Australia was the first country in the world to regulate remotely piloted aircraft, with the first operational regulation for unmanned aircraft in 2002. Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 101 is this regulation. CASA is reviewing CASR Part 101, and will modernise it into CASR Part 102 in the near future.

CASA implemented a set of 9 conditions that must be met before operations can commence. Before any flight the operator shall ask himself is it legal:

  1. Within all conditions listed in the schedule for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operators Certificate (UOC)
  2. Under 400 feet (120m) Above Ground Level (AGL)
  3. Outside Controlled airspace/restricted airspace
  4. Greater than 3 Nautical Miles (5.5km) from a registered aerodrome
  5. Outside populous area
  6. More than 30 metres from personnel not involved in operation
  7. Visual line of sight (VLOS)
  8. Day Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC)
  9. Not prohibited by any other State or Federal Regulation

If one or more of the 9 conditions are not able to be met, then the Operator must apply to CASA for an Area Approval.

Area Approvals:

  1. Establish a safety case to support your submission. For this you need to give CASA a comprehensive risk assessment as part of your submission.
  2. Submit detailed application to CASA for review (details of operation, what regulations exemption is requested for, how the operation will control the introduced risks etc.
  3. Pay CASA a review and processing fee (estimate provided after CASA’s initial review of request)
  4. 30 day allowance for CASA to review. This can result in a longer working time frame.
  5. If CASA see no reason for rejection and the correct controls are implemented, the operation will be granted approval to proceed outside of the requested conditions. i.e. fly above 400ft (120m) or within 3NM (5.5km) of an airport

Note: Approvals not always granted