Being the tech-savvy lawyers that we are, it's
important to keep up with the latest trends. And there isn't
much that's more on trend right now than drones (also known as
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's), remotely piloted aircraft or
model aircraft). With the acquisition of an office drone imminent,
we decided to look at the top 5 things drone owners need to
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) manages the use of
drones in Australia under the Civil Aviation Safety
Regulations. CASA distinguishes between model aircraft (drones
used for fun) and remotely piloted aircraft (drones use for
business or research). The same model drone can be categorised as
either a model aircraft or remotely piloted aircraft –
it's what you do with it that will determine what CASA calls
If you intend to fly a drone for commercial reward, you need an
unmanned aerial vehicle controller's certificate and unmanned
operator's certificate for your business. It has been
speculated that these requirements will be loosened by CASA this
year so that commercial remotely piloted aircraft under 2 kilograms
will be exempt from certification requirements.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act, it is an offence to carry out a commercial
activity in a Commonwealth reserve, so remotely piloted aircraft
operators should ensure that any business activities are carried
out well away from national parks.
There is currently no guidance on how the privacy of
individuals can be protected from remotely piloted aircraft. The
Privacy Act only applies to Commonwealth agencies and organisations
with an annual turnover of more than $3 million (with exceptions).
As such, most small remotely piloted aircraft operators would not
be subject to privacy legislation. There is however increasing
concern that people might be filmed by drones in their own
backyards without consent, so it's possible that legislative
reform will come this way soon.
While you don't need any formal qualifications to operate a
drone for fun, you do need to observe some rules. For example, you
can only fly your aircraft in your line of sight and during
daylight hours, and you can't fly over populous areas, like
beaches or other people's backyards.
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This decision will be significant to aviation industry participants in assessing whether claimants in the context of international or domestic carriage by air have commenced claims in an appropriate forum in Australia.
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