Drone regulations tightened as numbers and safety concerns increase

Stronger and clearer safety rules governing the flying of drones will soon be introduced.

The new rules, introduced by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, are aimed to better protect people and aircraft from drones.  They focus on the operation of recreational drones.

The rules have been tightened in response to community concerns about the safety of drones and the rapid growth in their numbers.

The new requirements are set out in an interim formal direction that will apply until a full review of the drone regulations is completed.

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Recreational drones must now never be flown within 5.5 kilometres of any controlled aerodrome – which are the major aerodromes in capital cities and some regional centres.

In addition, recreational drones must not be flown within 5.5 kilometres of non-controlled aerodromes or helicopter landing sites if it is clear aircraft are operating there.

Recreational drones must be flown below 400 feet at all times, kept more than 30 metres from people who are not involved in controlling the drone and only one drone can be flown at a time.

All drones – recreational and non-recreational – must now be kept away from areas where fire, police or other emergency operations are underway unless there is approval from the person in charge of the emergency operation.

We certainly don’t want to ban recreational drones but we do have to make sure public safety is properly protected.

CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody

Existing rules prohibiting drones flying over and above crowds and groups of people and only allowing flights during the day and within visual line of sight still apply.  Drones must never be flown in a way that creates a hazard to people, property or aircraft.

CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said the new drone rules still allow plenty of opportunities for people to fly drones for fun.

“We certainly don’t want to ban recreational drones but we do have to make sure public safety is properly protected,” Mr Carmody said.

“CASA identified some areas in the drone rules that needed strengthening and clarifying to better manage the risks associated with flying drones.

“The changes make the safety requirements clearer for people flying drones and will make the rules easier to enforce.”

Get more information on the drone safety rules at CASA’s website www.casa.gov.au