New CASA Drone Regulations Incoming!

by Measure Australia

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had introduced new regulations for the commercial use of drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS). According to the new regulations, businesses and individuals must register any drones flown for commercial use or on behalf of an employer by today, 28 January 2021, or risk paying fines.

This applies to all drones, regardless of the weight and includes:

  • Capturing photography or videos as part of your work
  • Using photography or videos captured with a UAS as part of your work
  • LiDAR laser surveying
  • Drone land surveying
  • UAS Aerial mapping
  • Inspecting industrial equipment, construction sites or infrastructure
  • Monitoring, surveillance or security services
  • Inspecting roofs and company buildings with a UAS

In addition, you'll also need UAS operator accreditation or a remote pilot license to fly a drone for your company or as a part of your job.

Why Is CASA Making this Change?

Drones have made surveying, aerial mapping, and site inspections easier and more affordable, but they can cause harm when used recklessly or with malicious intent. With drones becoming more commonplace, it's important to ensure that they are being operated safely and responsibly. Should an accident or incident involving UAS occur, trace the aircraft back to its owner can help authorities maintain order and keep people safe. After all, drones are aircraft and as a result, are regulated by federal aviation law.

In the hands of an accredited remote pilot or UAS operator, drones can are safe and beneficial. However, even small drones can crash into infrastructure, like power stations, and helicopters or potentially interfere with other aircraft when operated by untrained and inexperienced individuals.

How to Register a Drone in Australia

You can register your UAS online using myCASA. Registration is free until 30 June 2021 all you need is:

  • proof of identity,
  • a myCASA account,
  • an aviation reference number (ARN), and
  • the make, model, serial number, weight and type of drone

Once the registration is complete, you can download or print your certificate of registration. To register a drone, you have to be 16 or older.

Organizations can apply for an organization ARN which will enable your employees to manage your fleet.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

After 28 January 2021, people flying unregistered drones for commercial use could be fined up to $11,100. Trying to evade the law isn't a good idea either. CASA's team of remotely piloted aircraft system inspectors use drone detection devices to monitor UAS activity. Along with the federal, state or territory police, they can request to see a certificate of registration if you're flying a UAS unsafely. The Australian Federal Police has issued 114 penalty notices between 2018 and 2020. CASA's unsafe drones reporting form also empowers the public to report reckless UAS activity.

Drone Operator Accreditation

After 28 January both the pilot AND the drone UAS will need registration and accreditation for any commercial activity and activity outside narrow scope. CASA specifies non-commercial drone activity. Drones won't need to be registered if you are

  • flying a drone indoors,
  • flying a drone that weighs 250g or less
  • flying a drone for personal use or as a sport, and
  • not intending to fly a drone.

Everything outside this scope is considered the commercial use of a drone.

Outsourcing Drone Services

The new CASA regulations are necessary to ensure that drone technology is used safely and responsibly. Still, dealing with the registration process and getting your team accredited can be a nuisance. Not to mention the risk of legal exposure to your business. With stricter regulations on drones and by extension, the services drone technologies offer the construction and agriculture industries, outsourcing to drone specialists, like Measure Australia, can provide you and your customers greater peace of mind.

MA provides drone spatial data collection services across the construction, agriculture, and insurance, resources and more. Its trained UAS pilots are licenced as per CASA regulations and observe the rules to ensure a safe work site and on-time delivery.

Are you a drone pilot? Consider joining Australia's largest drone pilot network! 

Drone pilot applications