DRONES: Do you or someone you know own and fly one? Do you know the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Regulations associated?
Drones are fast becoming very popular “toys” and are very useful in the commercial work environment. They are replacing humans in many fields! However, there are some rules that must be adhered to. You do not need to have a licence to operate one, but if you wish to earn money from operating your drone, it is best to go through the right channels to ensure you are able to do what you are trying to sell.
This is taken from CASA.gov.au/modelaircraft – lots of useful links:
When flying drones or model aircraft recreationally, you need to follow these simple drone rules to keep everyone safe.
You should only fly in visual line-of-sight, in day visual meteorological conditions (VMC). What does that mean?
No night flying (generally). – it is recommended sunrise to sun set
No flying in or through cloud or fog.
Be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV, binoculars, telescopes]) at all times, (unless you operate under the procedures of an approved model flying association. Contact the MAAA for more information about flying FPV).
You must not fly closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people.
You must not fly over populous areas such as beaches, heavily populated parks, or sports ovals while they are in use.
In controlled airspace, which covers most Australian cities, you must not fly higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above the ground. – remember this is above the ground the drone is above, not where you are standing.
You must not fly in a way that creates a hazard to other aircraft, so you should keep at least 5.5 km away from airfields, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites.
You must not fly your RPA in or over prohibited / restricted area, unless you have the permission of the authority controlling the area.
In restricted airspace, aircraft movements are reduced to those with certain specified permissions. Examples of restricted airspace include airspace around military installations or military controlled aerodromes, over Sydney Harbour, high-density flying operations or at an air show or other large public event. Restricted airspace may also be imposed by police for safety or security reasons near bushfires or major crime scenes. It is illegal to fly your RPA in these areas without permission.
Operations within the 3nm (5.5km) radius of an aerodrome or helicopter landing site are possible and lawful providing you comply with the Standard Operating Conditions listed above and ensure that you do not operate:
on the approach and departure path, or
within the movement area, or
create a hazard to aircraft that may be using those areas.
RPA used for sport or recreational purposes that weigh 150kg or less are considered to be operating privately and are regulated by the provisions for model aircraft. More information about these requirements are provided in Advisory Circulars available for download:
AC101-3 for model aircraft (and recreational drone use)
AC101-2 for model rockets.
Flying for money?
If you want to earn money from flying your drone, there are different rules depending on the size of your drone. Information is available about RPA operations flying commercially under 2kg, flying commercially over 2kg and flying in commercial-like operations over your own land.
Remotely piloted aircraft in emergency situations
Never fly a drone or model aircraft near bushfires, floods, traffic accidents or any other emergency situation where you may be presenting a risk to the emergency operations taking place. While it might be tempting to record footage, you can pose a major safety risk to emergency personnel in the air and on the ground. Find out more on the remotely piloted aircraft in emergency situations page.
If you have further questions about flying your drone or model aircraft recreationally, such as where and how to fly, restrictions and questions about the use of first-person view (FPV), you can contact the RPAS team through our online RPAS enquiry form.
Resources and links
Access frequently asked questions, advisory information, RPA related websites and ‘Flight Safety Australia’ magazine articles online.
Remotely piloted aircraft system resources and links
CASA Sport aviation website
The Model Aeronautical Association of Australia is recognised as a self-administering sport aviation organisation and has established model aircraft fields and experienced advisors who can help you with questions about model aircraft.
The Australian Miniature Aerosports Society is also a national aero model organisation for model aviation in Australia.
Safety brochures (click to download)
Model rocket brochure
RPA near fire-fighting brochure
Flying your drone for fun brochure
So please remember that when your operating your drone for fun or for commercial gain, talk to as many operators in the area you intend to be in AND give way to manned aircraft. If unsure, stay on the ground. Rules are not made to stop you enjoying your drone, but to make sure the sky stays safe for all users. – From our Pilot’s Desk @ Barossa Helicopters