Drone registration on its way

New CASA standards require drone registration and operator accreditation


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Operators of commercial drones less than two kilograms in weight will soon need to be registered and accredited with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Operators of commercial drones less than two kilograms in weight will soon need to be registered and accredited with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

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New CASA standards will require drone registration and operator accreditation

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All drone operators will need to register their drones and gain accreditation under new rules being phased in by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority over the next 12 months.

Immediately in effect are specific requirements for the on-going approval of flying a drone in extended visual line of sight operations and ensuring there is a buffer between a drone and any controlled airspace above it.

The other rules, due to be phased in over the next 12 months, include requirements for drone accreditation, online user training and changes to training units.

Spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Peter Gibson said while CASA had not yet settled on all the detail, the new drone registration and accreditation scheme was scheduled to begin by the middle of the year.

"It will start with the under two kilogram commercial category, which is where most people on farms are operating," he said.

"Currently they need to notify us that they are going to operate in that category and to provide their their details and acknowledge they will follow the safety rules.

"What they will need to additionally do once the scheme is up and running is to formally register their drone with us and more importantly do the accreditation."

Mr Gibson said the accreditation and training would not be onerous or expensive.

"It will consist of some online material, primarily video, and you will be asked to answer some questions to show you have an understanding of what you have read and watched, and again acknowledge that you will follow the safety rules," he said.

"It will all be done online, it should take you no longer than ten or fifteen minutes, there will be a small cost involved but you are talking tens of dollars, not hundreds."

Mr Gibson said while eventually the rules would apply to all drone users, the first group they would ask to register are those flying in the commercial space, this includes not-for-profit groups, such as bush fire brigades and surf life savers, as well as those using drones in the course of their business.

"This group includes a lot of farmers and a lot of real estate agents," he said.

"It will apply to everybody, recreational users as well, but the first group of people we are going to ask to get registered and accredited are the under 2kg commercial operators.

Mr Gibson said operators who already held a drone pilots licence would already meet and in fact exceed the accreditation requirements.

"If you are an over 2kg commercial drone operator, or you want to get into more complex drone operations then you currently will continue to need to be a certified drone operator for your organisation, and the individuals who fly those drones will need a drone pilots licence," he said.

"If you want to do more with your drone, that is the space you need to be in, for example the base rule us no flying drones closer than 30 metres to other people. If however you are a certified this drops to 15 metres.

"It also allows you to apply to fly beyond visual line of sight."

Mr Gibson said more information regarding the rules as they were released could be found on the CASA website.

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