Drone safety rules

There are rules in place to keep you and others safe, on the ground and in the air.

The drone safety rules, also known as the standard operating conditions, apply to all types of drones and remote-controlled aircraft.

The dos and dont's of flying

You must:

  • only fly one drone at a time
  • always fly your drone in visual line-of-sight — this means:
    • flying only during the day
    • avoid flying through cloud, fog or smoke
    • you can always see your drone with your own eyes — not by using goggles, binoculars or another device
    • not flying behind obstacles that stop you from always seeing your drone. For example, trees, buildings or other structures.

You must not fly your drone:

  • higher than 120 m (400 ft) above ground level — that's about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field
  • closer than 30 m to people — other than those helping to control or navigate your drone
  • over or above people at any time or height
  • in a way that creates a hazard to another person, property or aircraft
  • near emergency operations
  • in prohibited or restricted airspace (use a CASA-verified drone safety app to help you)
  • closer than 5.5 km to a controlled airport, which usually has a control tower, if your drone weighs more than 250 g. You can operate indoors provided the drone can’t get out of the building. If you’re a ReOC holder, please see more information on flight authorisations.

You may operate your drone within 5.5 km of a non-controlled airport or helicopter landing site if:

  • there are no manned aircraft flying in the area
  • you see any manned aircraft flying to or from the airport or helicopter landing site you land as soon as safely possible
  • you stay outside the airfield boundary.

The regulations

We classify drones, also known as model aircraft or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), by size and type.

The drone safety rules simplify the regulations from the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 101.

The Part 101 Plain English Guide for Micro and Excluded Category RPA also captures the foundational drone safety rules. It is primarily intended for micro and excluded drone operators. However, it is expected all drone users will find it useful.

You should also read the latest Advisory Circulars to make sure you're following all the rules that apply to you.

You can apply for additional flight authorisations for:

Application fees and processing timeframes apply.

Flying for sport or recreation

If you’re flying for sport or recreation, you don’t need a remote pilot licence (RePL). If the drone or model aircraft weighs more than 25 kg, you’ll need to apply for an approval to fly.

Flying for work

If you’re flying for work or for your employer, you must have either:

Age limits

There is no age limit to fly a drone for sport or recreation. To fly for work or for your employer, you must be 16 years or older to:

Last updated:
21 Mar 2022
Back to top of page