Is it allowed to fly a drone here in KSA?

Hi all!

I have been wondering whether it is allowed here in KSA to fly a drone with a camera mounted/installed to it. I have been thinking it would make a good hobby, as I myself like discovering places. If it is (or not), do we need to obtain a permit from the police or IT offices of KSA?

I would appreciate all your help.

Cheers xD

no its not, just be carefull, and fly anyway :D
btw what drone are you using? i so wanted to buy but couldn't find here in KSA,
I have couple of GoPros and Sony AS15's , lastly i was just thinking to buy a high range RC helicopter and have fun with it .. Lemme know if you wanna sel your heli too ;)

http://hobbygulf.com/

gonzrule :

Hi all!

I have been wondering whether it is allowed here in KSA to fly a drone with a camera mounted/installed to it.

The answer is an emphatic NO!

Drones as they are commonly called ARE NOT your typical remote controlled (hobby) aircraft. Mounting a camera on one takes you into the realm of being (or appearing to be) a threat to security which is a crime in most countries, but certainly taken very seriously in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As an expat, you clearly do not want to end up on the wrong side of the Royal Saudi Police or the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the consequences are simply too great.

I would strongly suggest that you think seriouly about finding another hobby.

Cheers,
James      Expat-blog Experts Team

I don't have one yet, as I was reluctant to get one. But if I can find one (in Jeddah) I will fly it and share the photos I can take.

James :
gonzrule :

Hi all!

I have been wondering whether it is allowed here in KSA to fly a drone with a camera mounted/installed to it.

The answer is an emphatic NO!

Drones as they are commonly called ARE NOT your typical remote controlled (hobby) aircraft. Mounting a camera on one takes you into the realm of being (or appearing to be) a threat to security which is a crime in most countries, but certainly taken very seriously in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As an expat, you clearly do not want to end up on the wrong side of the Royal Saudi Police or the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the consequences are simply too great.

I would strongly suggest that you think seriouly about finding another hobby.

Cheers,
James      Expat-blog Experts Team

How about RC planes/copters?

If you attach a camera to them, same story. You'll probably be sending us photos from the Saudi Detention Facility nearest you!

Regarding local restrictions on RC (hobby) aircraft you should contact the vendors at the link shown above by Casperitus and ask them about any.

Cheers,
James

Whatever the legal position, drones are flown in the KSA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ENOna8L1CM

Of course, it being done doesn't mean it's legal, so James' post should be noted.

A lot was discussed on this subject in June 2014.

""As a scientist and as a person belonging to a region notorious for breeding terrorism, I know a simple rule.

" If you leave a minutest loophole for terrorism, it will be used". Our government advisors are lot smarter than you and me.""

expatblog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=380574

The above link to the topic doesn't work.

Read it here:    https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=380574

riazcdki :

" If you leave a minutest loophole for terrorism, it will be used". Our government advisors are lot smarter than you and me.""

Absolutely true, and all one need do is look at the clarity, detail and range of the Youtube video that Fred linked to, to understand the frightening potential for terrorists to use such technology; and to understand why it is of such concern for national security not only in the KSA, but everywhere.

Cheers,
James

Any invention, no matter if intended for peaceful purposes, that can be put to evil use will be.

Dr. Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and gelignite found this out in a very personal way when his brother Ludwig died while visiting Cannes. A French newspaper published Alfred's obituary in error. It read "The merchant of death is dead" and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes.

Alberto Santos Dumont, Brazilian inventor of the monoplane we commonly see nowadays and the pilot of the first heavier than air flight recorded in Europe;  said to be depressed over his multiple sclerosis (not confirmed) and the use of aircraft in warfare during São Paulo's Constitutionalist Revolution, on 23 July 1932, committed suicide by hanging himself in the city of Guarujá in São Paulo.

So, while one may argue that they have no evil intent at wanting to own and operate one of these drones, that does not prevent others from using them for evil and destruction. The only way to prevent that from happening is to keep them out of the hands of the general population.

Cheers,
James

No, no, no.

Millions of people use these for fun and work.
You can't let fear dictate your life.
Besides that, small drones are impractical as a weapon. These things can manage a small camera for about 15 minutes, but not much more weight. Explosives and guns are far too heavy.

You can let local law decide your actions, but never fear.
Yoda got that one right - fear does lead to hate.

