Australia's Drone Cops Say New Laws Are Coming Soon

Australia's flight safety body, the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) is currently working on new rules for drone pilots, which will change the way you fly your quadcopter around the country.

CASA's director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, flagged some of the rules set to be changed in a recent speech on "remotely piloted aircraft".

Skidmore said that the first rule to change will be for commercial operators. Drones under 2kg will no longer need approval from CASA before commencing flight operations in relation to commercial work. Commercial pilots still need to obtain their operator's certificates, however.

CASA will work on an expanded set of regulations for hobby and consumer-grade drones once the commercial weight approval rule has been implemented.

These new rules will address things like flying drones beyond the operator's line-of-sight, operating a drone in an airspace where other aircraft are flying and autonomous drones that require little to no input from operators to fly.

In the meantime, CASA has been scouring YouTube for Aussie drone pilots breaking the rules in their aerial videos and issuing fines accordingly.

Make sure you read our guide on the current rules for drone pilots in Australia!



    Goddamn I want to play with drones. But the fun police have already sucked the fun out of it, and are trying to suck even more fun out of it.

      What would you like to do that is illegal exactly?
      I can see why they want you to avoid certain airspace, and be within eye-sight of the drone.
      I can also see why their are weight restrictions and restrictions on flying over people.

        Grab video's of my friends doing things without the fun police trawling for my video on youtube, deeming me guilty until proven innocent, and having to prove it was for hobby purposes and nobody paid me would be great.

        I would like to fly a drone over the footy grand finals, while I'm hidden in a a windowless van in the car park, and then sell the footage even though I don't have a commercial license. Which would break about 75 regulations in Australia no doubt, although is probably PERFECTLY legal in 'merica where the fun police don't rule (probably because the they are too busy violently subjugating their ethnic minorities to waste time being 'fun' police).

        'Course I'd have to have enough money to buy a drone in the first place ... so I think everyone is safe really :)

        Last edited 28/04/15 5:41 pm

          Depends what match in 'Murica - the FAA banned drones over most of the Superbowl city this year - the FAA enacting a 30mile (48k) no-fly zone for drones.

      I have plenty of fun making 3D models and flying around all sort of places with approvals, including around RAAF airspace, good fun. Love the radio call when the tower addresses you directly instructing you to land because "fast jets" are in bound.

        Can I contact you symo? Kev 0466884575

        Last edited 30/09/15 3:12 pm

    An remote controlled copter is NOT a drone.

    You know what? I think there should be a "Neighborhood Watch" of sorts, consisting of drones that monitor other drones, making sure they aren't filming us through our windows. I think that would prevent a lot of problems. Thoughts? ;)

      Interesting idea, but who will watch the drones that monitor the drones?

      South park drone ep is about this.

      yes, then we should weaponize these 'watch drones' and they can have battles with the invading drones !!!

    I'm a commercial drone pilot and operator, and I don't have to gain permission for every flight, only those that are outside the standard operating restrictions (height, people, towered aerodromes etc) Any thing inside the normal restrictions can be be done any time, provided you follow your operations manual procedures (which you do anyway).

    The biggest change that was made to a UAC holder recently was the removal of gaining area approval for flying within 3nm of ANY airport, now its relaxed to just towered aerodromes which opens up a huge amount of flight areas previously costing $500 for approval per flight.

    ironically in the past CASA required a 5 page application that cost $500 and didn't guarantee approval because it was Air Services jurisdiction, but if you fly in R2 and R3 military airspace all you need to do is phone the tower and let them know what you are doing and yo're good to go. No fee, no worries. The irony.

    So you can ride a motorbike with a noise level that can be heard for a kilometre and you can drive a car like a lunatic and there's never a cop in sight and yet there are drone police that are watching our every flight on YouTube !!
    Unbelievable just how our society gauges right and wrong.

      Cops do go after hoons who post to youtube as well

    Who would watch the drones watching the drones?

    Simple... MIrrors. Don't even need to feed them. Just keep them clean.

    I've been a drone pilot for a while and whenever flying my drone, I always use common sense and always stick to the rules. This helps me avoid confrontations with the law and the public in general. If you want to have fun, you should always make safety your first priority over anything else.

    Last edited 18/05/15 12:41 pm

      ?? "Drone Pilot" OR RC Fixed/Rotary-Wing / Quad/multi-copter Pilot. The difference is in the licencing and commercial operation.

      Commercial operation without correct registration is illegal in Australia in any event.

      BUT having fun without endangering other people is not illegal. Just make sure you have landowner permission before overflying private or public property.

      Last edited 28/09/15 3:02 pm

        Actually you don't need permission to fly over anyone's property, this is the first thing you are taught when gaining your PPL, otherwise how would the aviation industry operate? All flights are over someone's land.

        However, safety is to be adhered to which means you have to asses the danger to the public and yourself no matter where you fly, this could trigger an approval process depending on the location and type of flight requested.

          Hi symo, I thought there was a privacy issue with flying a camera drone over private property? I believe you can take a photo/video of private property but only from OUTSIDE private property. So if I'm 300' above my neighbors property then I'm trespassing? Is this true? Cheers Crispin.

        I know drone is not the correct term here, but I meant RC multi-copter pilot.

    There are literally uncountable ways a person can enjoy flying a drone (or UAV or RPAS) aircraft without breaching any of the regulations; regulations which are primarily put in place for safety reasons. If the only way you can have fun flying one is by doing something dangerous or illegal, then good luck to CASA hunting you down.

    So far incidents in Australia include a drone being crashed into the Harbour Bridge, another crashing into a building in Sydney city, another taking out a runner in a marathon, another almost taking out a Westpac Rescue Helicopter that had to dodge to avoid it, and the list goes on.

    Stupidity like this is what forces the so called "drone police" to have to go into action.

    I believe drones deserve better press than they're getting. Their potential contribution to search and rescue, agriculture and scientific applications doesn't get a mention from headline-seaking media. Anybody interested in demonstrating what UAVs can do - call me - Sydney 0466884575.

    I think it should be more a height restriction with in aero port no fly zones. 5 km from aero ports restricts drones from a lot of good filming. How can flying 20m high below tree level along the coast or similar situations be harmful to aircraft. Common sense should prevail, unless of course it's good for revenue raising. I agree with most rules of drone flying but a bit more thought put into it would open up a new world for hobby photographers

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