FAQs

GETTING STARTED

Accronyms

AC – Advisory Circular

ADS-B – Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast

AIS – Abbreviated Injury Scale

ARN – Aviation Reference Number

BARS – Basic Aviation Risk Standard

BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line of Sight

CASA – Civil Aviation Safety Authority

CASR – Civil Aviation Safety Regulations

CAA – Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

CONOPS – Concept of Operations

CRP – Chief Remote Pilot

ERP – Emergency Response Plan

EVLOS – Extended Visual Line of Sight

FIMS – Flight Information Management System

FPV – First Person View

HLS – Helicopter Landing Site

IREX – Instrument Rating Exam

JARUS – Joint Authorities for Rule Making on Unmanned Systems

JSA – Job Safety Assessment

MOA – Military Operating Area

MOS 101 – Part 101 Manual of Standards

NAIPS – National Aeronautical Information Processing System

NOTAM – Notice to Airmen

OCTA – Outside Controlled Airspace

ReOC – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operators Certificate

RePL – Remote Pilots Licence

RP – Remote Pilot

RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System

RPIC – Remote Pilot In Command

SORA – Specific Operations Risk Assessment

UAV – Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle

UAS – Uncrewed Aircraft System

UTM – Uncrewed Traffic Management

VLOS – Visual Line of Sight

Flying Drones in Australia

Flying Drones within Australian Airspace can be both a recreational activity to enjoy or a commercial activity to take advantage of this new emerging innovative technology and all its capabilities. 

Drones are broken down into different categories. In Australia, the CASA Plain English Guide recognises and describes these as follows:

Multi-rotor Helicopter

This type has more than one power-driven engine (rotor) that will rotate or turn vertically. It takes off, lands, flies and hovers like a traditional ‘single rotor’ helicopter but has more than one rotor. 

Single-rotor Helicopter

This type has one power-driven engine (rotor) and looks a bit like a traditional helicopter. It usually also has another rotor on the tail or end of the aircraft.

Aeroplane

This type looks and flies like a regular plane – it has fixed wings. It also takes off and lands horizontally and usually can’t hover.

Powered-lift 

This type can take off and land vertically (straight up and down) like a helicopter, but can then move into forward flight like a traditional plane.

Airship

This type is engine-powered and is ‘lighter than air’ – it can be filled with a buoyant gas and usually ‘floats’ in the air. A blimp is a good example of an airship.

Recreational flying of Drones can come in many different ways. The most common recreational way to fly a Drone in Australia is over your own property 30 meters away from other individuals. Utilising drones in such a manner can increase safety in activities that are otherwise dangerous, such as checking gutters or looking for potential damage to your property. With this in mind, it is important to ensure you are flying safely and in a non-commercial manner. Follow these 12 steps to ensure you can operate recreationally.

  • Don’t fly higher than 120 Meters (400 feet)
  • Stay at least 30 meters away from others
  • Only fly one drone at a time
  • Keep your drone in sight at all times
  • Don’t fly above groups of people, including at the beach and sporting events.
  • Don’t record or photograph others without their consent.
  • Anything over 250 grams, you cannot fly closer than 5.5km from a controlled airport. (Check on Ok2Fly to see if this is your airport)
  • Don’t fly in a manner that will create a hazard to other aircraft or people. 
  • Only fly during the day, and don’t fly when fog is present or you will be flying in cloud.
  • Any public safety events are a no go! This includes fires, police situations as well as natural disasters.
  • Airports that are not controlled will still have aircraft, so land as soon as you’re aware one is in the area.
  • Don’t fly your drone for any commercial work or any rewards otherwise, you will also need to register your drone and get a licence or accreditation. 

Excluded categories within Australia make up the core of most people’s daily drone activities. It’s important to be aware of what is and isn’t included within Excluded categories. If you are one of the following, you might be able to operate under the excluded category. Businesses that commonly fly under the excluded category with drones between the weights of 249 g – 25 KG are:

  • Photographers and film-makers
  • Real estate agents
  • Researchers
  • Construction workers and tradespeople ‘Tradies’
  • Government and community service providers
  • Aerial spotting
  • Crop, Livestock or equipment inspections
  • Land surveying
  • Agricultural Operations
  • Carrying Cargo

There are excluded category operations individuals can conduct with drones weighing more than 25 KG but less than 150 KG. These operations are called landowner or private landholder excluded category operations, and you must have a RePL for the type and model of drone you want to fly.

All of these excluded category operations require that you must 

  1. You must first get an ARN (you may require an organisation ARN)
  2. Get an RPA operator’s accreditation
  3. Register your drone
  4. Only fly your drone within the drone safety rules

For anything 2 KG and above, you must also ‘keep the required operational records’

One of the most important certifications you can attain when flying drones within Australia is the “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)” This certificate is the backbone of commercial operations as a drone operator. The ReOC is essentially a key that unlocks (subject to approvals) the world of drone operations and increases your capability of operations. With a ReOC you can accept rewards or payment for your services, and it allows you to employ other remote pilots to operate RPA that weight 

  • Less than 7 kg
  • Less than 25 kg 
  • Less than 150 kg
  • More than 150 kg (Additional certification of the RPA is required.)

A ReOC also allows you to apply for additional permissions and approvals to conduct more complex drone operations outside of the drone safety rules, which includes BVLOS operations and operations over or near people (OONP). 

Hover UAV can assist you in attaining this certification as well as many other complex procedural documentation. Contact us today to find out more

Flying Recreationally

Recreational Flying of an RPA is one of the most common activities conducted by Remote Pilots in Australia. Although the activity can be fun, there is still a set list of rules you must follow to remain safe and keep others around you safe.

  • Always fly at or below 120 m (400 ft)
  • Keep your drone at least 30 m away from others
  • If your drone weighs more than 250 grams, you must fly at least 5.5 km away from a controlled airport, which generally has a control tower at it.
  • If you’re near a helicopter landing site or a smaller aerodrome without a control tower, you can fly your drone within 5.5 KM. If you become aware of manned aircraft nearby, you will have to manoeuvre away and land your drone as quickly and safely as possible. 
  • Fly in open spaces away from other people or populous areas. This includes avoiding beaches, parks, events, and sports ovals where there is a game in progress.
  • Always keep your drones within visual line-of-sight. This means always being able to see the drone with your own eyes. (Rather than through a device, screen or goggles) 
  • Keep your drone away from emergency operations. This includes floods, bushfires, law enforcement and rescue operations. Flying your drone over or near an area where emergency operations are underway could affect public safety.
  • If you intend to fly your drone for or at work (commercially), there are extra rules you must follow. You will also need to register your drone and get a licence or accreditation. 
  • Keep your drone clear of aircraft, people and property, to avoid creating a hazard.
  • Respect personal privacy. Photographic or recording people without their consent may breach other laws.
  • Only fly one drone at a time.
  • Only fly during the day and not through clouds or fog.

For more information on flying drones recreationally you can visit the “Know Your Drone” site. There is also a “Quiz” to test your knowledge on the rules surrounding drones. 

Micro Operations

Micro RPA

You can fly a micro drone or RPA that weighs 249 g or less for business or part of your job. You do not need a Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) or Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC)

You must:

  1. You must first get an ARN (you may require an organisation ARN)
  2. Get an RPA operator’s accreditation
  3. Register your drone

Only fly your drone within the drone safety rules

Excluded Operations

Very small, Excluded Category Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

You can fly a very small drone or RPA that weighs 2 Kilograms or less for business or as part of your job if it is flown for specific business-related tasks. This includes;

  • Photographers and film-makers
  • Real estate agents
  • Researchers
  • Construction works
  • Government and community service providers. 
  1. You must first get an ARN (you may require an organisation ARN)
  2. Get an RPA operator’s accreditation
  3. Register your drone
  4. Only fly your drone within the standard operating conditions.

Small, excluded category RPA

You can fly a small drone or RPA that weighs less than 2 Kilograms but not more than 25 kilograms over your land for business or as part of your job, provided you do not accept any type of payment for your services. Examples of types of operations you can do under this excluded category include:

  1. Aerial spotting
  2. Crop, livestock or equipment inspections
  3. Land Surveying
  4. Agricultural operations
  5. Carrying cargo
  6. You must first get an ARN (you may require an organisation ARN)
  7. Get an RPA operator’s accreditation
  8. Register your drone
  9. Only fly your drone within the standard operating conditions
  10. Keep the required operational records
  11. Do not accept payment for the service you provide.

Medium, excluded category RPA

You can fly a medium drone or RPA that weighs more than 25 Kilograms but not more than 150 Kilograms over your own land for business or as part of your job, provided you do not accept any type of payment for the services.

You must get a RePL for the type and model of drone you want to fly.

Excluded Category

Obtaining Operator Accreditation

You must get a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operator accreditation to fly for business or as part of your job if your drone weighs:

  • 250 g or less (a micro RPA)
  • more than 250 g but no more than 2 kg (a very small RPA)
  • more than 2kg but no more than 25 kg and you only fly it over your own land (a small RPA).

To obtain Operator Accreditation, follow these steps:

  1. Create or use your Digital Identity to log into myCASA Portal.
  2. Select ‘Apply for an individual Aviation Reference Number (ARN) –  (You can link your existing ARN or apply for a new one. If you’re operating on behalf of a business, you’ll also need an organisation ARN.)
  3. Enter your details
  4. Select ‘Individual account’, then select ‘Drone accreditation’. Read the decoration carefully then follow the prompts to complete the accreditation quiz. (You require 85% or higher to pass the quiz).

Obtaining a RePL – Remote Pilots Licence

The Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) is granted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and permits remote pilots to operate under an RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC), typically possessed by an approved business. This license allows for the operation of medium-sized Excluded RPAs (ranging from 25kg to 150kg) for agricultural activities.

  1. Get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN)
  2. Find a certified RePL training provider
  3. Pass the required theory component
    4. Pass the practical skills component

(If you want to fly in controlled airspace you’ll need an aeronautical radio operator licence (AROC). You can get prior recognition for your aviation experience if you have either passed:

  • Passed the theory part of any Part 61 flight crew licence (PPL, CPL, ATPL or RPL)
  • An equivalent military qualification or air traffic control licence.