Not talking about weaponry here Fred, but rather the planning, mapping and surveillance that go along with terrorist attacks. Hell, even Google Steetview is being used by crooks to plan robberies and map out their getaway routes, just think about what this will do.   :o

James :

Not talking about weaponry here Fred, but rather the planning, mapping and surveillance that go along with terrorist attacks. Hell, even Google Steetview is being used by crooks to plan robberies and map out their getaway routes, just think about what this will do.   :o

I use google street view to confirm the location of my target - usually a camera shop or somewhere I'm conducting a lecture.
I also use it to get an idea of a place I wish to visit, or just for fun.
If you go to Westminster in London, police will commonly question photographers, in case they're taking photos to plan a terrorist attack.
Drrrr, hundreds are on the web, so why would a terrorist expose himself to get one more?

Should I wish to plan an operation, I would do as everyone else does.
Blend in, use a hidden camera to take any pictures I wanted, then attack when I've got my covertly collected intel.
I wouldn't risk capture by setting up a tripod and camera, or using something that'd tell the world I was up to something.

Terrorism works by making a group fear, governments use the same tools, as newspapers do in order to sell their crappy rags.

"My gawd, a terrorist could do it".

Where do we stop, kitchen knives?

I am very happy for the amount of information I'm getting here, and I would like to thank you all for it, especially James and Fred for their insightful advice.

I spoke with one local over LiveLeak (yep, I'm a LiveLeaker too  :D ) and this is what he wrote me regarding drones and go-pro,

"It's legal to use drones in KSA as long as you don't disturb anyone or spy on women."

Now it begs me to question whether "hobby drones" are in fact LEGALLY allowed in KSA. Note the emphasis on the word 'legally'. Is it or not?  :/ 

Go pros are sold in stores in Khobar, but mounting them inside your vehicle or on a phantom drone???  :unsure

I have a gopro, now want the drone to go with it.
I saw a larger model helicopter with a Sony can on it a few weeks ago, but I understand there can be issues with vibration.

We have yet to find a link to the local law concerned.

Slightly off topic, but I'll bet interesting to readers of this thread...

http://flynixie.com/#team

WOW.

Model aircraft and helicopters have been flown in Saudi Arabia for years, there is a thriving community in Jeddah which used to involve a large number of aircraft engineers who actually built their own models. You can join the associated clubs and then import models, this would probably apply to drones as well.

Hi All,

The Ministry of Interior classifies drone cameras under the spying tool category. You will not be allowed to ship in drones either as your personal baggage (my Go Pro drone did!) or through mail services.

I was let off with a warning and my drone was confiscated. So much so for the waste of money.

Thanks,
Raunak

Can you or someone please direct to such group or club for RC flying / drones? I need clubs in Riyadh or jeddah.

Thanks.

I live in Jeddah and me and friends fly RC planes every Friday in Obhur, the northern sea-side of Jeddah. we do it in an open no body's land that it is almost far from everything. However, there is a newly built club for RC hobbies in Nahda District, Jeddah. takeoffrcshop.com  But it requires a yearly subscription of around 2000 SAR (I'm not really sure of the exact amount). The club also includes an RC store. But I ordered my parts from HobbyKing or HobbyGulf because they are much cheaper. By the way, the police patrols the area where we fly, and they watch and just walk away. what important is that you do it in a designated licensed place or an empty place in the desert or the sea coast where you don't pose any danger or threat.

Good stuff! Do you know the name of shops/place in jeddah where I can find RC helis/planes/drones?

I put the website address in my previous reply, but I don't know, Expat.com put it under review. anyway the RC club is called Takeoff RC Club. Google the website.

No , it is not allowed to fly drones in KSA? You are not allowed to bring anything into Saudi that even remotely resembles a drone. Photography is so frowned upon in the first place. We lost a couple of RC copters from our suitcases a few years ago, I was given paperwork about the reason they were confiscated.

Then the question is how hobbyking is delivering these UAVs in ksa? Also, I called the helpline of hobbygulf and they confirmed the delivery for saudi for all such things including drones. I think the law is still not clear.

RC HOBBY in Jeddah they call it TAKE OFF RC group!search for them.

I guess I should have said , you can not bring them in, ..I have no idea about buying them in the Kingdom.

