Reporting unsafe operation of drones and remotely piloted aircraft
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is responsible for regulating and overseeing the safe operations of both remotely piloted aircraft and model aircraft - commonly referred to as drones.
Information about drone rules in Australia is available on our website, but generally, operators need to follow these rules:
- Operators should only fly a model aircraft in visual line-of-sight, in day visual meteorological conditions (VMC). What does that mean?
- No night flying (generally).
- No flying in or through cloud or fog, and you must.
- Be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV]) at all times.
- Operators must not fly a model aircraft closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people.
- Operators must not fly a model aircraft over populous areas such as beaches, heavily populated parks, or sports ovals while they are in use.
- In controlled airspace, which covers most Australian cities, you must not fly higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above the ground.
- You must not fly in a way that creates a hazard to other aircraft, so operators should keep at least 5.5 km away from airfields, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites.
Complete the on-line unsafe drone operations complaint form to notify CASA of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operations you believe may have breached civil aviation safety regulations. Please note, safety breaches can only be investigated where there is sufficient evidence, such as photos or video recordings of the breach and the person controlling the drone/RPA at the time.
Privacy concerns and CASA's role
RPAs can have real privacy impacts. However, CASA's role is restricted to aviation safety - privacy is not in its remit.
As stated by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Privacy Act 1988 generally requires that government agencies and private sector organisations comply with privacy obligations. The Privacy Act does not regulate individual operators of drones, or small business operators.
Some State and Territory anti-stalking laws may apply to the operation of surveillance drones in some circumstances.
If you are concerned about drones and your privacy, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for more information or telephone 1300 363 992.