Australia Loosens Rules for Lightweight Drones

Posted by Betsy Lillian on October 03, 2016 No Comments
Categories : Policy & Regulations

New rules that cut the cost and red tape of operating very small commercial drones, as well as protect public safety, are now in effect in Australia, according to an announcement from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Entities wanting to fly commercial drones with a maximum takeoff weight of less than two kilograms (approximately 4.4 pounds) no longer need to apply for a certificate and license from CASA, which adds that these operators can now avoid paying $1,400 in regulatory fees.

CASA notes that these operators must complete an online notification process and follow strict operating conditions: only flying during the day and in line of sight, no flying within 30 meters of people, no flying above 120 meters, no flying within 5.5 kilometers of a controlled airport, and no flying over populous areas. In addition, they drones cannot be flown near emergency operations.

However, anyone who wants to operate outside the standard operating conditions must apply to CASA for a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate and a remote pilot license.

The new rules also introduce a category for landholders – which means drones up 25 kilograms can be operated without CASA approval. According to the agency, the drone must be operated only on the landholder’s or leaseholder’s own property

This can be done as long as the drone is only operated on the landholders or leaseholder’s own property and there is no remuneration. In addition, the notification requirement applies.

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