Just to update few folks here about the shop in Riyadh for RC drones. I went to the shop "land and air", its still there but they are not selling planes/copters anymore due to license issue as per the guy in the shop. But he told me that few local people are selling DJI phantoms. He shared a mobile no with me and when I talk to the person, he told me a little over price for Phantom 2+. So, this is happening here but not in a legal way as you may have guessed it.

cheers!

just had amazon delivered my dji to my address here. there is a group of RC enthusiasts that regularly have fun running their RC heli, quads, planes, small cars...in the desert though.

mannyd :

just had amazon delivered my dji to my address here. there is a group of RC enthusiasts that regularly have fun running their RC heli, quads, planes, small cars...in the desert though.

How much that cost you? Is it normal phantom or phantom+ ?

Fred :
James :

Not talking about weaponry here Fred, but rather the planning, mapping and surveillance that go along with terrorist attacks. Hell, even Google Steetview is being used by crooks to plan robberies and map out their getaway routes, just think about what this will do.   :o

I use google street view to confirm the location of my target - usually a camera shop or somewhere I'm conducting a lecture.
I also use it to get an idea of a place I wish to visit, or just for fun.
If you go to Westminster in London, police will commonly question photographers, in case they're taking photos to plan a terrorist attack.
Drrrr, hundreds are on the web, so why would a terrorist expose himself to get one more?

Should I wish to plan an operation, I would do as everyone else does.
Blend in, use a hidden camera to take any pictures I wanted, then attack when I've got my covertly collected intel.
I wouldn't risk capture by setting up a tripod and camera, or using something that'd tell the world I was up to something.

Terrorism works by making a group fear, governments use the same tools, as newspapers do in order to sell their crappy rags.

"My gawd, a terrorist could do it".

Where do we stop, kitchen knives?

If you bothered to check KSA on Google, the details are nowhere near what you get for the other developed nations.  The magnification only goes so far and there's no street view available.  Why do you encourage others to usurp local authority and possibly get them in trouble?

raheel78 :

Then the question is how hobbyking is delivering these UAVs in ksa? Also, I called the helpline of hobbygulf and they confirmed the delivery for saudi for all such things including drones. I think the law is still not clear.

The state could control the capacity of the drones.  My understanding is that the photography is not exactly welcome in KSA.  Perhaps low capacity drones without camera are allowed.

Why just drive and talk on your phone and be visible to police (if they're paying attention) a few feet away, when you could be broadcasting yourself for miles! Just fly a drone around and be visible to any cop, security guard or military officer several blocks away...

I agree with shecks, You can fly them but be sure away from people and away from governmental buildings,

avoid being seen as a security threat or spying stranger.

if you go away to half-moon beach and sand dunes I'm sure you can fly it with out concerns

I've seen people paragliding there and kite surfing also

good luck

Hey folks, Found the hobbygulf.com link within this thread about Radio Control products in KSA.

Airplanes of all size and types are allowed and are shipped to KSA almost on a daily basis. Not issue whatsoever.

Quads are also frequently ordered and we only had one reported issue at customs where it got delayed before being released back.

Hope this helps ;)

Hi

I am new to RC from Jubail. I shall appreciate if someone gives links for RC flying area in JUbail/Dammam/Khobar.
I ordered AT6 Texan RC plane through hobbygulf and they are going to deliver it along with radio.
I want to be part of some flying group to start this in a better way.

Recently i ordered a toy Grade quadcopter from Gearbest.com which was returned by Saudi Customs, I thing any type of Radio Transmitter is banned , as these things are not allowed here in KSA. I also Contact many sellers from UAE and they dont ship these things in KSA.About Aeroplan I did not make any enquiry yet.

Hobbygulf ship all kind of stuff.

even i got one radio via Saudi Post. thing is you have to comply with rules and laws while flying.
putting a camera on anything makes it worthy of suspicions. better be safe and have fun.

I have recently ordered a drone camera from CHINA and it was returned back to seller.
I didnt know its ban here...

But i am surprise that seller said, it has been successfully delivered to other customers in Saudi Arabia and i felt, they gave a false information. Anyhow surprise to know that Saudi Arabia didnt publish any news to manufacturer or seller of Drone Camera.

My Question is what about professional filming agencies ? Are they used Helicopters with Cameras ?

New topic