Your RePL will show the type (for example, these are: Aeroplane, Helicopter, Single-Rotor, Multi-rotor, Powered-lift and RPA with a liquid-fuel system.) and weight category of drone you can fly. This includes:

less than 7 kg

less than 25 kg

less than 150 kg (type-specific ratings only)

more than 150 kg (type-specific ratings only).

A RePL does not expire. There is no minimum age to get a RePL.

Obtaining a Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC)

A remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) allows you or your business to trade as a drone service provider.

A ReOC permits your business to conduct a range of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operations—subject to approval—that are not available to other operators.

You do not need a ReOC, if you’re:

Obtaining a  Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC) allows you or your business to operate as a drone service provider for hire or reward and apply to fly outside standard operating conditions. This includes employing remote pilots to operate RPA that weigh:
– less than 7 kg
– less than 25 kg
– less than 150 kg
– more than 150 kg (Additional certification of the RPA required.
You can obtain a ReOC by following these steps:

  1. Appoint a Chief Remote Pilot / Maintenance Controller
  2. Complete the RPA Operator’s Certificate form 101.09
  3. Attach supporting documentation, including CASA operations manuals and CRP
  4. Email your application and supporting documents
  5. Pay the application fee
  6. Pass a chief remote pilot (CRP) assessment

Hover UAV offer ReOC Manual Packages from $925 – Contact the team today

Getting an Individual Aviation Reference Number (ARN)

You must have an individual Aviation Reference Number (ARN) to access CASA services, or to hold any:

  • licence
  • permission
  • authorisation.

To apply for an individual ARN you can either fill out paperwork or apply through the myCASA portal.
1. Log in to myCASA using your individual account

  1. Select ‘Apply for an individual ARN
    3. Enter your details
  2. Submit your identification
  3. Submit your application
Getting an Organisational Aviation Reference Number (ARN)

You will need an organisation aviation reference number (ARN) to interact with CASA on behalf of your business. You will also need an individual ARN.

You can apply for an ARN for your business online, using our myCASA portal.

An organisation ARN allows others in your business to be set up to transact with CASA online on behalf of the business.

To apply for an organisation ARN you can either fill out paperwork or apply through the myCASA portal

  1. Login in to myCASA using your individual ARN and be authorised to apply on behalf of the business.
  2. Select ‘Apply for an organisation ARN
  3. Enter the relevant details
  4. Submit the application
What are Standard Operating Conditions?

Part 101.238 states, “Standard RPA Operating Conditions are at all times during the operation;
– the RPA is operated in Australian territory; and

– the RPA is operated within the visual line of sight of the person operating the RPA; and

– the RPA is operated at or below 400 ft AGL by day; and

– the RPA is not operated within 30 m of a person who is not directly, associated with the operation of the RPA; and

– the RPA is not operated:

1 in a prohibited area; or

2 in a restricted area that is classified as RA3; or

3 in a restricted area that is classified as RA2 or RA1 otherwise than in accordance with regulation 101.065; or

4 over a populous area; or

5 within 3 nautical miles of the movement area of a controlled aerodrome; and

– the RPA is not operated over an area where a fire, police or other public safety or emergency operation is being conducted without the approval of a person in charge of the operation; and

– the person operating the RPA operates only that RPA.

Registering Drones

You must register your Drone or RPA before flying if it is operated for a business or is used as part of your job. You must go to the myCASA Portal to begin the registration process.

This applies to all drones you fly to provide any type of service such as

  • Selling photos or videos taken from a drone
  • Inspecting industrial equipment, construction sites or infrastructure
  • Monitoring, surveillance or security services
  • Research and development (Unless it is a test flight that meets the following)
    • The purpose of developing the relevant aircraft, system or equipment; or
    • For the purpose of testing the relevant aircraft, system or equipment, before it is provided to the initial purchaser of the relevant aircraft, system or equipment; or
    • Following the fitting of relevant equipment to a relevant aircraft or system, that is conducted by or at the request of, the person who fitted the equipment; or
    • Before or after repair or maintenance of the relevant aircraft, system or equipment that is conducted by, or at the request of, the person who carried out, or will carry out, the maintenance or repair and
    • Records of the test flight are maintained. 
  • Any drone activities on behalf of your employer or business.

You must be 16 or older to register a drone, and you must also get an RPA operator accreditation if you fly your drone for business or use one as part of your job. Please note micro drones do not need to be registered.

  • Drone registration costs are $40 per RPA

Significant Change for ReOC Operations

You must not make a Significant Change to your operation unless CASA has, in writing, approved the significant change. (MOS 101 (10A.01 (2))) 

You must make a written application to CASA to approve a significant change. CASA may approve a Significant Change with or without conditions but only if:

  • The change is consistent with the nature and scope of the operator’s certification; and would have an adverse effect on aviation safety.

A list of changes that would constitute a Significant Change is as follows:

  • a change to any of the following:
  • the operator’s nominated personnel;
  • the formal reporting lines for any managerial or operational position that reports directly to any of the nominated personnel;
  • the qualifications and experience which the operator requires the nominated personnel to have;
  • the responsibilities assigned by the operator to the nominated personnel;
  • the operator’s process for making changes to the documented practices and procedures;
  • the managerial or operational positions within the operator’s organisation;
  • the types of RPA being operated by the operator; and
  • a change to any of the following that does not maintain or improve, or is not likely to maintain or improve, aviation safety:
  • the documented practices and procedures for the conduct of RPA operations;
  • the training or checking conducted by the operator;
  • the documented practices and procedures for managing operational risk;
  •  the documented practices and procedures for managing the risk of fatigue in the operator’s personnel;
  • the documented practices and procedures for managing RPA maintenance;
  • and any change in relation to the operator that will likely result in the reissue of the operator’s ReOC.

APPROVALS FOR OPERATING OUTSIDE STANDARD OPERATING CONDITIONS

Flying At Night

CASA has released an instrument to assist RPA operators with night operations it is available here and is called ‘CASA 01/17 Approval — operation of RPA at night’ This instrument applies to the operation of an RPA, other than a large RPA


Amendments must be made to your operations manual to include N-VLOS and ensuring the RPA meets the night equipment requirements is crucial. Furthermore, knowing where to look for first and last light calculations is essential. This information can either be found in NAIPS or calculated manually in the GEN section of the AIP. There will be a training event involved in this approval, which will be done by your CRP.

NAIPS

Flying within 3NM of Aerdromes

You are able to operate within 3 Nautical Miles (nm) of an uncontrolled aerodrome with the expectation that when other aircraft are in the vicinity, you land your RPA immediately. When it comes to Controlled Aerodromes, this changes to not being allowed without prior permission attained from both CASA and Airservices. This 3nm area includes any direction from the measurement point of any runway of the controlled/uncontrolled aerodrome. It is worth noting that although you can fly within 3nm, you are not able to fly into the splays of the aerodromes’ runways. 

CASA has released an instrument relating to Area Approval for Operations of RPA within 3 nm of certain controlled aerodromes. This document is titled ‘CASA 03/24 – Area Approval for Operation of RPA within 3 NM of Controlled Aerodromes using CASA-verified Drone Safety App – Canberra (YSCB), Adelaide (YPAD), Perth (YPPH) and Sydney (YSSY) Instrument 2024’ There are set requirements to use this instrument and regulations about flying over private property and populous areas still apply.

Flying Over 400 ft

Operating above 400ft AGL is only possible for ReOC holders who are approved to conduct these operations by CASA via an Area Approval. Where an operation occurs exclusively in A-typical Airspace, ReOC holders may obtain an Australia-wide approval. For all other above 400ft AGL operations, the operator must apply for each area they intend to operate within.

When applying to CASA an operator must provide:

  • Updated procedures manual
  • A risk assessment for above 400ft operations (on the first application)
  • A risk assessment specific to risks in the area (for each area).

EXTENDED VISUAL LINE OF SIGHT (EVLOS)

What is EVLOS?

A type of beyond visual line of sight operation that utilises observers for situational awareness of air and ground risks to allow the RP to not have constant VLOS with the RPA during all stages of flight. Comprises either EVLOS operation Class 1 or Class 2.

EVLOS CLass 1

Extended Visual Line of Sight Class 1 (EVLOS) – A type of EVLOS operation where one (or more) trained Observers are used for situational awareness of air and ground risks to allow the RP to not have constant VLOS with the RPA during all stages of flight (eg. during FPV operations). Observer(s) must be in the same location as the RP and be able to verbally communicate without the use of any device.

EVLOS Class 2

Extended Visual Line of Sight Class 2 (EVLOS) – A type of EVLOS operation where one (or more) trained Observers are used for situational awareness of air and ground risks to allow the RP to not have constant VLOS with the RPA during all stages of flight. Observer(s) can be in a different location than the RP but must be able to verbally communicate using an effective communication system.

BEYOND VISUAL LINE OF SIGHT (BVLOS)

What is BVLOS?

BVLOS – “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” is considered the frontier of the drone industry in today’s current climate. It means that drones fly beyond the visual line of sight of the operator which for most commercial drone operators is a foreign concept due to regulatory requirements and operational constraints in particular reliability of equipment. The advantages of BVLOS operations are that they enable service providers to introduce more complex operations and capabilities such as drone delivery or long-range inspections.

What is Enclosed BVLOS?

For approval to fly Enclosed BVLOS, you or your operator will require permission to conduct such operations and procedures in place for BVLOS Enclosed operations. Additionally, the supervising pilot will need to be located at a place where the remote pilot is operating, readily accessible to the remote pilot, and immediately available to advise and direct them

Hover UAV can provide you services in being able to fly Enclosed BVLOS operations.

How do you apply for BVLOS?

To apply for BVLOS approvals, you will need to follow these steps:

To fly beyond BVLOS you must have a:

  • Hold a ReOC
  • Hold a RePL with either 
  • A pass in the Instrument Rating or BVLOS exam
  • Operate under the direct supervision of an individual who holds a pass in one of the exams
    • BVLOS fight authorisation

    To apply for a BVLOS flight authorisation, the CRP must

    Hover UAV specialises in BVLOS applications, contact the team today to get a free BVLOS initial consultation

    What are CONOPS?

