Drone weight categories and requirements

There are specific categories for drones and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) which determine the activities or operation you can conduct. This depends on:

  • activity and location
  • weight of the RPA
  • qualifications, accreditation/licence and certification required to conduct the activity.

Your drone will fall into one of the below drone weight classifications:

  • micro: 250 g or less
  • very small: more than 250 g, but not more than 2 kg
  • small: more than 2 kg, but not more than 25 kg
  • medium: more than 25 kg, but not more than 150 kg
  • large: more than 150 kg.

Depending on the weight of your drone, you may need to have a qualification or accreditation. See the following categories to learn more.

If you fly without the appropriate operator accreditation or an unregistered RPA, penalties will apply.

Find out more about the different types of drones.

Micro RPA

You can fly a micro drone or RPA that weighs 250g or less for business or as part of your job. You do not need a RePL or remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC).

You must:

  1. get an aviation reference number (ARN) – you may require an organisation ARN for your business
  2. get an RPA operator accreditation
  3. register your drone
  4. only fly your drone within the drone safety rules.

Very small, excluded category RPA

You can fly a very small drone or RPA that weighs 2 kg or less for business or as part of your job. This is also called the sub-2 kg excluded category because you do not need a RePL or ReOC.

Examples of businesses that fly under this excluded category may include:

  • photographers and film makers
  • real estate agents
  • researchers
  • construction workers and tradespeople
  • government and community service providers.

You must:

  1. get an aviation reference number (ARN) – you may require an organisation ARN for your business
  2. get an RPA operator accreditation
  3. register your drone
  4. only fly your drone within the standard operating conditions.

Small, excluded category RPA

You can fly a small drone or RPA that weighs more than 2 kg but not more than 25 kg over your own land for business or as part of your job, provided you do not accept any type of payment for the services. This is called the landowner or private landholder excluded category because you don’t need a RePL or ReOC.

Examples of the types of operations you can do under this excluded category include:

  • aerial spotting
  • crop, livestock or equipment inspections
  • land surveying
  • agricultural operations
  • carrying cargo.

You must:

  1. get an aviation reference number (ARN) – you may require an organisation ARN for your business
  2. get an RPA operator accreditation
  3. register your drone
  4. only fly your drone within the standard operating conditions
  5. keep the required operational records
  6. not accept payment for the services you provide.

Medium, excluded category RPA

You can fly a medium drone or RPA that weighs more than 25 kg but not more than 150 kg over your own land for business or as part of your job, provided you do not accept any type of payment for the services. This is called the landowner or private landholder excluded category. You must get an RePL for the type and model of drone you want to fly. Find out how to get your RePL.

Last updated:
5 Oct 2022
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//drones/get-your-operator-credentials/drone-weight-categories-and-requirements
Back to top of page