Tag: Sub 2kg

Excluded Category

Excluded Category

In today’s rapidly advancing technological landscape, drones, or remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), have become an integral tool across various industries and for private landholders. Whether it’s for aerial photography, real estate, agriculture, or environmental monitoring, understanding the regulatory framework is crucial for safe and legal drone operations. This guide aims to demystify the regulations, focusing on the Excluded Category for drone operations, ensuring you’re well-informed and compliant.

Understanding the Excluded Category for Drone Operations

The Excluded Category provides a flexible pathway for both commercial entities and private individuals to operate drones without the need for a formal Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) under specific conditions. Here’s a breakdown of what this category entails:

  • Commercial Operations with Drones under 2kg (Excluded Category): Ideal for businesses exploring the potential of drones, this segment allows commercial use without needing a RePL or a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC).
  • Private Landholders with Drones under 25kg: Private individuals can utilise drones on their property, offering a streamlined approach for agricultural or property management purposes.
Excluded Category

While operating within this category, it’s essential to adhere to standard operating conditions and maintain accurate records of your drone activities. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) reserves the right to review these records, to ensure compliance and safety. For a plain English guide on the excluded category, it can be found here.

Standard Operating Conditions for Excluded Category

To ensure the safety of airspace and the public, strict operational guidelines are in place for drones within the Excluded Category:

  1. Proximity to Aerodromes: Maintain a minimum distance of 5.5km from both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes.
  2. Distance from People: Operate your drone at least 30 metres away from others, ensuring public safety.
  3. Altitude Limit: Keep your drone below 120 metres (400ft) above ground level to avoid conflicts with manned aircraft.
  4. Visual Line-of-Sight: Always operate your drone within your direct line of sight, without the aid of electronic devices.
  5. Daytime Operations Only: Flights should be conducted during daylight hours for maximum visibility and safety.
  6. Single Drone Rule: Operate only one drone at a time to maintain control and reduce risks.
  7. Avoid Populated Areas: Refrain from flying over or near populous areas, respecting privacy and minimizing potential hazards.

Additional Considerations and Best Practices

While the Excluded Category offers flexibility, it comes with responsibilities. Before you take to the skies, consider the following:

  • Pre-Flight Preparations: Complete the necessary accreditation quiz provided by CASA, especially if you lack a Remote Pilot Licence. This certification is crucial for understanding the rules and ensuring safe operations.
  • Drone Registration: All commercial RPAs need to be registered with CASA, a straightforward process that ensures accountability and safety in the airspace.
  • Operational Restrictions: Understand and respect the limitations of your drone’s operational capacity, including weather conditions and geographical restrictions.

Requirements for Operating in the Excluded Category

Before operating your micro or excluded category remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), it’s mandatory to have it registered and to obtain a valid RPA operator accreditation. The initial step involves acquiring an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), which facilitates interactions and service provision by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). An ARN is akin to a driver’s license number or bank account number, granting access to the myCASA portal. Through this portal, you can register your RPA and secure accreditation, along with other aviation-related services ensuring your legal to fly within the excluded category.

There are two categories of ARNs. Individual ARNs cater to those not affiliated with a business or organisation, necessary for drone registration and accreditation via the myCASA portal. For individuals operating a business, it’s recommended to also apply for an organisation ARN. Eligibility for an ARN generally hinges on passing identity verification checks.

Organisation ARNs are designated for Australian businesses, required for business-related drone registrations through CASA and facilitating multiple individuals to represent the business within the myCASA portal. An organization ARN necessitates an individual ARN and proper authorization to apply on behalf of the business. Eligibility for an organization ARN typically depends on holding a valid ABN, ACN, ARBN, or foreign identification number.

To obtain an ARN, individuals can apply via the CASA website, providing necessary identity proof, the specifics of which are available online. For businesses, the application also goes through the CASA website, preceded by securing an individual ARN by the organization’s authorized representative.

Applying for an ARN - Hover UAV

When flying a micro or excluded RPA, accreditation is compulsory unless you possess a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). This accreditation is gratis and remains valid for three years, obtainable through an online process on the myCASA portal. This involves watching a safety video, reviewing educational materials, and passing a quiz on standard operating conditions and drone safety regulations.

The minimum age for accreditation is 16. Those under 16 must be supervised by an accredited individual of at least 18 years. Upon request by CASA or the police, proof of accreditation or a RePL must be provided, which can be in digital or printed form.

Embrace Best Practices for Drone Operations

Adopting best practices and pursuing further accreditation, such as obtaining a Remote Pilot Licence, can enhance your capabilities and operational safety. While the Excluded Category offers a starting point, evolving your skills and knowledge can open new opportunities and ensure you’re prepared to meet your client’s needs responsibly and legally.

In conclusion, navigating the regulatory landscape for drone operations requires a commitment to safety, compliance, and continuous learning. By understanding and adhering to the guidelines of the Excluded Category, you can leverage the incredible potential of drones in your commercial ventures or private endeavours, all while maintaining the highest standards of operational excellence.

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