    In the context of SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment), it refers to a clear and concise outline of how a particular drone operation will be conducted. It covers things like the purpose of the operation, roles and responsibilities of personnel involved, operational procedures, and safety measures.

    Hover UAV conduct Discovery Workshops starting at $1000 to define your concept of Operations and project plans

    Who are JARUS?

    Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) is a group of experts gathering regulatory expertise from all around the world. The purpose of JARUS,  is “to recommend a single set of technical, safety and operational requirements for all aspects linked to the safe operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

    Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS).

    What is SORA?

    SORA stands for Specific Operations Risk Assessment. It’s a framework used to assess and manage the risks associated with specific drone operations. Essentially, it helps drone operators and authorities understand and mitigate the potential hazards of flying drones in different scenarios. SORA provides a structured approach to evaluating factors like airspace, environment, operational procedures, and potential consequences to ensure safe and responsible drone operations. It’s like a safety checklist tailored to each drone mission, helping to minimise risks and ensure compliance with regulations.

    Hover UAV can assist you in your development of a SORA and successful submission to CASA for your operations.

    CASA Standard Scenarios Options

    CASA has developed guidance material for operators to use when submitting a BVLOS application, including information about how to assess an area, as well as the mitigations and procedures required to support the application. This is covered in further detail in the BVLOS Standard Scenario (AU-STS) Applicant Response templates.

    Some of these Standard scenarios include; 

    AU-STS-1: a BVLOS operation for inspections of infrastructure in a controlled ground environment such as mine sites, wind farms or other similar locations.

    AU-STS-2: BVLOS operation near a vertical object with a sparsely populated ground environment. Covering possible inspections or surveillance of infrastructure such as bridges, powerlines or wind turbines.

    AU-STS-4: A BVLOS operation in a remote area within 3 NM of a registered or certified non-controlled aerodrome, including a helicopter landing site. 

    AU-STS-6: A BVLOS operations 400 ft in remote Australian airspace with a sparsely populated ground environment. This might fall under large-scale rural surveys, as well as agriculture and environmental monitoring in remote Australian airspace. 

    AU-STS-7: A BVLOS operation between 400ft AGL and 5,000ft AMSL in remote Australian airspace with a sparsely populated ground environment. 

    HOVER UAV offers SORA training overview courses for $450

    LICENCING REQUIREMENTS FOR BVLOS

    CASA OCTA Examination

    In addition to the Remote Pilots RePL the RP will require a pass in the CASA OCTA ( Outside Controlled Terminal Airspace) Exam. This exam is conducted through Aspeq. This exam is 90 minutes in duration, and you can finish early at any time. This exam requires a pass mark of 70% and has no permitted materials. The prerequisite for the exam are as follows:

    • RePL
    • Payment of $174.34

    To book this exam go to casa.aspeqexams.com/home

    • Select “Exam Schedule”
    • Under specialisation, click “Flight Crew”, then “RePL Examinations” and select “Beyond Visual Line of Sight”
    • Find your preferred time and location

    You will need to bring current & original photo ID this includes

    • ASIC
    • AVID
    • Driver’s Licence
    • Digital Driver’s Licence
    • ID of a serving member of the Australian Government, Public Service or Statutory body
    • ID of a serving member of the Australian police or military
    • Current Passport
    • Proof of Age or Proof of Identity card issued by the Australian Government or State


    Hover UAV offers BVLSO OCTA Training and preparation for the CASA OCTA Examination 2 days courses start  $1500.

    IREX

    IREX, otherwise known as the Instrument Rating Exam, is an option to complete to get the prerequisite for BVLOS Approval rather than completing the OCTA Exam. However, if the Operator is flying in controlled Airspace a Pass in IREX is required. This is a Flight Crew Exam that focuses heavily on the IFR procedures, including NDB, RNP, ILS, LOC, VOR, Holding Procedures, IFR Alternate Procedures, IFR Minimums and other IFR theories. This is one of the most practical CASA exams, but it will not focus on any RPA knowledge. While this is an option, its primary role is for Flight Crew and not RePL pilots.

    AIRSPACE

    Airspace Charts/ Overview

    The airspace you will encounter while flying your drone will change depending on your operations. Here is an overview of airspaces and what to expect in each one.

    Class G Airspace: Class Golf Airspace is uncontrolled airspace located beneath and beside controlled airspace steps. Located within this airspace are multiple airports where separation standards are assured between aircraft, and air-to-air radio communication is used. Within this airspace, there are multiple frequencies used, with some being specified on ERSA pages of airports and a general 126.700 frequency being used where one is not listed. Within this airspace, certain airports may hold requirements for operators to use a VHF radio when in the vicinity of the aerodrome (For aircraft operators, this is 10 Nautical Miles and at a height above the aerodrome that could result in a conflict with operators at the aerodrome)

    Class C Airspace: Class Charlie Airspace is the controlled airspace located at all major airports within Australia. (Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney…) This airspace is controlled by Air Traffic Services, which provides multiple services to aircraft and which will be required to speak to when operating an RPA within their airspace. Class C airspace varies at certain heights and goes in an upside-down wedding cake design outwards as it increases in altitude. These are identifiable on a VTC, VNC or ERC with the Lower Limit (LL) next to it as the lower limit. It is important to identify these different sectors within class C airspace can have different LL. Class C airspace requires an Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate (AROC) to be used in the airspace. Be cautious that within this area, there can be different subsectors with different frequencies in use, particularly when multiple runways are operating. It is essential to be on the correct frequency and follow all instructions at all times.  

    Class D Airspace: Class Delta Airspace is the main airspace you will encounter in Regional Australia. This airspace is controlled but may not have the same type of radar services as a class C airport might have. Some airports might have to rely on position reporting from aircraft due to a lack of surveillance available in the area and thus provide a procedural approach control service. These airspaces might also have areas within their airspace that are handed over to an Enroute Center when the Aerodrome Controller (ADC) is closed. Airports that are Class D that you might encounter through Australia are Coffs Harbour, Avalon and Mackay. An Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate (AROC) is to be used in the airspace.

    Class D Metro: Class Delta Metro airports are located in metropolitan parts of Australia’s major cities such as Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne…) These airports (Archerfield, Bankstown & Moorabbin) are usually high-traffic airports with flight training schools operating out of them. They often have an extensive range of small general aviation aircraft operating in and out of them and multiple runways with multiple frequencies for each different runway. These airports primarily utilise aircraft sighting for separation and often have congested frequencies.

    Aviation Charts can be found for Australian airspace on the Airservices website. The link can be found here. Airservices Australia is a government-owned organisation responsible for the safety of 11 per cent of the world’s airspace. They are responsible for the safe and efficient management of Australia’s skies and the provision of aviation rescue fire fighting services at Australia’s busiest airports. They work closely with their customers and industry to support the long-term growth of the aviation industry.

    For more information on Aeronautical charts, it can be found in the Aeronautical Chart user guide

     

    VTC: A Visual Terminal Chart is used to provide both aeronautical and topographical information at a scale of 1:250,000. It provides essential information for operations, including prohibited, restricted and danger areas as well as control zones and associated control lanes of entries, ATC check points and VFR routes. In addition to this, it also provides VFR Approach points for entry into a CTA and is amended every 6 months. Available here.

    VNC: A Visual Navigation Chart is used to provide detailed information for a wider area with a scale of 1:500,000 it includes details on the map such as Controlled airspace and Flight Information Area boundaries, VHF frequencies, MBZ and certain CTAF details as well as Danger/Restricted areas. This chart is amended every 6 months. Available here.

    WAC: A world Aeronautical Chart provides a wide range of topographical views of the area. On a scale of 1:1,000,000 this chart provides a wide view of the surrounding area with lots of navigation detail, including primary and secondary roads as well as more in-depth contour lines. Additionally, data including Airports and radio navigation aids are shown. This chart is updated every 4 years. 

    PCA: A Planning Chart Australia is the most effective way to find the FIR Boundaries you are located in. This chart covers the whole of Australia, showcasing not only the VHF Radio coverage range but also the emergency frequencies to contact. Available here.

    NOTAMS

    A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.
    To view NOTAMs you have to login to NAIPS. Once logging in press Location Briefing and either enter the airport you will be operating in the vicinity of for example YBCG (Gold Coast) then in the briefing period enter the time you want to view for eg 1, 2 or 12. To view NOTAMS in the vicinity of the FIR you are operating in (for example out in rural locations with no airports near) type in YBBB/YMMM and press Head Office NOTAM (depending if you are operating in the Brisbane or Melbourne FIR boundaries viewable here.)

    NAIPS

    The National Aeronautical Information Processing System (NAIPS) is a multi-function, computerised aeronautical information system. This is a free system that you can sign up to with your email and password here. This system can be used to retrieve many different items you might need for your operations. Including but not limited to:

    • Weather
    • NOTAMS
    • First light & Last light
    • Wind / Temperature Profiles
    • Restricted Area Briefings

    You can access it here

    Restricted Areas

    Restricted Areas are their namesake. Within these areas are different classifications on their level of restrictions which will affect your operations within said areas.

    RA1: Pilots may flight plan through the RA and under normal circumstances expect a clearance from ATC

    RA2: Pilots must not flight plan through the RA unless on a route specified in GEN-FPR or under agreement with the Department of Defence, however clearance from ATC is not assured. Other tracking may be offered through the RA on a tactical basis.

    RA3: Pilots must not flight plan through the RA and clearances will not be available.

    Danger Areas

    Danger areas are identified zones marked out that have an increased risk in their operation due to a multitude of different reasons. Whilst no operational restrictions occur in them, it is worth noting that there is an increase in potential events that would occur if something were to go wrong. These areas include Training Areas where there is an increase in student pilot activity, high-velocity exhaust fumes, blasting, rifle ranges and parachuting among many more. A few of these Danger Areas are by NOTAM so it is worth checking it.

