Australia’s CASA to pilot streamlined drone flight approval process at three airports

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia has announced a trial of a streamlined approval process for commercial drone flights near three capital city aerodromes will start in May 2021 at Canberra, Perth and Adelaide aerodromes.

“It means remotely piloted aircraft operator certificate (ReOC) holders will be able to apply through a CASA-verified drone safety app for approval to fly in designated areas within three nautical miles of the aerodromes. This digital and automated process will reduce application processing times from weeks to minutes. The designated areas have been identified as safe for drone operations and will not place normal manned aircraft operations at risk.”

“We will check requests against CASA and Airservices data to decide whether the operation can be automatically authorised,” according to CASA. “If approved, you will be notified in near real-time in the CASA-verified drone safety app. If a new area approval instrument is issued during the trial, we will notify you – your existing airspace authorisation is no longer valid and (you) must submit a new request. For approved flights in the trial, you do not need to: tell the air traffic control tower before your fligh (or) submit a notice to airmen (NOTAM).”

The trial does not include recreational drone flyers or people who operate in the excluded category, which includes some commercial drones under two kilograms.

CASA’s acting CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Graeme Crawford, said the trial will make sure the systems and processes work effectively while ensuring the right safety outcomes. “Our aim is to reduce red tape wherever we can while always keeping safety as the number one priority,” Mr Crawford said. “This will make business easier for many commercial drone operators and reduce processing times for CASA and Airservices.”

The requirements

Only organisations that hold an active ReOC can take part in the trial. The chief remote pilot must submit the request for flights:

·       within 5.5 KM (3 NM) of Adelaide (YPAD), Canberra (YSCB) and Perth (YPPH) airports

·       only during daylight hours

·       no longer than one calendar day in duration

·       a maximum of 30 days in advance.

Remote pilots operating under the authorised ReOC can carry out the approved  flights, provided the remote pilot holds a valid:

·       remote pilot licence (RePL)

·       aviation radio qualification (such as an aeronautical radio operator certificate).

To take part in the trial, operators must sign-up using a participating CASA-verified drone safety app:

·       ok2fly by AvSoft

·       OpenSky by Wing Aviation


For more information


(Image: Shutterstock/ Skorzewiak)

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