When it comes to the operation of Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPA), the regulations vary from one country to the other. Australia is among the first countries to regulate the remotely piloted aircraft, with its first operational regulation dating way back to 2002. Now before you go out to use your drone be it for commercial use or just for fun, here is what you need to know lest you find yourself in trouble with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
When flying for money, or any form of economic gain, you need to have an RPA operator’s certificate. If the RPA is less than 2kg you will only need to notify the CASA.
The regulations are less restrictive and you do not need to get certified if you are flying for fun.
You are free to fly the drone in visual-line-of-sight. This means that you can only fly it during the day, in clear weather and where you can see it with your own eyes. You are therefore not allowed use telescopes or binoculars.
You should not fly closer than 30 meters to people, buildings, boats or vehicles.
In most Australian cities, which are controlled airspace, you are not allowed to fly higher than 400 feet or 120 meters above the ground.
You should not fly over populous areas including sport ovals, populated parks, or beaches while they are in operation.
Ensure that you do not fly in a manner likely to create a hazard to other aircraft. As such, you should operate your drone at least 5.5 km away from helicopter landing sites, aerodromes and airfields. However, you can still get to fly your drone within this area if you comply with the Standard Operating Condition. All you need to do is to ensure that you do not operate on the approach and departure path. You also need to create a hazard to any aircraft that could be using that area.
Important to note is the fact that any RPA used for recreational or sports purposes that weighs 150 kg or less falls under model aircraft regulations.
Commercial Drone use
You can be able to operate any drone under 2kg for commercial without applying for the Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate. However you will have to register with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The operating conditions are similar to the drones flown for recreational purposes. In addition to this, private landholders can get to operate the RPAs in their own land without getting approvals. The approval is for RPAs up to 25kg, provided the owner does not do it for financial gain.
CASA has put this regulatory requirements in place to ensure airspace safety and penalties can apply if the conditions are not met. So stay safe and abide by the Operating conditions in Australia.