What are the rules for flying your Drone? On our travels we often see families putting up their Drone in places that are a NO FLY zone or sometimes very dangerous to people around them. After crashing our first drone (hahaha don’t mention this to Wayne #sorepoint) we went straight to the experts to ask them the Do’s & Don’ts before we decide if we get another one! We asked Josh & Kelli, the owners of Aerial Vision Sound – professional Drone pilots in our home town, to jot down a few simple points for us all to follow. Enjoy!
With the popularity of drones, there are a few do’s and don’ts to remember!
We have all seen or heard about drones (or UAVs) being used for agriculture, search and rescue, survey and even food delivery in some parts of the country.
Recreationally, more and more photographers and campers/travellers are starting to use drones on their trips, capturing stunning views that cannot see from the ground, plus the added bonus to record video too! With social media and personal travel blogs growing in popularity – and the desire to share photos/video with our loved ones – drones are a great way to do this.
If you’re thinking about buying a drone or you already own one, there are a few things to remember when operating. Drones are actually regulated in Australia by CASA – Civil Aviation Safety Authority. They estimate there are between 100,000 to 150,000 drones in operation in Australia. With this in mind, CASA created the websiteto help owners understand the rules on where, when and how to fly safely. Breaking these rules can result in fines etc.
I will briefly touch across some of the most important rules that apply to recreational flyers.
- DO remain 30m away from people at all times.
- DON’T fly within 5.5km of an airport with a tower.
- DO land your drone as soon as possible when you become aware of any aircraft operating near you.
- DON’T fly higher than 120m (400ft) from the ground.
- DON’T fly at night.
- DON’T fly in restricted airspace.
- DO check if you are allowed to fly from your location.
As you travel to new locations, it is tempting to simply fly the drone immediately, however it is a good practise to check your location first – be it national parks (such as NSW National Parks, Parks VIC), state park, caravan parks and even council land.
Check out the location’s website as some parks have a blanket ban on launching and landing a drone within the boundaries of their park without a drone license, $20 million public liability insurance and a permit from the park. The fine for flying without permission can run into thousands of dollars.
The main thing to remember is to have fun, fly safely and to respect people’s privacy.
There are a few Facebook groups for the drone community to share pictures and ask questions. The largest FB group ‘DJI Owners of Australia’ has over 15,000 members, plus state-specific FB groups such as ‘Melbourne Drone Flyers, Sydney Drone Flyers, Brisbane Drone Flyers etc and many more. These groups can be a great place to gain technical knowledge, meet other owners, buy a second hand drone or just share your experiences.
In general, there are 3 categories of pilot experience.
- Recreational. No licence required, but you must adhere to SOC (Standard Operating Conditions). You cannot sell images, charge or hire for work or for financial gain.
- Sub 2kg. You can do commercial work if the drone weighs less then 2kg. No licence is required but you must adhere to SOC (Standard Operating Conditions) and have a ARN (Aviation Reference Number).
- A Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) entitles a drone pilot to fly a drone over 2kg for a business for commercial gain. The business must hold a Remote pilot Operator Certificate (ReOC). These businesses can have different operating conditions, ie fly at night, fly 15m-30m from people (with permission and waiver) plus more.
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