CASA to release revised UAV laws

By on 5 May, 2015

“Aeryon Scout With Camera” by Dkroetsch from Wikimedia Commons.


The director of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, ­­­­­­­­­­­­Mark Skidmore AM, has delivered a speech indicating that new UAV laws are to be introduced to readdress the restrictions of the civilian use of the technologies.

Currently, an operating certificate and remote pilot certificate are required to be issued by CASA to operate UAV. However, at the 3rd Annual Police Technology Forum in Canberra, Skidmore indicated that for certain applications this framework is becoming outdated.

Skidmore indicated that CASA is in the process of amending the regulations to take account of considerations such as:

  • categorising RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft)  by weight
  • looking at options to provide more flexible requirements for small commercial RPA operators
  • assessing restrictions on flight in the vicinity of aerodromes
  • aligning terminology with ICAO and making appropriate changes to the documented procedures

“The technology has advanced so quickly in this area that small, off-the-shelf types are able to provide diverse capability for a range of applications,” said Skidmore. “The current Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) Part 101 deals with unmanned aircraft, model aircraft and rockets. This regulation was promulgated in 2002 and the first UAV Operators’ Certificate was issued in 2003.”

“Under this regulation, both small and large RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) have been treated similarly with respect to the approval requirements for operations; individuals are required to have a Controller’s Certificate, whereas, the operating entity has to hold a UAV Operators’ Certificate. This regulation is rapidly becoming outdated.”

According to Skidmore, the amendments are expected to become active in the second half of 2015.

To support the use of the technology, CASA will also be publishing a manual of standards and advisory circulars, which together will cover regulations, guidance and general information. A registration system and web portal will be developed to provide assurance of the safety of these operations.

CASA expects an increase in applications for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and will be consulting with industry to develop a strategic plan to guide regulatory progress for more complex operations.

For further information, read the complete transcript of Skidmore’s speech.

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