    Military Operating Areas (MOA)

    The first MOAs have been introduced at Nowra, Williamtown, Cerberus, Edinburgh and East Sale and replace the permanent RAs. Most airspace has stayed the same but it is worth noting that Williamtown has had an airspace redesign. From 13 June 2024 the permanent RAs at Pearce, Stirling and Learmonth will no longer be RAs and declared as MOAs. These new MOAs are identifiable on a VTC, VNC or ERC-L with the prefix ‘M’. You can find the activation of these areas within NAIPS through the same process as searching the activation of RAs.

    CASA Safety Apps

    CASA-verified drone safety apps use location-based maps to show where you can and can’t fly your drone according to aviation legislation. For a list of mobile and web-based apps, click here

    Uncrewed Traffic Management (UTM)

    The Uncrewed Traffic Management (UTM) system will help manage the rapidly developing emerging aviation technology industry in Australia. The UTM will support the safe, economical and efficient management of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) in Australian airspace, and the UTM ecosystem will make available a wide range of services to support the industry to thrive.

    Flight Information Management System (FIMS)

    Flight Information Management System (FIMS) will enable Airservices to seamlessly incorporate drones, air taxis and other uncrewed aircraft into Australian airspace. For more information visit Airservices Australia.

    REGULATIONS

    CASR

    The Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR) and Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) are the regulatory controls for aviation safety in Australia.

    The primary purpose of CASR is to ensure that all aviation activities are conducted in a safe and efficient manner, with the ultimate goal of protecting the public and the environment. The regulations cover a wide range of areas, including flight operations, airworthiness, licensing, training, and maintenance.

    Manual Of Standards (MOS) 101

    Manual of Standards (MOS) 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) consolidates the rules for all unmanned aeronautical activities into one body of legislation. It can be found here

    Advisory Circulars

    Advisory Circulars (AC) give advice and guidance on how to meet the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR). Each AC explains certain rules or standards in more detail. They can be found here.

    Record Keeping

    You must keep records if you are:

    • flying a small (2-25 kg) and medium (25-150 kg) remotely piloted aircraft over your own land
    • flying a drone of any size under a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)
    • a manufacturer conducting a test flight of RPA or model aircraft that is less than 150 kg after manufacturing.

    You do not need to keep records if you are flying an RPA that is:

    • very small (2 kg or less)
    • micro (250 g or less).

    These fall under the excluded category or a model aircraft for sport or recreation. They also include a drone which you have built or repaired yourself.

    Learn about the different types of drone weight categories and requirements.

    You must be able to present a copy of these records to us if required. If you sell your drone, the person buying it may also ask to see a copy.

    Guide to record keeping requirements

    The following information provides a basic guide to the requirements.

    For a full understanding of the rules, we recommend reading CASA Part 101 (Unmanned Aircraft and Rockets) Manual of Standards 2019.

    You can also read the relevant amendment instrument to make sure you’re correctly creating and maintaining all required documentation.

    Test flight log

    Keep for: 3 years.

    CASA instrument 63/21 prescribes certain RPA which are not required to be registered, mainly for the purpose of flight testing after maintenance or repair. For any operation performed under the provisions of the instrument, a record must be kept of each test flight. Refer to CASA 63/21 for the required information to be recorded.

    You must keep a record of each test flight for any operation performed under the provisions of the instrument.

    Test flight logs must be kept for 3 years. They must include:

    • the serial number of the RPA or model aircraft flown
    • the name, address, and ARN (if any) of the owner of the RPA or model aircraft
    • the time and date of the test flight
    • the location of the test flight
    • the reason for the test flight
    • any accident, incident or malfunction that occurred during the test flight
    • the name of the remote pilot.

    We may disclose the personal information you provide in your test flight logs to a person other than us. This is only if the disclosure has the consent of the owner of the aircraft or the disclosure is required by law.

    RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) holders

    Chief Remote Pilot duty records (MOS 10.03)

    Keep for: 7 years.

    Information that the Chief Remote Pilot must keep include:

    • operational records:
      • job safety assessments for RPA operations
      • risk management plans
      • operational flight plans
    • internal training such as induction or procedural training:
      • full name and ARN of each individual who attended the training course
      • the dates of the training
      • the nature, extent, and purpose of the training
    • the outcome of the training for each individual record of qualifications for each person operating an RPA for the operator.

    For more information, it can be found here.

    GENERAL DEFINITIONS

    Active Participants

    A person who is participating directly in the activity to which the RPA is operated.

    Note: The scope of persons who may be an active participant is broader than the scope of persons ‘directly

    associated with the operation of the RPA’ under CASR 101.245 and may include persons such as performers

    and emergency services personnel.

    Active participants are those persons directly involved with the operation of the RPA or fully aware that the

    RPA operation is being conducted near them. Active participants are fully aware of the risks involved with the

    RPA operation and have accepted these risks. Active participants are informed on and able to follow

    relevant effective emergency procedures and/or contingency plans.

    AIS

    Abbreviated Injury Scale. The AIS is an anatomical-based coding system created by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine that provides a common language for describing and classifying injuries to classify and describe the severity of injuries. The AIS is primarily used in the field of trauma medicine and injury research. It is utilised by healthcare professionals, trauma surgeons, emergency room physicians, trauma registries, and researchers to assess and document the severity of injuries sustained by individuals involved in accidents, such as car crashes, falls, sports injuries, and other traumatic events.

    Controlled Ground Environment

    Emergency procedures are a set of standardised steps that are taken to mitigate the risks and consequences of an emergency situation involving a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). These procedures should be clearly defined and documented in the RPA operator’s manual and should be readily accessible to all remote pilots.

    Emergency Procedures

    Emergency procedures are a set of standardised steps that are taken to mitigate the risks and consequences of an emergency situation involving a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). These procedures should be clearly defined and documented in the RPA operator’s manual and should be readily accessible to all remote pilots.

    Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

    An emergency response plan (ERP) is a comprehensive document that outlines the overall strategy and procedures for responding to an emergency involving an RPA. The ERP should be developed by the RPA operator and should be tailored to the specific risks and operational environment of the operator.

    Gross Weight

    Gross weight , for an RPA , means the weight of the aircraft, together with the weight of all payloads and fuel (including batteries) on board the aircraft

    Maximum gross weight of an RPA

    Maximum gross weight means the highest safe gross weight of the RPA, conceptionally mirroring the

    crewed aviation MTOW concept.

    In the absence of mandatory airworthiness certificates, an RPA ‘s maximum gross weight is the higher of:

    1. a) the manufacturer’s published maximum weight of the RPAS (if any);
    2. b) the maximum weight of the RPAS specified in the operator’s documented practices and procedures (if any)

    or

    1. c) the actual maximum weight of the RPA during flight.
    Informed Consent

    Informed consent may be obtained either verbally, in writing or via any other digital means. In the context of these RPA operations, the consenting person must be briefed on the following

    • The proposed RPA flight paths;
    • The risk to life, including details of injury probability and level based on the AIS;
    • The immediate emergency procedures and the emergency response plan;
    • The safety mitigators were implemented; and
    • The right not to consent to operation near the person.
    Maximum potential impact energy transfer

    Maximum potential impact energy transfer is the theoretical limit of energy transfer that can occur during an impact event. This limit is determined by the masses of the colliding objects and their relative velocities.

    Sheltered Operations

     Sheltered operations are:

    Operations are conducted over a controlled environment where there is no potential for a person to be outside

    of the shelter; and

    The shelter is of such construction as to ensure that, should the RPA penetrate the structure the residual potential impact transfer energy from the RPA, or any debris is less than the specified maximum.

    Sheltering

    The use of a structure or barrier to physically segregate a person from an RPA.

    Atypical Airspace

    Airspace where the unmitigated risk of an encounter between an RPA and a conventionally piloted aircraft is acceptably low. This can be:
    • restricted airspace (e.g. segregated / restricted areas)
    • airspace designated ‘atypical’ by the competent authority
    • airspace where conventionally piloted aircraft do not routinely fly (e.g. within 120 m of buildings)
    • airspace characterisation where the collision risk between an RPA and conventionally piloted aircraft is not greater than the target level of safety of 1E-7 Mid Air Collisions (MAC) per flight hour.

    OPERATIONS MANUAL DEFINITIONS

    Job safety Assesment

    This means a procedure undertaken in accordance with the RPA operator’s documented practices and procedures to:

    • Assess the safety of the operational; and 
    • Identify safety risks arising from the operational; and
    • Formulate risk mitigation measures for the operation, including risk management plans
    Safety Management Systems for RPAS

    The purpose of safety management system (SMS) is to provide organisations with a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, responsibilities, policies, and procedures. An SMS goes further than just encouraging people to be safe. It is designed to improve safety performance through the identification of hazards, collection and analysis of safety data and information, and the continuous assessment of safety risks.

    Human Factors

    The term ‘human factors’ refers to the wide range of issues affecting how people perform tasks in their work and non-work environments. The study of human factors involves applying knowledge about the human body and mind to better understand human capabilities and limitations, so there is the best possible fit between people and the systems in which they operate. Human factors are the social and personal skills (for example communication and decision-making) that complement technical skills. Understanding and applying human factors is crucial for safety because of the continued threat of accidents, particularly as RPAS operations transition from VLOS to BVLOS operations. For more information on Human Factors, information can be found here.

    Documented practices and procedures

    For a certified RPA operator, means the written practices and procedures of the operator as existing or in force from time to time, that have been approved in writing by CASA.

    Aerodrome

    A defined area of land or water (including any buildings, installations and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and movement of aircraft.

    Aerodrome Boundary

    This means the perimeter of an aerodrome within which is included:

    • Any passenger terminal building and vehicle parking facilities; and
    • All movement areas; and
    • All other airside buildings, structures or places to which the public does not have access.
    Controlled Aerodrome

    An aerodrome at which air traffic control service is provided to aerodrome traffic.

    Crew Communication Network

    A radiotelephony system used for communication between operational crew

    Defect

    Any confirmed abnormal condition of an item that could eventually result in a failure. In addition to imperfections that may impair the structure, composition, or function of the RPAS, the scope of this definition also includes any intermittent failure, spurious warning, or fault in the operation of an RPAS that may cause it to deviate from its manufacture’s specifications.

