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No fly drone zones: Why can’t you fly a RPA on campus?

The North Terrace campus is a no-fly zone because it is within the airspace controlled by the Adelaide Airport.

From the Control Tower at the Airport, Airservices Australia personnel assess and direct the flight paths for all planes coming in and out of the city. The North Terrace campus is also adjacent the RAH emergency retrieval helipad which operates around the clock to bring critically ill or injured people to the hospital for treatment.

Up at Roseworthy, the University’s site shares airspace with the Royal Australian Air Force’s Base at Edinburgh, so flights above this campus are also restricted.

It’s about public safety

The reason for restrictions on drone, or remotely piloted aircraft, operations is simple: public safety. Imagine the commercial pilot who encounters an unknown object in their flight path as they are descending over the city towards the Adelaide Airport. A split second decision will determine the outcome for the pilot, the passengers and for all the people on the ground below who are going about their daily business. There is no room for error in this scenario!

When airspace is being shared by multiple users, pre-planning and communication are essential. That’s why approval is required for any flights over University campuses. The approval process ensures that all public safety risks have been considered and other users of airspace can be notified of the planned operation.

The Chief Remote Pilot can help

If you are considering using drones at any of the University’s campuses (or for any other University related purpose), get in touch with the Chief Remote Pilot as soon as possible. The Chief Remote Pilot is the University’s point of contact for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which is responsible for regulating airspace. CASA will not give you permission for any University-related operation that has not been vetted and approved by the Chief Remote Pilot.

The University has systems in place to ensure that all RPAS activity complies with the highest technical and safety standards set by CASA. This ensures that University personnel have a solid base to conduct a range of approved flight activities. It is also a condition of the University’s insurance policy that the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations are observed and enforced.

With around 25,000 staff and students coming and going and planes and helicopters flying above our campuses, managing risks to safety is incredibly important and incredibly challenging. You can help by seeking advice from the Chief Remote Pilot before you dream, promise or contract to fly a drone.

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