04/11/2016 By Ben Southall, Winner of the ‘Best Job in the World’ and AdventureFree Brand Ambassador
- Part 1. Can I fly my drone in Australia?
With consumer drones becoming a realistic photographic and filmmaking tool for the everyday traveller taking one on holiday with you can seem like a great idea but with so many different rules and regulations imposed by the different states of Australia it’s not as easy as simply sending your new-fangled flying machine up in the air to soar with the boobies (they’re the blue-footed birds found around the coastline).
In this post we’ve brought together all information you’ll need to find out exactly where, when and how you can take to the skies and capture the beauty of Australia from the up high. Here’s our guide to staying on the right side of the law in the Great Southern Land:
There are 2 main tiers of rules:
1. Australia Wide Rules: There are a set of nationwide rules laid out by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) - the government organisation who take the fun out of….sorry, police the skies above Australia, so keeping them happy is your number one priority.
2. National Parks: are governed by the state authorities that are responsible for preservation and shared enjoyment of these spaces. The rules are all different and changing regularly.
Australia Wide Base Rules
ALL pilots must adhere to the Base Rules, and if you want to make money from your drone, this is considered a ‘commercial’ use and there are a couple of extra requirements.
If you receive any commercial benefit from your drone usage, then you cross the line and become a ‘commercial operator’. Commercial uses include:
- If you upload your footage or images to YouTube,
- websites or
- social media channels
- any other online video platform,
This opens an entirely new can-of-worms, especially for overseas visitors. Extra rules are:
1. You need to register with CASA for an ARN (Aircraft Reference Number) is compulsory, takes up to five working days to process and requires an Australian home address to register. https://www.casa.gov.au/standard-page/arn-applications
2. Submit a Flight Plan - Give CASA five days notice of the state and region you’re hoping to fly in. Perfect for residents, not so great if you’re here on holiday.
If you’ve just arrived on a plane for a short holiday then what do you do? Fly as a recreational user, don’t try and make any money out of the footage and you can take-off within minutes of landing on Australian soil…assuming you’re at least 5.5km from an airport of course.
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*Drone rules are evolving, and we will update from time to time. This article is for information purposes only and please satisfy yourself of the rules before you fly. This article may not be relied upon as approval to fly.