CASA cuts red tape on drone use

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Farmers and commercial drone operators will soon be able to use lightweight drones on properties without having to spend thousands on permits, after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recently decided to relax its laws on drone use.

CASA cuts red tape on drone use
Farmers no longer need to spend thousands on permits to operate UAVs or drones on their properties.

The new legislation amendments mean farmers can utilise drones for a wide range of on-farm tasks including spraying and crop surveying without having to apply for expensive permits, as long as the drones are used on their own land, there is no remuneration involved and the aircraft weighs less than 25kg.

CASA says this helps farmers significantly save on not only cost in applying but the time involved in filling out paperwork for permits.

CASA Aviation Safety director Mark Skidmore says while the changes are made to cut red tape, they still maintain appropriate safety standards.

"While safety must always come first, CASA’s aim is to lighten the regulatory requirements where we can," he says.

"I am very pleased these rule changes make it easier for farmers to use remotely piloted aircraft for a range of important tasks on their own farms.

"This technology has the capability to make farming easier and more efficient in many areas."

The legislation changes also mean commercial operators of very small remotely piloted aircrafts with a maximum take-off weight of 2kg will no longer need to obtain a number of regulatory approvals.

Operators of these aircrafts will only need to notify CASA when they intend to use them for commercial purposes.

However, they need to oblige by a set of conditions outlined by CASA which includes flying only in day visual line of sight, below 120m, keeping more than 30m away from other people, flying more than 5.5km from controlled aerodromes and not operating near emergency situations.

The amended regulations will take effect from September 29.

The full explanatory statement for the changes can be found here.

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