What you need to know for safe drone flights this summer
AUSTRALIANS are flying drones in record numbers.
More drones in the sky means it's important we all understand the rules that keep us safe.
In August 2019, CASA unveiled a new look website for people who fly drones for fun.
CASA said the Know Your Drone website was easier and quicker to navigate and includes the latest news and information about Australia's recreational drone safety rules.
To have successful flights this summer - here's what you need to know.
KNOW YOUR DRONE
Take the quiz here.
• You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level.
• You must not fly over or above people or in a populous area. This could include beaches, parks, events, or sport ovals where there is a game in progress.
• Remember, you must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another
aircraft, person or property.
• You must keep your drone within visual line-of-sight. This means always being able to
see the drone with your own eyes (rather than through a device, screen or goggles).
• Respect personal privacy. Don't record or photograph people without their consent
-this may breach other laws.
• If you're near a helicopter landing site or smaller aerodrome without a control tower,
you can fly your drone within 5.5 kilometres.
• If you become aware of manned aircraft nearby, you will have to manoeuvre away
and land your drone as quickly and safely as possible.
• You must only fly during the day and you must not fly through cloud or fog.
• You must not fly your drone over or near an area affecting public safety or where
emergency operations are underway. This could include situations such as a car crash,
police operations, a fire or firefighting efforts or search and rescue.
• If you intend to fly your drone for or at work (commercially), there are extra rules
you must follow. You may also need to register your drone and get a licence or
• You must keep your drone at least 30 metres away from other people.
• If your drone weighs more than 100 grams, you must fly at least 5.5 kilometres away from
a controlled airport, which generally have a control tower at them.
CHAT WITH CASA
CASA recently launched a new virtual assistant for drone flyers. The assistant appears at the bottom right hand corner on the drone-related pages of the website. It can answer simple questions like "How high can I fly my drone?" or "Where can I fly my drone?", through to more complex scenarios such as "Do I need a drone licence?". Since July 2019, its had more than 2700 conversations and answered more than 2300 drone flyers questions first go. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Whether you're a recreational or commercial drone flyer, CASA-verified drone safety apps provide customised location-based information about where you can and can't fly your drone, in accordance with aviation legislation. OpenSky is the first CASA-verified drone safety app to be released and it's now available for use. You can download the mobile app or use the web-based version. OpenSky replaces the "Can I fly there?" app which has now been decommissioned.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
CASA recently tested the knowledge of recreational drone flyers in Australia, and they said the results were surprising! Just over half of the participants correctly identified the drone safety rules. Breaking the rules can land you in trouble - you can be fined or even taken to Court. So, before you fly, make sure you're up to date on the latest rules.
Check out the handy apps here.
FLYING NEAR EMERGENCIES
If you fly - they can't.
As bushfires continue to threaten homes and towns across Australia, this is a timely reminder that flying your drone near emergencies can cause major safety risks to response teams, both in the air and on the ground. Fines of up to $10,500 can be issued for flying anywhere near bushfires while emergency operations are underway. Creating a hazard to firefighting aircraft can also result in two years jail. Check out what CASA has to say here.