Consulting the Industry on RPA registration and Operator Accreditation 5 February 2019

Further to our December 2018 Newsflash on the Government’s proposals for regulation of remotely piloted aircraft systems (“RPAs”), CASA has now released a Consultation Paper on RPA operation and RPA operator accreditation. In accordance with the Government’s proposals, CASA’s Consultation Paper proposes the registration and accreditation of RPAs that meet the following criteria:

  • RPA more than 250 grams operated recreationally; and

  • all RPA operated commercially, including excluded RPA operations, regardless of weight.

The RPA registration and accreditation requirements are not proposed to apply to the following:

  • RPA 250 grams or less operated recreationally;

  • Model aircraft at CASA-approved model airfields; or

  • RPA operated recreationally indoors.

To put this into context, a DJI Phantom 4, one of the most popular RPAs, would exceed the 250 grams threshold and, should the proposals take effect, would require registration with CASA. Weight thresholds for registration are used in a number of other jurisdictions. The United States for example excludes RPA weighing 250 grams or less from having to be registered.

The cost of accreditation in Australia will be free however if you are not already the holder of a drone licence then an online education course will need to be undertaken. The cost of registration is yet to be determined by CASA and may range between $100 to $160 per RPA for commercially operated RPAs.

What happens next? The Consultation closes on 22 February 2019 and feedback can be provided at Proposed new remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) registration and RPAS operator accreditation scheme (PP 1816US). Once CASA has received public feedback on the proposed scheme it intends on working towards a commencement date of 1 July 2019 with staged implementation. We will continue to update you on developments. If you have any questions regarding the above information, please do not hesitate to contact us:

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