    First Person View (EVLOS)

    Is a system that:

    • Uses a camera on the RPA to produce a video display of the flight as it would be seen if a pilot were notionally on board the RPA in order to assist the remote pilot to navigate, orient, and avoid obstacles to the RPA: and
    • Is sufficiently powerful, sensitive and robust to remain effective to the duration of the EVLOS operation.
    Flight Test

    This means a flight of the aircraft solely to test all or any of the following to determine that they or it is working order and in condition for safe operation:

    • The aircraft;
    • The aircraft system;
    • Any equipment associated with the aircraft or aircraft system.
    Ground Test

    This means a test of the aircraft on the ground solely to test all or any of the following to determine that they or it is in working order and in condition for safe operation:

    • The aircraft;
    • The aircraft system;
    • Any equipment associated with the aircraft or aircraft system.
    Helicopter Landing Site (HLS)

    Means an area of land or water, or a defined area on a structure, intended to be used wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of helicopters.

    Indoor Operation

    This means the use of an RPA in circumstances that meet all of the following requirements:

    • The RPA is flown within a building, another structurem or a naturally occurring or man-made space underground (a containment area);
    • The containment area is such that it is physically impossible for the RPA to escape and fly away during normal, abnormal or emergency operations;
    • Entry of people to, and exist of people from, the containment area is controlled in such a way that in flying an RPA in the containment area a remote pilot will not infringe any provision of Part 101 of CASR concerning proximity of an RPA to people within or outside the containment area;
    • In the event that an RPA collides with any part of the containment area, no material from the RPA or the containment area can move or escape and cause injury to a person outside the containment area.
    Measurement Point

    Any point along the centerline of the runway of an aerodrome or ALA.

    Movement Area

    That part of the aerodrome to be used for take-off, landing, and taxiing of aircraft, consisting of the maneuvring area and the aprons.

    No Fly Zone (Controlled Aerodrome)

    This means any areas and airspace below 400ft AGL that are:

    • Within 3 NM, in any direction, from the measurement point of any runway of the controlled aerodrome or
    • Within the approach and departure paths referred to in the MOS section 4.05, whether or not they extend beyond 3 NM, in any direction, from the measurement point of any runway of the controlled aerodrome.
    No Fly Zone (HLS)

    This means the area and airspace that is a cylinder:

    • Whose centre is the centre of the HLS; and
    • Which has a radius of 0.75 NM; and
    • Which has a vertical height of 400 ft
    No-fly zone (non-controlled aerodrome)

    This means the area and airspace that are:

    • Within 3 NM, in any direction, from the measurement point of any runway of the non-controlled aerodrome; or
    • Within the approach and departure paths referred to in the MOS Section 9.06, whether or not they extend beyond 3 NM, in any direction, from the measurement point of any runway of the non-controlled aerodrome.
    Nominated Personnel

    This means the following personnel of a certified RPA operator:

    • The chief executive officer (the CEO)
    • The chief remote pilot (the CRP)
    • The maintenance controller.
    On Condition

    Applied to items on which a determination of their continued airworthiness can be made by visual inspections, measurements, tests and other means without disassembly inspection or overhaul.

    Populous Area

    An area that has a sufficient density of population for some aspect of the operation or some event that might happen during the operation (in particular, a fault in, or failure of, the aircraft) to pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of somebody who is in the area but is not connected with the operation.

    Relevant airspace (general)

    Each of the following:

    • The no-fly zone of a non-controlled aerodrome;
    • The no-fly zone of an HLS.
    Relevant airspace (EVLOS)

    This means any point of non-controlled airspace into which the manned aircraft is flying at a particular time that is both less than 3 NM in distance and less than 1500 ft in height from any point of the airspace in which the RPA is flying at the same time.

    Relevant Event

    A crewed aircraft is within relevant airspace, including when the aircraft is in the course of approaching, landing at, taking off from, or manoeuvring in the movement area of the aerodrome.

    Relevant event (EVLOS)

    A crewed aircraft is identified within relevant airspace during EVLOS operations.

    Relevant Observer

    This means the trained observer is tasked with carrying out the observer’s duties. These being 

    • Be deemed as component by the CRP (or delegate) to conduct observer duties for that type of operation;
    • Have passed a proficiency check within the previous 12 months.
    Remote Pilot In Command

    This means the person designated as being in command of the RPA operation and charged with the safe conduct of the operation

    NOTE: the RPIC does not have to be the RP

    Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B)

    Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a system where aircraft automatically transmit their precise location using onboard electronics and a 1090MHz digital data link. This system operates without pilot input and sends GPS-based data every half-second, including the aircraft’s position, altitude, and velocity. This information is displayed on screens used by other aircraft and air traffic control for accurate tracking, eliminating the need for radar. Ground stations and satellites receive these broadcasts, which also cover the aircraft’s ID, emergency status, and more, enabling tracking over distances up to 250 nautical miles, depending on terrain and altitude. Dedicated ADS-B ground stations then relay this information to air traffic control for meticulous monitoring.


    GETTING STARTED

    Acronyms

    AC – Advisory Circular

    ADS-B – Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast

    AIP – Aeronautical Information Publication

    AIS – Abbreviated Injury Scale

    ATC – Air Traffic Control

    ATIS – Automatic Terminal Information Service

    BARS – Basic Aviation Risk Standard

    BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line of Sight

    C2 – Command and Control

    C3 – Command, Control and Communications

    CAR – Civil Aviation Rule

    CAA – Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

    CFZ – Common Frequency Zone

    CONOPS – Concept of Operations

    CRP – Chief Remote Pilot

    CTR – Control Zone

    DA – Danger Area

    ERP – Emergency Response Plan

    EVLOS – Extended Visual Line of Sight

    FIMS – Flight Information Management System

    FPV – First Person View

    GPS – Global Positioning System

    HLS – Helicopter Landing Site

    IFIS – (Airways New Zealand) Internet Flight Information Service

    JARUS – Joint Authority for Rule Making on Unmanned Systems

    JSA – Job Safety Assessment

    LFZ – Low Flying Zone

    MBZ – Mandatory Broadcast Zone

    MOA – Military Operating Area

    MTOW – Maximum Take Off Weight

    NOTAM – Notice to Airmen

    RA – Restricted Area

    RP – Remote Pilot

    RPAS – Remotely Pilot Aircraft Systems

    RPIC – Remote Pilot In Command

    SMS – Safety Management System

    SRP – Senior Remote Pilot

    SORA – Specific Operations Risk Assessment

    UA – Unmanned Aircraft 

    UAOC – Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate

    UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    UAS – Uncrewed Aircraft System

    UTM – Uncrewed Traffic Management

    VLOS – Visual Line of Sight

    VNC – Visual Navigation Chart

    Flying Drones in New Zealand

    Flying drones within New Zealand Airspace can be both a recreational activity to enjoy and a commercial activity to take advantage of this new and emerging technology and all its capabilities. 

    In New Zealand, the CAA refers to drones as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or, more generally, unmanned aircraft (UA), which also includes balloons and model aircraft. 

    The CAA defines Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

    as an unmanned aircraft that is piloted from a remote station and includes a radio-controlled model aircraft.

    The CAA defines Unmanned Aircraft (UA) 

    as an aircraft designed to operate with no pilot on board, including unmanned balloons, kites, control line model aircraft, free flight model aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft.

    The CAA defines an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

    as an aircraft and its associated elements which are operated with no pilot on board.

    The CAA also defines the sizes of unmanned aircraft

    • Small unmanned aircraft means under 25kg
    • Medium unmanned aircraft means 25kg to 150kg
    • Large unmanned aircraft means over 150kg

    In New Zealand, you can operate your drone under Part 101 or Part 102 rules. For many operators conducting basic flights, Part 101 may be sufficient. A Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate (UAOC) may be required for more complex operations. 

    Part 101 allows you to fly your drone without any CAA certification, provided you comply with the following conditions:

    • Aircraft must not exceed 25kg and must always be safe to operate and well maintained.
    • You must minimise hazards to people, property and other aircraft.
    • Only fly during daylight unless you are doing a shielded operation.
    • Give way to all crewed aircraft, such as planes, helicopters, hang gliders, and paragliders. If another aircraft approaches, land your aircraft immediately.
    • You must be able to see your unmanned aircraft with your own eyes at all times. Don’t watch it through binoculars, a monitor, or a smartphone. Do not fly it behind objects or through or above fog and clouds.
    • Fly below 120m (400ft) above ground level.
    • Get consent before flying over people and property.
    • There are several no-fly zones – check for any airspace restrictions in your area before you fly. For example, there are extra rules to follow if flying within:
      • Controlled airspace
      • Within 4km of an aerodrome
      • In Restricted or Danger zones or other special-use airspace

    These are just a summary of the Part 101 conditions. Before operating your drone, it is important to review the Part 101 rules on the CAA website to ensure compliance. 

    If your operation does not comply with Part 101, you need a Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate. To obtain a Part 102 UAOC, you must demonstrate to the CAA how to manage the risks of your proposed operations. You will be required to provide an operating manual (also known as an exposition) that details how you identify hazards and mitigate those risks of your operation. 

    Part 102 is a performance-based rule, so it does not contain prescriptive requirements for an operator to meet. Instead, it requires and enables operators to assess their set of operational risks and their ‘risk profile’ and propose risk mitigations to apply to their operations.

    HoverUAV can assist you in attaining this certification, as well as many other complex procedural documentation. Contact us today to find out more.

    Recreational Flying vs Commercial Drone Flying

    Unlike in some countries, the CAA in New Zealand and associated rule parts do not distinguish between UAS operated commercially or recreationally. Part 101 and Part 102 apply to both Recreational and Commercial operators.

    What is a NOTAM?

    Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.

    What are the NOTAM requirements for a Part 102 Flight?

    For a NOTAM to follow the correct format for a Part 102 flight you will require the following information.

    • Long and Lat as well as radius of flight
    • Place name
    • Start and finish time including day and month as well if that is in Local Time or UTC
    • Maximum height of operation in feet
    • Contact details including name, company and contact phone number
    What does an UAS NOTAM look like?

    REMOTELY PILOTED ACFT ACT WILL TAKE PLACE WI 1NM RADIUS NZSF. FREQ 133.55 MHZ MONITORED. CTC TEL 022 XXX 16XX
    This can be easily generated with the help of the Internet Flight Information Service (IFIS)

    Follow these steps.

