Flying over your own land - excluded RPA
As part of the amendments to Part 101 that came into effect on 29 September 2016, CASA created an excluded category of remotely piloted aircraft, allowing private landowners to carry out some commercial-like operations on their own land with:
- small RPA (2-25kg), without needing a RPA operator's certificate (ReOC) or a remote pilot licence (RePL)
- medium RPA (25-150kg) provided they, or the remote pilot, hold an RePL.
This is provided they only operate over the landholder/leaseholder’s land, follow the standard operating conditions (listed below) and none of the parties involved receive remuneration for that work. The landholder/leaseholder must be the owner of the RPA and must only operate the relevant activities in sub regulations 101.237(4) and (7).
A summary of these requirements are listed below:
|Very small RPA - commercial||No||No|
|Small RPA - private landowner||No||No|
|Medium RPA - private landowner||Yes||No|
- very small (100g<2kg)
- small (2<25kg)
- medium (25-150kg).
What you need to do
1. Notify CASA five business days before flying
- You can notify CASA via the online notification form.
- To notify CASA, you will need an aviation reference number (ARN).
- If you do not already have an ARN, you will need to apply for an ARN.
- Please note this can take up to five working days.
- When completing the online notification form, use the + button to select up to 50 locations and 5 RPA categories on the one notification form. The selectable locations in the online notification system are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Areas Level 4, therefore, if the location you intend to operate in is not listed, please choose the location closest to where you intend to operate.
- Your notification is only valid for 24 months, so you will need to re-notify CASA every two years. If your operating details change during the two year period (e.g. different location, RPA category), you will need to submit a new notification form to CASA.
2. Operate within the standard operation conditions
- You must only fly during the day and keep your RPA within visual line-of sight.
- This means being able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV]) at all times.
- You must not fly your RPA higher than 120 metres (400ft) above ground level (AGL).
- You must keep your RPA at least 30 metres away from other people.
- You must keep your RPA at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes.
- You must not fly your RPA over any populous areas. These can include beaches, parks and sporting ovals.
- You must not fly your RPA over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval).
- This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue.
- You can only fly one RPA at a time.
- You must also agree to operate according to the guidance in AC 101-10.
*Please note: CASA will not issue any further exemptions. You will need a ReOC if you want to operate outside the above conditions.
The above operating conditions are a broad reflection of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 101 and do not encompass all of the regulations you must follow e.g. You must not operate your RPA in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, another person or property. It is your responsibility to abide by all the regulations detailed in Part 101. Failure to do so could result in enforcement action taken against you, including large fines and possible jail time.
Gaining your remote pilot licence (RePL)
Information for gaining a remote pilot licence (RePL), previously referred to as a UAV controller certificate, can be found on the RPA operator's certificate page.
If you have any questions about flying an excluded RPA over your own land, or any other RPA operational enquiries, please contact CASA's RPAS Office by completing the RPA online form.
Remotely piloted aircraft system resources and links
Frequently asked questions, further reading, RPA related website and 'Flight Safety Australia' magazine articles are available online.