The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has updated the rules for operating remotely piloted aircraft (drones) that weigh less than 2 kilograms.
Designed to cut the cost and red tape of operating very small commercial drones while protecting public safety, the new rules took effect from 29 September 2016.
People and organisations wanting to fly commercial drones with a maximum take-off weight of less than two kilograms no longer need to apply for a certificate and licence from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Drone operators wanting to fly in this new category must notify CASA before flying and follow strict operating conditions, designed to protect other people in the air and on the ground. These include:
– Only flying during the day and in line of sight,
– Staying at least 30 metres away from people,
– Staying below 120 metres,
– Only flying one drone at a time.
Drones must not be flown in an area near emergency operations such as firefighting, accidents or search and rescue (including vehicle crashes and police operations). They are not permitted to fly within 5.5 kilometres of a controlled airport or over populous areas such as beaches, parks and sporting ovals.
Anyone who wants to operate an under two kilogram commercial drone outside the standard operating conditions must apply to CASA for a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate and a remote pilot licence.
The new rules also introduce a category for landholders which means drones up 25 kilograms can be operated without the need for CASA approvals. This can be done as long as the drone is only operated on the landholders or leaseholder’s own property and there is no remuneration. The notification requirement applies.
For more information about the new rules, the online notification system and drone safety visit www.casa.gov.au/drone.