    1. Login to IFIS here (free signup)
    2. Press ‘Originators’ 
    3. Select Issue RPAS NOTAM
    4. Fill out relevant details and press the blue text on the side for the direct link to a help page.

    To view the help page, press here

    How to view a NOTAM

    You can view NOTAMs in Internet Flight Information Service (IFIS). 

    You can access NOTAMS on IFIS with the following steps

    1. Login to IFIS here (free signup)
    2. Press ‘briefing’ on the top menu bar
    3. Select either Aerodrome, Area (NZ) or Area (FIR only)
    4. Depending on the selection above, enter the Airport or FIR in the text box and press notam to get a briefing for the area. 

    What is Airshare?

    AirShare is the hub for recreational and commercial drone operators in New Zealand. you’ll find the information you need on how to operate your drone safely, log and plan your drone flights in airspace via our mobile and web apps, identify safe places to fly, and gain authorisation to fly.


    Whether you’re a drone enthusiast, a commercial drone operator, or a tourist visiting New Zealand, AirShare is your place to go to ensure safe and happy flying in New Zealand skies.

    What are GPS outages and how do I view them.

    Viewing GPS fault detection is an important, often neglected, check while flying an RPA. Remote pilots often rely on their control software to confirm outages, but while this helps, it is always safer to confirm from IFIS of any outages that could take place mid-operation or during a potentially critical phase of flight. Utilising the GPS RAIM Predictions allows operators to add an extra level of safety to their operations allowing for further safety enhancements to their operations. You can view RAIM outages using the following steps.

    1. Login to IFIS here (free signup)
    2. Press ‘briefing’ on the top menu bar
    3. Select ‘GPS RAIM’
    4. Accept the terms and conditions
    5. Type in the relevant closest airport code into the text box (eg. NZAA (Auckland).
    6. Press submit and view the outages.
    What are the different types of airspace in New Zealand?

    Many different types of airspace get used in New Zealand. At a high level, a piece of airspace is generally either Controlled Airspace (Class A, Class C, Class D), Uncontrolled Airspace (Class G) or Special Use Airspace.

    In New Zealand, airspace is classified under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) airspace classification system. This system determines the air traffic service (ATS) level that will be provided and whether entry to that airspace requires an ATC clearance. There are seven ICAO airspace classes, ranging from class A to class G. Classes B, E, and F are not currently used in New Zealand.

    Controlled Airspace

    Services provided within controlled airspace vary depending on the location. For example, area and approach control services within terminal CTAs in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch are provided 24 hours a day. Other control services overlaying other airports are only provided when the control unit is on watch. When a position is not on watch, the airspace reverts back to class G. A FIS is provided 24 hours. It is important to note that extended service can occur and can be sporadic on activation. 

    When ATC service is temporarily not available the airspace will be designated as a restricted area which the operating conditions will be notified via a NOTAM.

    Controlled airspace in New Zealand can be described easily as an upside-down wedding cake. There are two types of controlled airspace:

    • Control zones (CTRs) – the bottom tier of the cake touching the surface of the earth (Specific Airports) and 
    • Control areas (CTAs) – the upper tiers (Approach services and en route)

    Controlled airspace is established to protect the flight paths and procedures of IFR aircraft (usually commercial flights). Air traffic control (ATC) provides wake turbulence separation within controlled airspace.

    Control zones (CTRs) protect arriving and departing IFR flights and are the only type of controlled airspace that touch the surface of the earth.

    Control areas (CTAs) extend from a specified lower limit to a specified upper limit. Examples of CTAs include: 

    • CTAs are established around one or more aerodromes. They are designed to encompass the flight paths of controlled flights on instrument approaches or departures and also encompass IFR en‑route operations. 
    • Oceanic control areas (OCAs) are normally established over the ‘high seas’.

    Class A airspace is used to accommodate high‑level international air routes in the Auckland Oceanic Flight Information Region (FIR).IFR flights only are permitted, all flights are provided with air traffic control service and are separated from each other. 

    Class C airspace is applied to: 

    • CTRs at large international aerodromes, 
    • associated CTAs, 
    • and en‑route airspace covering principal domestic air routes.

    In this airspace, IFR and VFR flights are permitted. All flights are provided with air traffic control service, and IFR flights are separated from other IFR flights and from VFR flights. VFR flights are separated from IFR flights and receive traffic information in respect of other VFR flights.

    Class D airspace typically applies to CTRs and CTAs surrounding regional aerodromes. IFR and VFR flights are permitted, and all flights are provided with air traffic control service. IFR flights are separated from other IFR flights and receive traffic information in respect of VFR flights, and VFR flights receive traffic information in respect of all other flights.

    Uncontrolled Airspace

    Any airspace within New Zealand FIR not otherwise classified is Class G airspace. Class G airspace does not require an entry clearance. You must, however, observe Class G airspace rules.

    VFR transit lanes are portions of controlled airspace that are released as Class G airspace during daylight hours only. These transit lanes allow VFR aircraft to transit within airspace not normally used by IFR aircraft.

    General aviation areas (GAAs) are portions of controlled airspace which become Class G (uncontrolled) airspace under certain conditions. GAAs are available for use during daylight hours only.

    Note: Controlled airspace reverts to uncontrolled Class G airspace when there is no ATC service being provided within that airspace. This happens to some airspace at night when the ATC unit is ‘off watch’. ATC unit hours of service are in the AIP Supplements.

    Special Use Airspace

    There are designated special use airspace which restrict aviation activity in specified volumes of air. Examples of special-use airspace include restricted areas, military operating areas, mandatory broadcast zones, volcanic hazard zones, danger areas, and low-flying zones. 

    Each type of special-use airspace has different restrictions on how they can be used. To find out where special use airspaces are and who the administering authority is, you can use the AIP, a VNC, or Airshare. Some special-use airspace is permanent, whereas others are activated by NOTAM.

    New Zealand Airspace Description Poster

    What are the resources available to get information on airspace and aviation in New Zealand.

    AIP & AIP Supplements

    Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) is a set of documents issued by Aeropath with the authority of the CAA. These documents define the regulatory and airspace requirements for flying in New Zealand. The AIP includes: 

    • AIP New Zealand Vols 1 to 4 
    • AIP Supplements 
    • Air Navigation Register 
    • Visual navigation and planning charts 
    • En-route charts (for IFR).

    You can purchase a hard copy of the AIP from Aeropath or view it online here

    AIP Supplements contain temporary changes to the information contained in the AIP or information of a short term nature and can be accessed online. 

    IFIS

    Airways Internet Flight Information Service (IFIS) is a pre-flight information and flight planning service for operations within the New Zealand Flight Information Region. The information available on IFIS includes NOTAMs, MET (weather) briefings and forecasts, daylight tables and flight plans. You can also issue NOTAMs from IFIS.

    You can access IFIS here.

    VNCs

    A Visual Navigation Chart is used to provide detailed information for a wider area with a scale of 1:500,000, 1:250,000 or 1:125,000 it includes details on the map such as Controlled airspace and Flight Information Area boundaries, VHF frequencies, MBZ and certain CTAF details as well as Special Use Airspace. These charts are regularly updated each year.

    You can buy VNCs here.

    Airshare

    AirShare is an uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system that helps Airways manage RPAs in their airspace. RPA operators can log and plan RPA flights in controlled airspace via the Airshare mobile and web apps, identify safe places to fly, and gain authorisation to fly.

    Flight Advisor

    Flight Advisor is an online tool aimed at helping reduce the risk of mid-air collisions and/or collisions with hazards in the low-level environment. It provides pilots with an awareness of what hazards they may need to be aware of when operating at a low level. These hazards can be fixed obstacles or unmanned or manned aircraft that have indicated their intentions to operate in the same vicinity. You can log your RPA flights Flight Advisor to let others low level operators know where you will be operating.

    PART 101

    Regulations

    Ensuring regulations are followed in New Zealand is crucial. New Zealand has two documents that show how unmanned aircraft operations should comply. 

    1. New Zealand Civil Aviation Regulations Part 101
    2. New Zealand Civil Aviation Regulations Part 102
    Advisory Circular

    Advisory Circular contain information about standards, practices, and procedures that the Director has found to be an acceptable means of compliance with the associated rule.

    AirShare pilot Application

    Airshare is a New Zealand industry partner working alongside the CAA to ensure a simplistic overview of complying with airspace regulations whilst flying your unmanned aircraft in New Zealand. 

    Regulations

    What is Part 101?

    In New Zealand you can either operate your drone under Part 101 or Part 102 rules. For many operators, conducting basic flights, Part 101 may be sufficient. For more complex operations a Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate (UAOC) may be required. 

    Part 101 allows you to fly your drone without any CAA certification, provided you comply with the following conditions:

    • Aircraft must NOT exceed 25kg and must always be safe to operate and well maintained.
    • You must take steps to minimise hazards to people, property and other aircraft.
    • Only fly during daylight unless you are doing a shielded operation.
    • Give way to all crewed aircraft, e.g. planes, helicopters, hang gliders, and paragliders. Land your aircraft immediately if another aircraft approaches.
    • You must be able to see your unmanned aircraft with your own eyes at all times. Don’t watch it through binoculars, a monitor or a smartphone. Do not fly it behind objects or through or above fog and clouds.
    • Fly below 120m (400ft) above ground level.
    • Get consent before flying over people and property.
    • There are several no-fly zones – check for any airspace restrictions in your area before you fly. For example, there are extra rules to follow if flying within:
      • Controlled airspace
      • Within 4km of an aerodrome
      • In Restricted or Danger zones or other special-use airspace

    Operators have an overarching obligation to minimise hazards to persons, property and other aircraft. Even if an operator complies with all rules they are still obliged to make sure that they do not operate their aircraft in a hazardous manner. Operators must take all practicable steps to minimise hazards to persons, property and other aircraft. This means operators need to plan their flights and ensure that they contemplate the various hazards that exist or could arise during their flight.

    These are just a short summary of the Part 101 conditions and it is important to review the Part 101 rules on the CAA website to ensure you are in compliance before operating your drone.

    Where can I fly?

