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Drone Flying Laws & Rules in Australia

As a responsible drone pilot, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations of flying to ensure the safety of everyone. This goes for those already in the air, those on the ground, and of course ourselves as pilots. To provided added protection, we recommend obtaining insurance coverage from our trusted partner Precision Autonomy.

In this guide, we will take you through the drone laws & rules as defined by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia.

Recreational Flying

If you fly drones purely for recreational purposes, we have already created a comprehensive guide on drone safety rules tailored specifically for you. This guide covers everything you need to know to fly for fun and capture amazing social snaps. If recreational flying is your primary objective, then you won’t need to read the rest of this guide which is tailored for those looking at getting their Remote Pilot License (RePL).

Commercial Flying and Drone Licensing

For those looking to fly drones for work or commercially, then you’ll need to look at obtaining a drone license. Our comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions to help you obtain your license easily.   

Understanding Part 101 of CASR

Commercial pilots taking to the skies will need to know Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR). This outlines all the rules and regulations of “unmanned aeronautical activities” as prescribed by legislation. While the document is over 200 pages long, we have condensed the key information below to help ease you into flying.

Flight Authorisations

Certain locations and conditions may require you to apply for approval from CASA before conducting your drone flight. It is important to note that only the Chief Remote Pilot (CRP) on the Remotely piloted aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) has authority to submit these forms.

Use this 101-09 form from CASA to apply for:

  1. Flight above 400ft
  2. Operations within 5.5km (3nm) of a controlled aerodrome (excluding military controlled)
  3. Operate over a movement area of an aerodrome
  4. Operate over the approach or departure path of a runway at a controlled aerodrome (excluding military controlled)
  5. Operate in restricted airspace
  6. Operate Beyond Visual Line-Of-Sight (BVLOS)

Use this EVLOS form from CASA to apply for Extended Visual Line-Of-Sight (EVLOS).

For anything outside of the above, then you’ll need to use this multi-purpose form from CASA.

If you’re planning on flying within 5.5km (3nm) of Adelaide, Canberra or Perth airport, then you can request a digital authorisation to fly.

Operations in Controlled Airspace – Controlled Aerodromes

A controlled aerodrome is any aerodrome which has an active air traffic control tower. You can use our partner at Aerologix, who created a drone safety app (Apple App Store and Google Play Store) to view these locations.

If you plan to fly within 3nm of a controlled aerodrome then you’ll need to either:

  1. Fly entirely indoors
  2. Fly with a drone weighing less than 250g (so long as it’s not in the approach and departure path of the aerodrome)
  3. Fly with a tether no longer than 150ft (ATC notification required, and not within the approach and departure path)
  4. Seek approval with the 101-09 form

If you plan to fly within 3nm of Adelaide, Canberra or Perth airport you can request a digital authorisation to fly.

Operations at or near Non-Controlled Aerodromes

This also includes helicopter landing sites which have a no-fly zone of 0.75nm, different to the 3nm normally at aerodromes.

You’re able to fly at these sites so long as there is no crewed aircraft in the vicinity. If there is, then you’ll need to land immediately (or not take off). The exception to this rule is if the flight is indoors or tethered (150ft long, and not within the approach and departure path).

Conclusion

By understanding and adhering to the drone laws and regulations set by CASA, you can ensure safe and responsible drone flying in Australia. Whether you fly for recreational enjoyment or plan to pursue commercial opportunities, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to navigate the skies with confidence.

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