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Getting CASA-Registered to Fly Your Drone on Site

| 24.10.2018

If you’re planning on flying a drone to survey your site in Australia, you need to register with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) beforehand. When flying drones for business the requirements differ depending on the craft size. CASA places drones into the following size categories:

  • Micro (up to 250g)
  • < 2kg drones (e.g. Phantom 4 RTK) are treated as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in the “excluded” category
  • > 2kg drones

While there are many types of drones out there, smaller quadcopters, like DJI’s Phantom 4 RTK, are usually all you need to survey your site successfully. However, all drones flown commercially must be registered with CASA no matter the size of the drone. These CASA requirements are detailed further in this help article.

casa drone pilot license

To fly a drone under two kilograms for business, pilots require:

To fly a drone greater than two kilograms for business, pilots require:

Notify CASA before you fly

Using that ARN, fill out the online notification form to let CASA know when you’re flying and where.

This notification lasts for three years before you have to renew. It’s great for long-term operations, like quarries and mines, but you and also let CASA know that you’ll be working in a given region as a civil contractor, too, if you’re flying multiple sites for different jobs.

Fly within standard operating conditions

When you’re doing a survey via drone, you need to follow the rules of the sky. Some of these rules are straightforward like fly only one drone at a time and don’t fly dangerously or in restricted areas, but others are more specific.

  • No matter where you are, you can’t fly higher than 120m (400ft) above ground level.
  • Don’t fly in controlled airspace or near areas where emergency operations are happening.
  • Don’t fly within 30m (98ft) of people not involved in your drone operations or surveying. So you can’t fly over festivals, populated beaches, parks, etc.
  • Keep at least 5.5km (3.4mi) away from controlled aerodromes. (These are usually the ones with a control tower.) Pay particular attention to approach/departure lanes, and always check the Can I Fly There? app beforehand. Should your site be located within that radius, there are special circumstances where you can fly nearby.

If you want or need to operate outside of those conditions, there is more regulation. A business requires their ReOC and, as an individual, you’d need to get your remote operator’s certificate (RePL). (Find out how here.)

But in our experience only about one in 20 people actually need to go that far. The ARN is usually sufficient for most site drone programs, so get registered with CASA today and start flying your site today.

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You might also like:
Top 3 Visuals You Can Get Out of Drone Surveying
Five Steps to Successful 3D Drone Modeling 
How Does Better Data Capture Make the Role of the Surveyor on Site More Important Than Ever?
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