Effective 29 September 2016 are amendments to the regulation
relating to the use of civil and commercial drones. The Civil
Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR), the regulatory tool affecting
drones, will amend Part 101 of the regulation to lessen the
severity of the current regime pertaining to commercial drone usage
Who does it impact?
The increased use of drones across many commercial practice areas
including real estate, agribusiness and photography means that the
new regulations, effective 29 September 2016, will provide both
clarification and efficacy.
Drones, correctly referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
have different regulations dependent upon their use for
recreational or commercial purposes. Amendments to Part101 include
three critical changes.
Classification of drones based on gross weight. They will be
classified into four categories:
Very small – under 2kg
Small – between 2-25kg (a restriction may be required at
Medium – between 25-150kg
Larger – over 150kg
Standard operating conditions
Operation of drones must comply with the RPA standard operating
conditions based on listed flight heights found on the CASA website
and relevant safety procedures.
Licensing and certification
If the drone is being used for the purposes of economic gain, an
RPA Operator's Certificate is required, however if the RPA is
less than 2 kilograms it is sufficient to
notify CASA. If the drone is being used
recreationally and not for economic gain RPA Certification is not
required, however it is essential to comply with safety
Notably, anyone holding the current Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle
(UAV) Operator's Certificate can continue to operate as normal,
unless the certificate is varied or renewed and then they will be
issued with an RPA Operator's Certificate.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Australian High Court was recently given an opportunity to consider the reach of the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (Cth) in the cases of ACQ Pty Limited v Cook and Aircare Moree Pty Limited v Cook (both of which were heard together).
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