Flying a Drone in Australia (2018) – AUS drone rules in under 2 minutes

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Wanting to know what the rules are for flying a drone in Australia? Then let me show you in under 2 minutes! This video is intended for those starting out with …

22 COMMENTS

  1. Nice summary of the requirements, thanks. I'd like to stress that drone (and RC aircraft and RC copter) flying is, based on current history, an extremely safe occupation and sport to become involved in. Sadly the media would have everyone believe otherwise. Manned aircraft kill thousands of people every year, but so far no one has ever been killed by a sports drone or RC aircraft. To that extent, there really is NO safety issue that needs addressing, so that heavy regulation of such sporting activities, as seems to be occurring worldwide, must be attributed to other motivations (money/control/tax revenue?).

    There is a wonderful new related sport called FPV (first person view) that is growing like wild fire world wide, in much the same way that skate boarding did some decades ago. FPV via video goggles and an onboard video transmitter, places the pilot IN the vehicle to fly the aircraft visually. It is very exciting and rewarding, much like a video game – but for real. Experienced FPV pilots will explain how it is also a much safer method for control of the aircraft, compared to observation from a distance – as with traditional LOS (line of sight) control.

    It's nice that (from reading the comments) CASA is not addressing the "privacy" issue, as that is very much a misnomer.. There's no such thing these days.. check all the "security" camera's in your average city for instance – and most of those also monitored by the Chinese! Lol. And there's no privacy in the suburbs either, anyone can look over you fence, anytime.

    It's sad however that currently, CASA appear to be 1) making night sport flying illegal – Night RC flying can be very enjoyable and safely conducted quite easily by anyone so motivated; 2) CASA appear to be making FPV flying illegal. That's completely unacceptable of course – the devotees of the FPV sport will simply hope that the regulators will some day catch up with current and popular sporting activities. In the mean time it's only reasonable to see the regulators as the problem, and the danger there is that ALL their regulations are liable to go out the window – with the unreasonable ones.

  2. If you live in Brisbane QLD Brisbane park flyers have just been awarded 10 council drone zone parks where the public can fly there drone from a council park 2kg weight limit. Morton bay city council has also opened a drone park in the last few weeks. AMAS and MAAQ members are covered for PL insurance in all these parks. cost around $50 per year
    You can find all the info on the council website.

  3. Just some points of clarification:

    1. CASA do not address Privacy in any of their regs in CASR Part 101 and have are on the record as saying it is not up to them to regulate of enforce privacy issues.

    2. The max altitude a drone is allowed to fly is 400ft (121.9 metres) and that is measured from the point directly under the drone at any time of the flight. It IS NOT the altitude that is displayed on your drone controller telemetry. For example if you take off from the top of a 100ft cliff and fly to 400 ft altitude and then fly out over the cliff then you are in breach of the 400ft reg as your drone is now at an altitude of 500ft. This one catches out most flyers.

    3. The 30 metres radius separation between people and the drone other than the drone operator also applies to property of people such as houses, vehicles etc. As long as Commercial operators abide by all the extra criteria set out by CASA they may be permitted to fly up to but no closer than 15 metres of persons and/or property.

    4. As well, another catch that most flyers do not know is that that 30 metres is HORIZONTAL separation. Where people are caught out is that they think that if they are 100 metres overhead then they are more than 30 metres from people. If they are within a 30 metre radius of a person or property (eg car) from the point directly under the drone at ANY altitude then they are again in breach of the regs. Think about it…where is the drone going to fall if it ceases to fly for any reason eg throws a prop, battery connection lost etc.

    5. The 300 metres separation rule for sea mammals, while correct, is NOT a CASA regulation – it is a state by state regulation (they all stipulate the 300 metre rule). Eg; in NSW the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 protects marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and seals while allowing people to appreciate them in the wild.

    6. The ban on flying RPAs at night is a blanket ban for Recreational drone flyers and CASA do not stipulate any particular reason eg; loss of VLOS. You can only legally fly a drone at night if you have a REPL and are flying under your or another companies REOC, the operation is for commercial purposes, the REOC holders operations manual lays out the way they mitigate night flying safety issues and CASA have been approached and provided a permit.

    7. Flying in National Parks is again not regulated by CASA but by each individual Australian state's NP departments. Some states dictate that you will need to obtain written approval (good luck with that one!) while at least one has a complete ban (Tasmania). However, in Queensland you CAN fly a drone in a NP, here is an excerpt from the regs re each state:
    "Queensland โ€“ the most open and deregulated of the lot.
    For recreational purposes you do not need a permit to use a drone in Queenslandโ€™s National Parks as long as it weighs under 2kg, there are less than 10 people involved in the film shoot (i.e. the crew) and no buildings or structures are being filmed.
    In short โ€“ No pre-arrangement required. Be safe, be sensible and have fun."

    However, the fine print stipulates that while you are not permitted to operate a drone in a NP (except without either a written approval or in QLD), this means that you are not allowed to conduct takeoffs or landings within the NP's boundaries. If you takeoff and land outside the NP's boundary and just overfly the NP you are NOT breaching any rules. Think about it….normal aircraft overfly NPs all the time – they are just not allowed to land/takeoff inside the park.

    Post Script…. the comment posted by Greg Trainor a mth ago that states that the 120 metre rule only applies in controlled airspace was true up to when the new revision of the regs was published by CASA in Oct 2017. Now it a maximum 400ft (121.9 metres) in ALL airspaces.

    Hope these points of clarification assist you to fly safely and legally

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