3689595165?profile=originalThe Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority has published a proposal to remove commercial remotely piloted aircraft from CASA oversight.

The NPRM states that it "relates to Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) used for commercial operations".

It goes on to say "a key part of this amendment acknowledges the existence of a "low risk" class of RPA operations, which are determined as small RPA with a gross weight of 2 kilograms and below while they are being operated under the standard RPA operating conditions as defined and discussed in this NPRM".

"For these RPA operations, CASA proposes that the requirements for a Remote Pilot (RP) Certificate or an Unmanned Aircraft System Operator’s Certificate (UOC) will not apply."

This would be pretty revolutionary given the number of useful tasks a lightweight UAV can perform.  A farmer can freely use a Bixler to survey not only his or her crops but also also the crops of neighbours and charge a fee.

"Safe skies for all" is CASA's motto, leading to some huffing and puffing by some who foresee the nation's airliners sucking in "drones".  Any idiot who wants to fly near full-size aircraft isn't going to be stopped by needing an operator's certificate, they're already breaking plenty of rules.

It may be a sensible way to ultimately increase public knowledge and responsibility regarding remotely piloted aircraft.


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  • Andrew:

    From the regs:

    "101.075 Operation near aerodromes

    (1) A person may operate an unmanned aircraft at an altitude above 400 feet AGL within 3 nautical miles of an aerodrome only if:

    (a) the operation is permitted by another provision of this Part;"

    From the Advisory Circular (AC 101-3(0)):

    8.1 Before flying above 400ft within controlled airspace or within 3 nautical miles of an aerodrome, the operator of a model aircraft must obtain permission from the appropriate air traffic control service or CASA as appropriate."


    That's different from the reg, and if you notice in the e-booklet, 30m separation and flight over populous areas are "must not", proximity to airports is "should not". I queried CASA, and they said that it was an airport restriction, rather than a CASA restriction, and didn't really elaborate.


    Before you get too cocky, look at all the other model regs - not over populous areas, 30m from people, and not a hazard to aircraft.  While you *might* be able to argue the 3nm below 400ft, you'll probably annoy them enough to try to get you for one of the others. 


    One other factor - the altitude and exclusion zone may seem excessive (and to some extent they are when everything is going to plan), however with the stability capabilities of the current batch of flight controllers, a flyaway can take an aircraft quite a distance.


    By the way, and excellent bit of disingenuous headline baiting there "a proposal to remove commercial remotely piloted aircraft from CASA oversight."


  • @davidbuzz this change is only what is considered commercial. Yes next the actual rules could be looked at, but one good bit of news at a time. Governments need time to make changes. If you have a commercial license though, you can then apply for a NOTAM to fly anywhere - it will be assessed and approved/rejected.

    Andrew Rabbitt - there is heaps of references on the net to the 3nm - here this PDF article puts it at 5.5km - http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/lib100071/flying_with_co.... Here is the official rules - http://casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/rules/1998casr/101/101c03.pdf - which specifically state 3nm from airport for < 400 feet. 

    Controlled airspace is 2000' where I live, so I can fly that high (2000' sea level, not ground). So in a way Andrew you are right - there is definitely confusion there, the 400' rule is for controlled airspace (most cities). I am looking into getting airspace information into ground stations - would be awesome useful for planning, we use it for our Glider computers.

  • Andrew - Other than the previously provided e-bookletHere is the relevant map for my home city which illustrates the 5.5km exclusion zone around major airports.  I remember seeing one of these pdf maps for each major city, but I only downloaded Sydney. I am not quite sure where on the CASA site I found this, but it was only downloaded early last month. Unfortunately I cannot point you to the specific regulation - it may or may not exist, I am just not aware of it. Perhaps you could direct your question to Casa's Safety Promotions Branch for a more informed response.

  • THAT is what I'm talking about! Let's kidnap some of those regulators and silently replace some of the incompetent EU commission types with them in a silent night operation :).

  • Moderator

    Test's for sure above 2kg AUW but this makes the Bixler a commercial platform! I can't see this happening in the USA, its too sensible. There are millions of acres of land all around the world that are far from airports or CAS that could use this rule. 

  • Awesome news! I think that operators should still sit a 'common sense' test that has a range of scenarios relating to the safe use and practices for remotely piloted aircraft. Make it a small fee to cover the costs...

    This way people must know how to safely operate. 

  • David, can you point out the regulation that makes recreational flight of a quad within 3nm of an (Australian) airport?  I haven't found it and believe it's actually a myth, but I don't want this to descend into a raging argument like it has done previously.

  • Developer

    It's a good start, but they've still got it wrong.    It completely disallows flight of things like small quadcopters and toy helis  when within 3nm of an airport... when I'm sure there are hundreds/thousands of these sorts of toys flown "illegally" all the time in cities where the airport and residential areas overlap, like where I live.    Why do they ban them?    ... because they might fly above 400ft accidentally, and interfere with a real aircraft.     Instead they need to add an additional  limit of "not above local terrain height, such as buildings and powerpoles", or "not above 50ft" or something, and allow that to with 1nm of the airport.

  • Heh... ill believe it when I see it!

  • Moderator

    Australia leads the way again, but of course as its not invented in the USA it cannot be safe or even exist. I can see the UK following this example. Well done CASA! Sensible regs is what you get when your regulator and industry body are engaged with the grass roots rather than DoD vendors.  

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