Drone Rules and Safety
Within Australia the usage of all remotely piloted model aircraft (often referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – RPAS for short) falls under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority – CASA. This includes fixed wings, gliders, helicopters, drones, and more. The rules and laws applicable when flying model aircraft may depend on how the aircraft is being used – whether recreationally, for sport, commercially (for profit) or other purposes.
CASA is a government body that regulates Australian aviation safety. They license pilots, register aircraft, oversee and promote safety. They were established as an independent statutory authority in July 1995 and work together with the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and Airservices Australia to achieve a vision of safe skies for all.
You can find a basic outline of drone safety rules on CASA’s website – DRONE SAFETY RULES.
When flying via First Person View (FPV) using the screen of a mobile phone, tablet or other device, or wearing FPV goggles, it’s important to be aware that this is not permitted under CASA’s standard rules. The only legal and safe way to utilise the thrill of FPV is via a special CASA exemption. This exemption is provided to all affiliate members of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia – MAAA. By becoming a member of the MAAA, pilots enjoy the benefits of being able to legally fly their model aircraft using FPV. There are special rules and procedures that must be followed.
The MAAA is the largest aeromodelling organisation in Australia and encourages and supports Australians to enjoy aeromodelling in a safe and fun environment. By providing a management structure, technical expertise and club management support, it makes it easier for clubs to grow and manage their sport. As a leading expert the MAAA help clubs provide the best advice, instructors and knowledge base so you can safely learn to fly and enjoy your sport. You can undertake pilot training, get your wings, or even become an Instructor or Inspector.
For rules and procedures about flying model aircraft, including using FPV, please refer to their website – MAAA DRONE RULES.
To become an MAAA member pilots must join a Club or Organisation that is affiliated with the MAAA. All of the clubs listed in the AUFPV club directory can provide MAAA membership. Once you are a member you must abide by the MAAA’s rules and procedures.
Flying FPV is an amazing experience! We hope to see you around at an FPV club in the future.
Radio Frequency Laws
When flying FPV the drone or model aircraft will be utilising a video transmitter (VTX) to emit the video signal wirelessly using analog radio frequencies which will be received by the screen or goggles you view. The remote control used to pilot the model aircraft will also be transmitting a radio frequency which the aircraft receives in order for you to control it. In Australia all transmission of radio frequencies is governed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority – ACMA. Generally, all equipment sold within Australia will already be certified and approved for use complying with the relevant laws.
When choosing a VTX power level and channel it’s important to note all analog signals on the 5.8GHz band should not exceed 25 mW (just under 14dBm), and be within the frequency range of 5725 MHz – 5875 MHz.
The information provided on this site is intended as a guide only and may not reflect any updates or changes to existing laws and regulations. If in doubt, contact the relevant organisation directly.