CASA speaks about its approach to the future of drone regulation in Australia:

The 12 take-aways from a speech delivered by Mr Luke Gumley, Branch Manager Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) at the 'RPAS in Australian skies' conference held by the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems on 13 March 2018.

Published: 17 July 2018

1. CASA has sought to align Australian regulations as closely as possible with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards and recommended practices. ICAO recently audited CASA giving it a result in the high 90’s, putting Australia in the top 10 in the world for effective implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices.

2. The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations comprises 55 Parts, of which 45 have been made, with CASA aiming to finalise drafting of the remaining 10 this year.

3. In July 2017, CASA established an Aviation Safety Advisory Panel, which is the primary body through which CASA can direct its industry engagement when seeking input on current and future regulatory and policy approaches.

4. CASA is partnering with Airservices Australia (Australia’s air navigation service provider) to investigate different ways of delivering flight authorisations near controlled aerodromes.

5. The number of remote pilot licences holders grew by 65% in 2017, with a total of 7,380 licences to date. RPA operator certificate holders grew by 70% in the same year, with a total of 1,283 operators to date. 2018 has seen some tapering of the exponential trend for operator certificates.

6. CASA has created a dedicated RPA (drone) branch in CASA which commenced operations in August 2017. CASA appointed six new inspectors in March 2018, bringing CASA’s total drone workforce in the branch to 22.

7. CASA’s drone education initiatives has included persuading manufacturers to insert CASA brochures into packaging and the manufacturer requiring new users to complete an online quiz before using their drone; convincing retailers to insert messages on sales receipts encouraging people to visit CASA’s website; creating a dedicated website – – targeted at recreational drone flyers; and creation of an app ‘Can I Fly There?’ which provides information about where recreational and excluded category drone operators can and cannot fly and the notification of fire and emergency information.

8. The formal report in response to the Senate Inquiry into future drone regulations has been given a third extension and is now due on 31 July 2018. A summary of the 94 submissions (condensing 634 pages into 15 pages) can be found here.

9. In June 2017, the Former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Honourable Darren Chester MP, announced a drone safety review to look at CASA’s approaches to drone regulation. CASA has completed its draft report and will be providing it to the Minister shortly.

10. CASA has been researching and developing options on how drone registration may operate in Australia should such a requirement be mandated.

11. CASA’s drone regulatory roadmap, which aims to provide a level of certainty about where CASA is moving with policy and legislation, will be delivered this year. CASA has also completed the draft Part 101 manual of standards and will look to commence consultation this year

12. CASA has adopted the use of the Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA: a risk assessment methodology – developed by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems – to establish a sufficient level of confidence that a specific operation can be conducted safely) into its policies on how it conducts assessments of applications for complex operational requests.

A full copy of this speech can be found here.

Fly Free!

The Drone Lawyer

17 July 2018