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Drone video rules in Australia

Darryl Anderson
by Darryl Anderson
23rd March 2016

The Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has strictly controlled commercial use of drones in Australia since 2002.

Operators of unmanned aircraft are considered part of Australia’s aviation industry. They must be licensed with CASA and adhere to strict regulations for flying drones.

Be mindful of the rules when making aerial footage. CASA will prosecute people who flout the law.

Australian drone regulations

In Australia, a large UAV cannot fly:

  • higher than 400 ft (122 m)
  • within close proximity to an aerodrome
  • in icy conditions (without anti-ice or de-icing equipment)
  • in poor visibility (less than 5 km or 1000 ft)
  • over designated airspace
  • over populous areas (without certification for high altitude).

Flying small video drones

Small UAVs do not require approval in Australia if they remain:

  • clear of designated airspace, aerodromes and populous areas
  • below 400 ft (122 m) above ground level.

Commercial use of video drones

To fly a drone of any size for commercial purposes, a videographer undergoes a rigorous approval process, which includes obtaining a Class 2 medical certificate, a UAV Controller Certificate and an RPA Operators Certificate from CASA.

Relaxation of regulations

CASA has announced amended drone industry regulations that will come into effect September 2016, including new categories of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). Stay tuned!

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