Australia’s drone registration scheme to start in November 2019

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has announced the start dates for its drone registration requirements for recreational and commercial drones. All drones operated commercially regardless of weight will need to register with CASA from November 2019, while drones weighing over 250 grams operating recreationally need to register from March 2020. The aim of the new rules is to increase safety through increased compliance with the requirements. They will help CASA to target the right safety information to the users who need it most, and make it easier for authorities to identify when someone is breaking the rules.

Recreational drone operators who only ever fly indoors, or only at an approved model aircraft airfield will be exempt from the need to do registration and accreditation. The rules also require all drone flyers to either have a remote pilot licence or have completed a short online safety quiz.

CASA also announced a consultation on the cost of drone registration ahead of the scheme’s introduction. The authority anticipates an annual fee of AUD20 or less per person for recreational drones and for some model aircraft operators, while each commercial drone is likely to be charged an annual registration fee ranging from AUD100 to AUD160 per drone.

CASA ran a public consultation process in 1Q19 and originally planned to introduce the registration scheme from July 2019. The online process of drone registration and accreditation is estimated to take about 15 minutes for most people to complete. People will need to be 16 years or older to register a drone, with younger people to be supervised by a person over 18 years old who is accredited. CASA’s CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said the proposed drone registration and accreditation scheme will bring a range of safety and community benefits.

(Image: CASA)

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