrome operator and the DCAA.

Section G Recreational UAS Activities

DCAR.UAS.G.01 Policies for Recreational Flights

A recreational UAS must be registered, as well as the UA pilot with the DCAA. The operator must obtain a permit from DCAA before any flight. They must avoid operating a UA near people, properties, infrastructure or installations. They must openly provide the UA location and UA Pilot information. There needs to be direct radio communication between the UA and the pilot during the flight, and VLOS conditions, flight altitude and speed restrictions must be obeyed. Any safety risks or incidents should be reported to DCAA.

Section H Reserved for UAS Operations Traffic Management

As of January 2024, there is no further content in this section.

Section I Airports for UAS

DCAR.UAS.I.01 UAS Vertiports Authorization for Advanced Category of Operations 

Dubai UAS Vertiports must follow the DCAA regulations, which include registration and authorisation by an officially recognised Vertiport Operator. To comply with the regulations, a Vertiport must meet the specific design spec, completion certificate, permit complete with a validity period and dedication to UAS operations and VTOL-capable UAs within relevant operation categories.

DCAR.UAS.I.02 RESERVED for UAS Vertiports Authorization for Certified Category of Operations 

To be defined in future phases.

DCAR.UAS.I.03 Responsibilities of UAS Vertiport Operator 

This article defines Vertiport Operators’ responsibilities in a comprehensive manner to ensure safe and secure UAS Vertiport operations in Dubai. Vertiport operators need to adhere to the regulations and coordinate with UAS operators for prior approval. The safety and security protocols must be planned for emergencies and protection from unauthorised access and to exclude dangerous goods. Vertiport operators are also responsible for verifying personnel and equipment maintaining operational functionalities and the surrounding environment. Records and logbooks must be up to date, and Vertiport operators are required to respond promptly to communications.

DCAR.UAS.I.04 UAS Vertiport Operator Authorization 

This article defines the requirements for a Vertiport Operator to be registered and authorised under DCAA to manage UAS Vertiport operations. Vertiport operators need to register with the DCAA in order to manage a UAS Vertiport. They must adhere to DCAR, hold a valid trade license, and register all personnel involved in a relevant operation and the UAS Vertiport themselves.

For support with any of the policy guidelines, contact me directly, and I will be happy to answer any questions: