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Drone safety rules for Australia. What are they?

Lee Carseldine flying a drone

CASA has gone to great lengths to ensure that Australians have plenty of drone rules to follow. This is essential when it comes to drone safety. There is no legal age requirement for drone flying, which means anyone can own one. Right now, there are believed to be over one million drones operating in Australia. That’s a lot of airborne activity!

Consequently, CASA has introduced a series of new drone safety rules for people to follow.

To help you stay safe and avoid any fines, we’ve compiled the rules down below:

The two golden rules of drone flying

CASA indicates there are two main things that everyone must do when flying a drone:

  • Fly one drone at a time
  • Always fly within visual line of sight

It doesn’t matter how big your drone is or where you are, you can only operate one per time. Maintaining a visual line of sight basically means that you can always see your drone. So, you should only fly it in the daytime, when the sky is clear. Avoid any obstacles - like trees or buildings - and don’t fly in bad weather conditions where your view is obscured. If you can’t see your drone, then you immediately put others at risk.

The main things to avoid when flying a drone

Unsurprisingly, the list of things you can’t do is more extensive than what you can. CASA identifies these key safety rules to abide by:

  • Do not fly your drone more than 400 ft above the ground - your drone controls should have an altitude indicator that tells you how high you’re flying
  • Never fly your drone over groups of people
  • Keep a 30m distance between your drone and people at all times
  • Avoid any emergency situations or scenarios with your drone
  • Don’t venture into restricted airspace or within 5.5 km of a controlled airfield (if your drone is over 100g)

These rules aren’t difficult to follow, and they’re all relatively straightforward. It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and avoiding situations where people are put at risk.

How do I know where to fly my drone?

One of the key safety issues is where you are allowed to fly a drone. On private property, you can fly it wherever you like - if you own the property, of course. In public places, it’s slightly more challenging as certain areas are no-fly zones. Thankfully, CASA has many drone safety apps that you can download and use to locate safe flying zones.

Do you need a licence to fly a drone?

In Australia, you may need a licence if you’re flying your drone commercially. This means that you do it for business purposes, to get money, or if it weighs more than 2kg. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, but the majority of commercial drone pilots need a licence.

It’s important to know the drone safety rules as you can be penalised if you’re caught breaking them. Additionally, CASA will soon be bringing in registration rules for drone owners. As part of registering your drone, you will need to get accredited. This means you have to pass an online test on drone safety. So, the more you know now will help you when this comes around!

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