While camera-equipped drones are becoming increasingly popular among Vietnamese photographers and filmmakers, few of them know that they have to seek permission from the Ministry of Defense to start shooting with such a device.
The defense ministry has regulated the use of flying cameras in Decree No. 36, issued as early as 2008, but the regulations do not seem to be familiar to local fans of the camera drones.
Individuals and organizations are required to apply for a flying permit for any unmanned aerial vehicles, and no such devices are allowed to fly without permission from the defense ministry.
The Department of Operations under the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army is in charge of granting permission for the use of drones, according to Decree No. 36.
The decree was amended and supplemented in 2011, and the ministry has recently issued a new dispatch to remind the public of such regulations, which they are required to abide by.
“We did not update the rules this time,” Lieutenant General Vu Van Hien, chief of the secretariat of the defense ministry, said of the new dispatch, speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday.
“The document is intended to call for cooperation from relevant ministries, industries and local administrations to increase public understanding of aviation management and national security.”
The defense ministry asserted in the dispatch that it is important to remind the public of the drone management regulations.
Brigade 144 under the General Staff detected two cases of unlicensed camera drones in restricted zones in Hanoi on May 31 and June 21, respectively, according to the document.
The ministry also said many areas where camera drone users often launch their vehicles in major hubs such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Binh Duong are unlicensed.
These flying activities pose potential risks to civil and military aviation operations and national security, as they may be taken advantage of by rival forces, the ministry said.
Using camera drones has become a trend that is followed by many Vietnamese photographers and filmmakers.
Nguyen Minh Tan, a member of the Ho Chi Minh City photographer association, said more and more photography enthusiasts are using flying cameras today.
Tan began shooting with a camera drone a few years ago and recently bought a new Phantom 3 drone for VND25 million (US$1,148).
“A flying camera costs from a few hundred U.S. dollars to more than $1,000,” he said, adding that these prices are affordable for most photographers.
Camera drones are favored as they capture stunning photos from aerial views.
Many great videos of famous attractions across Vietnam have been filmed using flying cameras.