CASA looking into drones in Australia


I copied this from a news article on nineMSN (link to article below)... Once again the key concern appears to be people looking into other peoples back yards... I haven't seen anyone draw attention to the potential danger in having a cowboy crash into a crowd, into traffic or destroy property... just record hi-res images of their p**ed off neighbor in their back yard...

For every mini drone that Australia's air safety watchdog knows about there are two that escape its notice.

Officials from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) told a Senate Estimates hearing on Wednesday how difficult it was to regulate drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that weigh less than seven kilograms and can be purchased easily online from overseas.

CASA director of aviation safety John McCormick told the hearing the commercial drone industry had doubled in the past year with licence holders jumping from 15 to 38.

There were also 12 applications in the pipeline.

They expect overall figures to double again next year.

Regulations are being reviewed.

He said current regulations did not envisage the explosion in numbers among the low weight octocopters that can be ordered online and sometimes carry high fidelity cameras.

There are privacy concerns that mini drones could be used to spy on people in their backyards.

"We are now looking at trying to regulate them," Mr McCormick said.

"I would dare say that for every UAS (unmanned aircraft system) we know exists there are most probably two that we don't know of."

Mr McCormick said the difficulty was that when someone reported the mini drones being flown, by the time CASA is able to get there, the person has gone.

"It's almost impossible to track who it is," he said.

CASA reviewing drones

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    I thought they had actually starting saying  that sub 2kg they were going to relax the rules, simple certification and a set of do not's. The larger platforms going BLOS would need at least PPL exams. Which is not unreasonable.

    There have been disgruntled rumblings about the simpler requirements for sub 2kg.

    Folks need to remember model aircraft don't exist anymore. Platforms exempt from UA regulation do though.

    There needs to be some basic flight knowledge requirement I think we all agree on that, perhaps its time to make it happen instead of just agreeing. Hence the Flight Standards Group

  • Again Monroe, I apologise if my remarks were a bit terse.  But no, I do not know where this PPL thing is coming from.

    There is no current requirement for a PPL to gain an OC in Australia, and for the weight classes that most people here would be interested in, I do not believe CASA have any plans to introduce this requirement.  Happy to be persuaded otherwise if there is some evidence to support the alternative point of view.


  • @Monroe - I wasn't having a go at you, I am sorry if it came across that way.  I am just puzzled at how this PPL thing has gained currency.


  • You do not need a PPL to get an OC in Australia.
    I do not understand where this is coming from.

  • i certainly understand the need for safety and knowledge, but getting a PPL and learning to fly a cessna on the small chance of a small uav going above 400ft is madness. imagine all the knowledge that goes into getting a PPL that is completely irrelevant for flying a mini uav below 400ft. the changes regulation changes are despserately needed. if casa offered a more relevant safety course to educate on air regulations that would be much more helpful and logical.

    requiring a class 2 medical certificate also seems pretty over the top

  • Where is this notion that a pilot's licence is to be required to operate a UAS coming from?
    This is Australia, not the US.

  • I've been considering going into the industry as well, but after reading that it's in the "too hard" basket... how can I get approval if I'm going to run multiple aircraft depending on the task at hand?  it's stupid complex...

  • i agree. i dont see how having a pilot's license means you have the ability to fly an RC aircraft. I'm concerned about how many companies are half way through getting approval for an operators certficate, and that it will delay casa changing the UAS regulations. also that the existing companies that half already forked out a crazy amount of money to get approved will have an agenda for lobby casa not to change the regulations as it will mean more competition... see what happens i spose. this article came up a few days ago as well,is-australia-ready-for-the-day...

  • I'll pretty much guarantee that they don't...  I did have a look at their requirements for licensing as well, they seem ridiculously complex for what they are... if an organisation wants people to follow the rules, they should be clear, concise and offer the training required to be complient.  that way more people will be likely to voluntarily follow the rules... it they are complex and it is unduly expensive to get a license, people just won't do it and will run the risk of not having the required paperwork...


    to be perfectly honest the risk of flying a drone, with or without a camera is no grater than flying a model aircraft, and therefore the same rules should apply...

  • "reporting mini drones".. that's  a bit confusing. flying model aircraft isnt illegal.. and i doubt casa has the resources to actually go around and look for people.

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