Clearing the air on remotely piloted aircraft regulations

September 16, 2014


CASA officers will explain regulatory trends for unmanned aerial aircraft.

Remotely piloted aircraft will be demonstrated by a team of officers from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority at the field days Agri-Centre.

The team of Margo Marchbank, Robert Wilson and Simon Denby will speak to field day visitors on the education and safety of using small remotely piloted aircraft.

Manager of the Future Technology and Regulatory Trends branch Jim Coyne said the International Civil Aviation Organisation had proposed a new framework for unmanned aircraft.

He said the term UAV has been replaced with remotely piloted aircraft systems, and the term drone was not used in the CASA regulation.

“Drones are a common term used to designate military unmanned aircraft and can carry weapons legally, whereas remotely piloted aircraft can not,’’ Mr Coyne said.

“They differ from model aircraft in so far as remotely piloted aircraft are used for commercial operations (hire or reward), and model aircraft are used for sport and recreation.

“The operation of a remotely piloted aircraft poses safety hazards to other aircraft users and to the people and property flown over.’’

Mr Coyne said the risks associated with these hazards should be managed at an acceptable level.

CASA considers a remotely piloted aircraft of 2kg and below to have a low kinetic energy, pose little risk to aviation and have a low potential to harm people and property on the ground.

“By coupling this weight with a set of operational restrictions reduces the risk,’’ Mr Coyne said.

“Notwithstanding, the most important point is strict operating rules exist today and will continue to apply to all remotely piloted aircraft operations.

“The alleviation being considered for small aircraft relates to pilot and operator approvals, not to the operating rules and the conditions under which they can be operated.

“The regulation clearly states a person must not operate an unmanned aircraft in such a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property.’’