Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has once again stated that its mandatory drone registration and pilot accreditation will open later on this year, on September 30. It was originally set to open last month, but was deferred due to COVID-19.

The new drone registration and pilot accreditation will require everyone using a drone for commercial purposes, flying for hire or reward, to complete the registration and become accredited via an online test starting on September 30.

The move comes as Australia continues to focus on regulating drone flights and limiting the number of people flying illegally without understanding the rules in place.

For now, only commercial operations will have to register, with registration for recreational drone pilots expected to commence sometime in 2022. The price of the registration is unknown at this point.

Registration

Registration will require applicants to be at least 16 years old, have proof of identification, have an aviation reference number (ARN), provide information on the drone, and provide a form of payment. The registration will be completed via the applicant’s myCASA account. This will have to be renewed every 12 months.

Accreditation

Accreditation will require applicants to watch a short online video on basic rules of flying drones in Australia, and then pass a quiz. Accreditation will last for three years and must be renewed to continue flying.

Questions and answers

Do I need to register if I sell prints or digital photos?

Yes. It’s fine to post photos or videos to Instagram or another sharing site. But once you accept payment for prints or digital copies you are required to register your drone and become accredited.

Do I need to notify CASA before flying?

Yes. You will have to notify CASA of when, where, and the intent of your flight before taking to the skies. This ensures you won’t encounter any problems while flying and provides a way for CASA to keep a record of the commercial flight.

Do I need to keep a flight log?

The simple answer is yes. If you are flying in the excluded category (sub 2kg) you will only be required to keep an operational flight log. This includes location, height flown, type, model, and ID of the drone, along with the date and time of the flight, the reason for flying, and if the drone is still operational by the end of the flight. This record must be kept for three years.

If you are flying a drone heavier than 2kg commercially you will be required keep the operational log along with a technical flight log for seven years, and a remote pilot flight log for three years. The technical log requires you to record full maintenance and total flight time of the drone, similar to how a service record is kept on a car. This allows CASA to check it at any time and allows a future buyer to ensure the drone is safe. The remote pilot log requires you to record how much time you’ve had flying the drone, the information of the drone, and flight data, similar to the operational flight log.

Let us know if you have any other questions about the drone registration and pilot accreditation.

Photo: Diana Măceşanu

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