Proposed Changes to Australian Drone Laws

CASA is seeking public feedback on planned changes to drone laws in Australia. While these reforms may increase the cost of drone usage for certain users, they aim to provide greater operational flexibility to experienced drone operators and improve safety for all remote pilot license (RePL) holders through test standards and regulation. Recreational drone users are largely unaffected by the proposed reforms, as new stronger and clearer laws covering recreational use were introduced late last year.

The proposed Part 101 (unmanned aircraft and rockets) Manual of Standards 2018 (CD 1807US) includes:

  • Aeronautical knowledge examination and practical competency standards for RePL (remote pilot license) applicants
  • Separate pathways for existing RePL applicants and those converting or upgrading their license, who will not need to complete an entire introductory course
  • Aeronautical knowledge and practical course requirement standards for drone training organisations, to ensure more consistent and stronger training processes
  • Publishing restricted (no-fly) zones around controlled aerodromes and prescribed areas in non-controlled airspace where drone operations are limited
  • Ongoing area approvals near controlled and non-controlled aerodromes, meaning operators will not have to pay or wait for one-off exemptions
  • Formalising standards for extended visual line of sight operations, allowing remote pilots to expand their flight area beyond their visual line of sight through information relayed by observers
  • Recordkeeping and notification requirements for RPA (drone) Operator Certificate holders

These planned changes come after a CASA review and a Senate inquiry earlier this year which recommended mandatory registration for all drones weighing over 250 grams.

Read more about the planned reforms here and have your say here by the 18th November 2018.

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