Madison Marcus | Commercial use of drones in australia more accessible

The commercial use of drones in Australia now more accessible

Author: Mark Yum, Partner | Date Published: 30th September 2016

Changes to drone regulation has made the commercial use of drones in Australia more accessible.

The Civil Aviation Security Authority (CASA), the governing body for aircraft use in Australia, will be releasing new regulations, effective as of 29 September 2016. CASA was the first governing body to formally regulate drone usage for both commercial and civil purposes in 2002.

The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR), the regulatory tool affecting drones will amend Part 101 to lessen the severity of the current regime pertaining to commercial drone usage in Australia.

 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.

New Regulations
Drones, correctly referred to as “Remotely Piloted Aircraft” (RPA) have different regulations dependent upon their use for recreational or commercial purposes. Amendments to Part 101 include three critical changes.

1. 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 7kg)
  • Medium – between 25-150kg
  • Larger – over 150kg

2. 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.

3. 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 guidelines. 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 at which point they will be issued with an RPA Operator’s Certificate.

If any of the above information concerning drone regulation is relevant to you either commercially or recreationally or you have any queries arising, please do not hesitate to contact Madison Marcus on (02) 8022 1222 for further information.

Madison Marcus Law Firm produced this article. It is intended to provide general information in summary form on legal topics, current at the time of first publication. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular matters.

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