    Under Part 101, to fly in a given airspace above a property, operators must obtain the consent of the property owner (or their representative) or the person controlling the property.  Under Part 101, you must also check what airspace you are intending to fly in and what requirements there are for a given airspace. 

    You may be able to avoid some of the Airspace, Aerodrome proximity and time of day restrictions by flying shielded. 

    Consent of Property Owner

    There is not a defined way to obtain consent under Part 101. The consent could be verbal, written or as a formal contract. This will depend on the situation and the requirements of the landowner,

    the people involved and, potentially, the commercial imperatives of the operator.

    The requirement to get consent applies to both private property as well as public land. Some administrators of public land have implemented policies around UAS. For example some councils have UAS policies which give consent for certain operations to occur on their land without having to make contact. Other organisations, such as DOC require you to obtain a permit to operate on Conservation land.

    Can I fly in Controlled Airspace?

    To operate in controlled airspace you must have an authorisation from the air traffic control (ATC) unit responsible for the airspace concerned unless the operation is a shielded operation (see below). In New Zealand, Airways provides air traffic control services. 

    Airshare is an app that has been developed by Airways that helps to identify controlled airspace and facilitate getting approval to fly in controlled airspace. You are able to log your flight on Airways and use the contact details provided for the relevant ATC unit to get approval to fly.

    Can I fly near an airport or aerodrome?

    Under Part 101, you cannot operate within 4km of an aerodrome unless certain conditions are met. It is important to note that the 4km is measured from the aerodrome boundary. 

    Under Part 101, aerodrome means any aerodrome published in the current AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication). Aerodromes not only include airports but also helipads and water aerodromes (which often include the whole lake or harbour). 

    For an uncontrolled aerodrome, you must

    • Obtain agreement from the aerodrome operator
    • Have an observer in attendance while the aircraft is in flight
    • Operate at a maximum height of 400ft (120m) AGL (above ground level)

    For a controlled aerodrome, you must:

    • Obtain authorisation from the relevant ATC unit

    For any aerodrome:

    • You must hold or be under the direct supervision of the holder of a pilot qualification issued by an approved person or organisation or hold a pilot licence or certificate issued under Part 61 or Part 149
    • You cannot operate on or over any active movement area of an aerodrome or over any active runway strip area.
    • These restrictions do not apply if flying shielded with a barrier.

    A pilot qualification in this scenario is generally issued by an approved Part 141 training organisation. 

    Can I fly in special use airspaces?

    There is designated special-use airspace that restricts aviation activity in specified volumes of air. Examples of special-use airspace include restricted areas, military operating areas, mandatory broadcast zones, volcanic hazard zones, danger areas, and low-flying zones. Each type of special-use airspace has different restrictions on how it can be used. To find out where special use airspaces are and who the administering authority is, you can use the AIP, a VNC, or Airshare. Some special-use airspace is permanent, whereas others are activated by NOTAM. 

    Restricted Areas (RA)

    Most permanent restricted areas are conservation sites of importance to New Zealand’s wildlife. Temporary restricted areas can be designated when the Director considers it necessary e.g. when requested by Police in an emergency. For all aircraft, including RPAs, entry to a restricted area can be authorised only by the ‘administering authority’. 

    Military Operating Areas (MOA)

    A military operating area is an area within which military operations,

    including live firing and the use of explosives, may take place. For all aircraft, including UAS, entry to a military operating area can be authorised only by the ‘administering authority’. 

    Mandatory Broadcast Zones (MBZ)

    A mandatory broadcast zone is an area normally established when there is an area of busy uncontrolled traffic. An MBZ requires manned aircraft to broadcast position, altitude, and intentions reports on a specified frequency on entry, when joining an aerodrome traffic circuit, prior to entering a runway, and at specified regular intervals when operating within the MBZ. 

    There are no specific requirements for UAS operators when operating in an MBZ. However, an MBZ indicates that you are likely to encounter manned aircraft. It is good practice to listen to the radio calls to understand what traffic there is in the area. UAS operators are exempt from the requirements to broadcast in an MBZ.

    Volcanic Hazard Zones (VHZ)

    A volcanic hazard zone is designated where volcanic activity may be present. Volcanic Hazard Zones can increase in size depending on the level of volcanic activity. UAS are able to fly in Volcanic Hazard Zones. 

    Danger Areas (DA)

    Danger areas are areas where there is a specific hazard. These are often either army live firing areas or model flying areas. A danger area can be entered by aircraft, including UAS, after careful consideration of the hazards present. If operating in a danger area the requirement to obtain consent from people you are flying above is no longer required. 

    Low Flying Zones (LFZ)

    Low-flying zones normally exist over flat areas and extend from the surface of the earth to 500 feet AGL. They are prescribed to allow

    low-level flight training by a specified using agency. Normally, these are flight training organisations or aero clubs. Under Part 101, you must not operate an UAS in a low-flying zone. 

    Common Frequency Zone (CFZ)

    Common frequency zones are not designated airspace, but they are where voluntary common frequencies have been established in order

    to enhance safety. CFZs signify areas of concentrated aviation activity, generally recreational aviation. There are no specific requirements for UAS operators when operating in a CFZ. However, a CFZ indicates that you are likely to encounter manned aircraft. It is good practice to listen to the radio calls to understand the traffic in the area.

    Can I fly over people?

    Under Part 101, provided you have the consent of anyone you will fly above, you are able to fly over them. Either verbal or written consent is sufficient. 

    Even if a person or group of people consents to an operation occurring, it remains the responsibility of the operator to ensure that the operation is not hazardous. This may mean that even if you obtain consent, you may determine that the nature of what you want to do still means the operation is hazardous to those people on the ground and that the risk of your UAS hitting someone on the ground is too high.



    The rule is worded to take into account dynamic situations, such as in a park. While you will be expected to plan and manage the possibility of people suddenly appearing under your aircraft, you simply need to have taken reasonable steps to avoid flying over people. Therefore, if people run under your operation and this is out of your control, and you react to manage the risk, you will be in compliance with the rule. What the rule does mean is that you probably should not operate in an area where there is a high chance that someone whom you have not obtained consent from suddenly appears beneath your operation. In practice, if a person on the ground unexpectedly moves below you and remains, you will simply need to take steps to move the aircraft away from the person or confirm that they consent to it being flown over them.

    It is also important to consider other people’s privacy when flying, particularly if you are filming. The Privacy Act also needs to be considered to ensure you are respecting people’s right to privacy when they could reasonably expect it.

    What is a shielded operation & What is shielded with a barrier?

    Shielded operations allow you to operate in areas that you may not otherwise be allowed to without meeting other conditions. For example, operating shielded allows you to operate:

    • in controlled airspace without authorisation from the relevant ATC unit 
    • at night 

    A shielded operation is when you are flying your UAS within 100m of and below the top of a natural or man-made object, e.g. trees, buildings, light posts, or power lines. 

    When flying shielded, the 400ft AGL height limit still applies. 

    Flying shielded with a barrier also allows you to operate within 4 km of an aerodrome (but outside the aerodrome boundary) without:

    • authorisation from ATC/the aerodrome operator
    • a pilot qualification 
    • an observer

    A shielded operation with a barrier is when you are flying shielded, AND the airspace you are flying in is physically separated from the aerodrome by a barrier that is capable of arresting the flight of the aircraft. A barrier is a man-made or natural object that is large enough to stop the flight of your aircraft, e.g. hedges, buildings, or hills. Objects like individual trees or light posts cannot be used as barriers. It is essential the barrier is between the UAS and the aerodrome.

    Can I fly at night?

    Under Part 101, you can only operate a UAS at night if you are either flying indoors or flying shielded. 

    The CAA defines night as the hours between the end of evening civil twilight (ECT) and the beginning of morning civil twilight (MCT). The current times for ECT and MCT can be looked up in the daylight tables in the AIP or on IFIS.

    You can access these on IFIS with the following steps

    1. Login to IFIS here (free signup)
    2. Press ‘briefing’ on the top menu bar
    3. Select Twilight Tables at the bottom of the drop-down menu
    4. Select either Zone Twilight Tables, Interactive Table Data or the Printable PDF. 

    These tables are listed in 7-day periods and have a box area they cover.

    Can I fly with extended or beyond visual line of sight? Can I fly using a FPV system?

    Under Part 101, you are required to ensure you operate with unaided visual sight (i.e., without the use of an instrument, such as binoculars or a telescope). Visual line of sight means a straight line along which the pilot or observer has a clear view. Additionally, you must be able to see the surrounding airspace and operate below the cloud base.

    First-person view systems are permitted under Part 101 but require a separate observer who has suitable training and competency, can maintain unaided visual line of sight contact at all times with the aircraft and has direct communication with the pilot. This observer is, among other things, to advise the pilot of any other traffic that enters the operational area, the direction it is coming from, and advice on the appropriate actions to take to maintain safe clearances.

    Flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is not permitted under Part 101. Extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS) means observing an extended area of airspace by utilising observers at the boundary of the area who are in direct contact with the pilot/operator. EVLOS and BVLOS can be approved under Part 102 if conducted with a number of appropriate support crew for the operation, and you can ensure the separation of unmanned aircraft from other aircraft.

    Can I operate in foggy or cloudy conditions?

    Under Part 101, you must be able to see the surrounding airspace in which the UAS will operate. If any obstructions or meteorological conditions, such as clouds or fog, prohibit you from being able to see the surrounding airspace, you cannot fly. If the conditions deteriorate, you must land immediately.

    Can I fly above 120m (400ft) AGL?

    Under Part 101, you cannot fly more than 120m (400ft) above ground level (AGL) unless you are operating under the following conditions:

    In controlled airspace or within 4km of a controlled aerodrome you need approval from the relevant ATC unit to operate above 120 m AGL. 

    Within 4km of an uncontrolled aerodrome, you need approval from the Director of the CAA.

    In uncontrolled airspace, more than 4km from an aerodrome, you must:

    • Be operating in a danger area or,
    • Issue a NOTAM that details the operation
    Can I operate a large UAS?

