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Drone Laws in Australia: Are you flying your UAV / RPA legally?

Hobbyist/Non-commercial Flight

From 25th September 2016 the term UAV will generally be replaced with RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) in official documents and the UAV Controller’s Certificate will be replaced by the Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). For full details of the changes see https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00400.

Very Small RPAs (under 2 kg) – Regulations effective 29th September 2016

The Federal Government has recently passed legislation which will allow a person to operate a very small RPA (that is, one weighing less than 2 kg) without certification, if it is being operated in standard RPA operating conditions. This will be known as an excluded aircraft.

Standard RPA operating conditions means that the RPA must be operated:

  • within visual line of sight
  • below 400 ft AGL
  • during the day
  • more than 30 m away from anyone who is not directly associated with the operation (people being filmed are not considered to be directly associated with the RPA’s operation)

It may NOT be operated:

  • over a populous area
  • within 3 nautical miles of the movement area of a controlled aerodrome
  • in a prohibited area
  • in a restricted area that is classified as RA3
  • in a restricted area that is classified as RA2 or RA1 otherwise than in accordance with regulation 101.065
  • over an area where a fire, police or other public safety or emergency operation is being conducted without the approval of a person in charge of the operation