Part 101 Amendments - Cutting red tape for remotely piloted aircraft
CASA is pleased to announce amendments to Part 101 came into effect on 29 September 2016.
These amendments reduce the cost and legal requirements for lower-risk remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operations. More complex operational matters will be dealt with in a new manual of standards to be developed with industry, providing greater flexibility and responsiveness in this rapidly evolving area.
This regulation updates terminology to align with the International Civil Aviation Organization. In particular, the term UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) now becomes RPA (remotely piloted aircraft). Over time, CASA forms and processes will reflect these changes.
The amendments to Part 101 create new weight classifications for RPA:
- very small (100g<2kg)
- small (2-25kg) (where required with 7kg restriction)
- medium (25-150kg)
- large (>150kg).
The regulation also introduces the concept of excluded RPA, representing RPA operations considered to be lower risk. These operations will have reduced regulatory requirements, such as not needing a UAV operator’s certificate (UOC) or a UAV controller’s certificate. From 29 September 2016, the operator’s certificate is called an RPA operator's certificate (ReOC) and the controller’s certificate is called a remote pilot licence (RePL).
Effective 29 September 2016, commercial operators flying very small RPAs, 100g < 2kg, will not require a ReOC or an RePL. Operators will have to notify CASA at least five days before their first commercial flight and operate by the standard operating conditions.
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. 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.
The excluded RPA concept also allows private landowners to carry out some commercial-like operations on their own land with a small RPA without needing a ReOC or an RePL, provided they follow the standard operating conditions and none of the parties involved receive remuneration.
An operator flying a medium RPA in the excluded category must hold an RePL.
A summary of these requirements is listed below:
|Very small RPA commercial||No||No|
|Small RPA private landowner||No||No|
|Medium RPA private landowner||Yes||No|
*Please note that excluded RPA operators cannot apply for further exemptions.
The new regulations also establish a set of standard operating conditions specific to these excluded RPAs.
The standard RPA operating conditions are as follows:
- You must only fly during the day and keep your RPA within visual line-of sight.
- You must not fly your RPA higher than 120 metres (400ft) 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 not fly your RPA autonomously under the amendments. CASA is still developing suitable regulations for autonomous flight; however, there is scope for CASA to approve autonomous flight on a case-by-case basis.
If you have any questions about the Part 101 amendments or other RPA operational enquiries please contact CASA’s RPAS Office by: