Singapore is sometimes called “our city in a garden“, associated with the many gardens, plants and flowers even throughout the most densely populated HDB areas. Most people arriving here for the first time will be impressed by the high amount of greenery on their way from Changi Airport towards the city – especially in contrast to the scenery you might encounter when landing at other major hubs around this area.
These city gardens and free spaces, which are often used by joggers, walkers, cyclists etc., are administered by a national agency called the “National Parks Board” or NParks for short.
The other thing most people will get to know about Singapore rather sooner than later is that there are rules in Singapore. So many rules in fact that Singapore is equally as often referred to as a ‘fine city‘ due to the high fines imposed upon breaking said rules. But the thing most people don’t realise is how agile Singapore is in reviewing these rules and adjusting them to the realities of modern life. Where you might easily see that something that is once banned in Germany is banned there for eternity, if any such rule doesn’t make sense anymore for Singapore, it is likely to be revised.
The National Parks Board – and this is where it gets relevant to this blog – has until recently had a rather stern warning on it’s web page, mentioning that drone flying is not allowed in any of its parks – much to the chagrin of the many drone pilots in this country.
With an update on April 11 (at least as far as I can tell) and without further ado, that line has now been changed to “The flying of drones is allowed in most parks except for those areas which are designated as ‘No Flying’ zones by signs“.
As long as drone pilots don’t encounter any “No Flying” zone, we are now free to launch and navigate our drones as long as we abide by the rules posed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, which provides a handy guide to flying drones here.
Celebrating this change in rules, I immediately ventured to an NParks designated area, the Eastern Coastal Loop, and set out to fly from the mouth of the Kallang River towards the Gardens by the Bay, then on to the Art Science Museum and generally around the Marina Bay Area.
One of the finer (and more difficult) points of drone flying is getting close enough to the subject you are filming while still filming from a viewpoint not usually experienced by people viewing the same object from a natural standing position.
The new rules by the NParks board let drone flyers (who are hopefully respectful to the nature and other parks users – otherwise the agile nature of Singapore’s rules may quickly move again to prevent flying in these awesome spaces) get closer to the beautiful and green spots in the city.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy the beautiful scenery & I can definitely say I’m looking forward to spending some time hiking around NParks & flying my drone!
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tl;dr NParks changed the guidelines to allow flying in most gardens. (new video).