    Under Part 101, you cannot operate an UAS with a gross mass of more than 25kg. You also can only operate an UAS with a gross mass of between 15kg and 25kg if constructed under the authority of, or inspected and approved by, an approved person or organisation and operated under the authority of an approved person or organisation.

    Can I drop articles from my UAS in flight?

    Under Part 101, you are allowed to drop articles from your UAS as long as they do not pose a hazard to persons or property. However, if you are spraying agrichemicals, you are required to have a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate (UAOC) as well as a chemical and agricultural rating.

    How do I manage risk?

    Operators have an overarching obligation to minimise hazards to persons, property and other aircraft. Even if an operator complies with all rules they are still obliged to make sure that they do not operate their aircraft in a hazardous manner. Operators must take all practicable steps to minimise hazards to persons, property and other aircraft. This means operators need to plan their flights and ensure that they contemplate the various hazards that exist or could arise during their flight. 

    In some cases, it will not be possible to minimise the hazard to a point where it is safe to fly. For example, operating over crowds or gatherings of people who have given consent to the operation

    could still be hazardous if there is limited ability to land the aircraft safely in the event of system failure.

    Though Part 101 does not explicitly require a formal risk management process, such as a hazard register, standard operating procedures and risk assessment processes, these are things that are still worth developing and carrying out to ensure you are operating safely. 

    If you are a business carrying out UAS operations, you still have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure you take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of workers and any other persons who may be affected by your operations. 

    HoverUAV can assist you in developing documents, procedures and systems that you can use under Part 101 to manage your RPA operations. Contact us today to find out more.

    PART 102

    What is Part 102?

    Part 102 provides the ability for UAS operators to conduct operations that don’t comply with Part 101. If your operation does not comply with Part 101, you need a Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate. To obtain a Part 102 UAOC, you need to demonstrate to the CAA how you will manage the risks of your proposed operations. You will be required to provide an operating manual (also known as an exposition) that details how you identify hazards and mitigate those risks of your operation. 

    Part 102 is a performance-based rule, so does not contain prescriptive requirements for an operator to meet. Instead it requires, and enables, operators to assess their set of operational risks, their ‘risk profile’, and propose risk mitigations to apply to their operations.

    Hover UAV can assist you in attaining this certification, as well as many other complex procedural documentation. Contact us today to find out more.

    What am I able to do with a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate?

    Part 102 does not specifically allow any type of operation. You are required to submit an operations manual as part of your application that details what you are proposing to do and how you will manage the hazards and risks associated with the activity. If the CAA approves your approach, they will issue a Part 102 UAOC, and you will be able to fly as you describe in your operations manual

    Some privileges that can be included are:

    • Flying over people without consent
    • Flying over property without consent
    • Flying at night
    • Flying BVLOS
    • Flying aircraft greater than 25kg
    • Flying at an active aerodrome
    • Agricultural spraying
      What is the difference between a Part 102 Certificate and an Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Certificate?

      A Part 102 Unmanned Air Operators Certificate (UAOC) is a certificate issued by the CAA to a business and enables the business to conduct UAS operations as per its approved operations manual. 

      Within the operations manual, you will need to specify how you train your remote pilots and what qualifications they require. To be approved as a person having control and/or the pilot-in-command of an UAS under a Part 102 certificate, it is expected that the relevant person possesses both general aviation knowledge and UAS-specific competence. 

      Many UAS pilots will gain a UA Pilot Certificate through a Part 141 training organisation to satisfy these requirements. The UA pilot certificate is specific to an individual pilot and still requires them to be working under an approved UAOC. 

      Alternatively, a pilot licence issued under Part 61 or Part 149 can also demonstrate general aviation knowledge. A Model Flying NZ wings badge or a certificate of training from an unmanned aircraft manufacturer can be used to demonstrate UAS competence.

      Do I need an Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Certificate/ Licence/ Qualification?

      The Part 102 rules do not prescribe a particular certificate, licence or qualification that a UAS operator must have to operate under Part 102. However, in your exposition you must state how you will ensure that UAS operators have both knowledge and competence in:

      • General Aviation (e.g. airspace and air law)
      • Specific UA knowledge (including UA handling)

      This knowledge and competence can be achieved in a number of ways and can depend on your operation. 

      Hover UAV can assist you in developing your UAS operator training and qualification programs including our ‘Train the Trainer’ package. This package equips Chief Remote Pilots with the successful skills to lead internal training across a spectrum of standard and non-standard operating conditions. Contact us today to find out more.

      How do I apply for a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate?

      To apply for a Part 102 UAOC, you will need to download and complete an application form (CAA24102/01). The application form can be found on the CAA website.

      You will also need to prepare and submit an operations manual/exposition. An exposition is a description of how an operator will conduct its operations to maintain the required level of safety and remain in compliance with the rules.

      To help the CAA assess your application, you need to fill out a Part 102 compliance matrix (CAA24102/03). This document identifies each rule requirement and has space for you to identify the specific section/paragraph in your exposition that shows compliance with that specific rule clause.

      Part 102 requires you to identify a “Prime Person”. As the title implies, this is the person who has primary control of the operation and is usually the person making the initial application. The prime person will also need to complete a fit and proper person assessment with the CAA.

      When submitting your initial application to the CAA, you will need to pay for 2 hours of the CAA’s time upfront. You will then pay for the total hours the CAA spend assessing your application after they have completed the assessment. 

      Hover UAV can assist you in your development of a Part 102 Exposition and successful submission to CAA for your operations. Contact us today!

      What information goes into a Part 102 operations manual/exposition?

      To gain a Part 102 UAOC, one of the key documents the CAA will review is your operations manual/exposition. An exposition is a description of how an operator will conduct its operations to maintain the required level of safety and remain in compliance with the rules.

      A typical exposition contains:

      • The name of the person who will have primary responsibility for the operation (prime person)
      • The name(s) of any other person(s) who have or are likely to have control over the exercise of the privileges under the certificate
      • Details of the physical locations to be used in the operation
      • A hazard register that identifies the known and likely hazards to people, property and other aircraft of the proposed operation
      • For each of the hazards identified, include an assessment of the associated risks and includes a description of the measures that can be implemented to mitigate or manage the risk
      • Procedures for reporting information to the Civil Aviation Authority
      • Operating requirements for personnel licensing, qualifications, training and competency, including pilot and support crew qualifications, training or medical requirement
      • Details of the number and specifications of the aircraft to be used, including any identification system used on the aircraft
      • Details of the control system to be used to pilot the aircraft
      • Procedures for the maintenance of aircraft and measures to ensure continued airworthiness
      • Inflight procedures, including minimum distances from persons or property
      • Procedures for handling cargo or dropping items, if such operations are intended
      • Initial airworthiness standards that must be met
      • Procedures for controlling, amending and distributing the exposition
      • Any record-keeping procedures
      • Any other approvals that are required to conduct the proposed operation

      Hover UAV can assist you in your development of a Part 102 Exposition and successful submission to CAA for your operations. Contact us today!

      What is a prime person? What does a fit and proper person assessment involve?

      A Prime Person is the person who has primary control of the operation and is usually the person making the initial application. It is usual to provide a small organisational structure diagram, showing lines of responsibility between persons identified as having responsibility for any part of the operation. The prime person will also need to complete a fit and proper person assessment with the CAA.

      The criteria for the fit and proper person test are set out in the Civil Aviation Act and include

      • the applicant’s conviction record for transport safety offences
      • the applicant’s experience in the transport industry
      • the applicant’s knowledge of aviation regulatory requirements
      • the applicant’s history of compliance with transport safety regulatory requirements
      • the applicant’s history of physical or mental health or behavioural problems. 

      The Director is not confined to considering these criteria specifically listed and may take into account any other relevant matters. The fit and proper person application form (24 FPP) can be found on the CAA website and requires the applicant to provide a criminal offence history from the Ministry of Justice and transport offence history record. Before being granted a Part 102 UAOC, the Prime Person will have to complete an interview with a CAA inspector as part of the fit and proper person assessment.

      What is BVLOS and how do I get approved to fly BVLOS?

      BVLOS – “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” is considered the frontier of the drone industry in today’s current climate. This means that drones fly beyond the visual line of sight of the operator, which, for most commercial drone operators, is a foreign concept due to regulatory requirements and operational constraints, particularly the reliability of equipment. The advantages of BVLOS operations are that they enable service providers to introduce more complex operations and capabilities, such as drone delivery or long-range inspections.

      To obtain approval to fly and UAS BVLOS, you will need an approved Part 102 UAOC that specifies BVLOS. For the CAA to approve your BVLOS exposition, they will want to see a well-thought-out concept of operation (CONOPS) as well as a Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA). Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) have developed a SORA methodology used widely worldwide, including New Zealand. 

      Hover UAV specialises in BVLOS applications. Contact the team today to get support in preparing your BVLOS application.

      What is JARUS SORA?

      Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) is a group of experts gathering regulatory expertise from all around the world. The purpose of JARUS is “to recommend a single set of technical, safety and operational requirements for all aspects linked to the safe operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

      A Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) is a framework used to assess and manage the risks associated with specific drone operations. Essentially, it helps drone operators and authorities understand and mitigate the potential hazards of flying drones in different scenarios. SORA provides a structured approach to evaluating factors like airspace, environment, operational procedures, and potential consequences to ensure safe and responsible drone operations. It’s like a safety checklist tailored to each drone mission, helping to minimise risks and ensure compliance with regulations.

      Hover UAV can assist you in your development of a SORA and successful submission to CAA for your operations. Contact us today for more information

      What do I need to fly Agricultural Spraying Operations from a drone?

      To use your UAS for agricultural spraying operations, you must comply with Part 102 and consider Part 137 (Agricultural Aircraft Operations). You will likely need a pilot chemical rating as well as a UAV agricultural rating in addition to your Part 102 UAOC.

      New Zealand – Rules When Flying Your Drone

      WHERE DO RECREATIONAL DRONE OPERATORS GO TO FIND OUT THE RULES AND WHERE THEY ARE PERMITTED TO FLY?

      You might consider your drone to be a fun toy, but did you know it’s an aircraft? There are rules you need to follow while flying to keep yourself, others, and your aircraft safe. To find out more about these rules please lok up the CAA of  New Zealand website

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