Drone laws have recently been simplified but the rules governing University operations remain the same.
On 29 September 2016, amendments to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (Part 101) came into effect. The purpose of the change is to simplify the regulation without increasing the risk to public safety posed by the uncontrolled use of drones.
The new Regulations make a number of changes, including:
- Adopting the term Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) rather than Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
- Creating new weight categories
- Introducing a new “excluded” category for some lower risk operations
- Establishing an online notification system for some operators
- Setting new, more restrictive Standard Operating Conditions.
All University-related drone operations will continue to be dictated by the scope of the University’s Operator’s Certificate.
The Operator’s Certificate, issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), allows for a wider weight range of drones to be used and more scope in the operating conditions once approved by the University’s RPA Chief Controller. The Chief Controller is the University’s official contact person for all CASA-regulated activity.
The Chief Controller is based in the Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF). All University personnel must contact URAF before commencing any RPA activity. URAF can also provide technical assistance and advice on training for RPA operators. Early contact with URAF about your project will save you time and misunderstanding about complying with the Regulations.