Apply for flight authorisations

To fly in some locations or under certain conditions, you must apply for additional authorisations. Only chief remote pilots of a remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate (ReOC) holder can apply.

The requirements

To apply for a flight authorisation, you must:

  1. Fill out either:
  2. Include supporting documents and risk assessments.
  3. Pay the estimated fee following review of your application. Additional fees may apply if a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) inspector needs to travel to complete the assessment.

In addition to these requirements, operators undertaking complex operations may need a noise approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

Standard flight authorisations

You must apply for an authorisation to fly:

  • above 120 m (400 ft) above ground level (AGL)
  • within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a controlled aerodrome
  • above 120 m (400 ft) AGL within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a controlled aerodrome, including military controlled aerodromes
  • over a movement area of a controlled aerodrome
  • in the approach or departure path of a runway of a controlled aerodrome
  • in the approach or departure path of a non-controlled aerodrome during a relevant event
  • within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a non-controlled aerodrome during a relevant event.

These approvals take a minimum 60 days to process from the date of payment.

Flying indoors within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a controlled airport

To fly indoors within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a controlled airport, you don’t need an authorisation if you have:

  • transitioned to a new ReOC that does not include (in Schedule 2) a restriction from operations within 3 nm of controlled airports
  • documented practices that include relevant content for indoor operations within 3 nm of a controlled airport.

If you don’t meet both of the above criteria, please contact us.

Apply for beyond visual line-of-sight approvals

You must apply for approval to fly:

BVLOS

BVLOS operations are operations where the remote pilot is:

  • operating in a different location to the drone
  • unable to maintain visual line of sight (VLOS).

If this is your first BVLOS application, you may wish to arrange a pre-application meeting with us to discuss the general application process.

EVLOS

EVLOS operations allow operators to fly BVLOS under very specific conditions:

  • with a trained observer to observe airspace and associated risks, in addition to the remote pilot operating the drone
  • with a maximum distance between the drone and the observer.

To develop the required procedures for your operations manual, use our EVLOS templated procedures:

Annex to the RPAS industry sample operations manual - EVLOS procedures (DOCX, 277.7 KB)

For more information about the requirements for EVLOS operations, read Section 5 of the Part 101 Manual of Standards.

Apply to fly in Sydney Harbour and surrounding areas

You must apply for permission to fly in Sydney Harbour and surrounding areas. This area is restricted airspace (R405A/B) due to helicopters and seaplanes that have permission to fly there.

As part of the automated airspace authorisation trial, ReOC holders can now use a CASA-verified drone safety app to apply to fly in restricted airspace near Sydney Harbour.

Apply to operate more than one RPA at a time

To apply to operate more than one RPA at a time (including drone light shows and agricultural operations), you must complete the RPAS multi-purpose form and submit supporting documents. For more information on how to apply and the application process, review:

Operating over or near people

Flying an RPA over or near people may require a CASA authorisation and exemption. For more information, visit our webpage on flying near people.

Renew authorisations

To renew any expiring flight authorisations you must submit a new application at least 60 days prior to the expiry date.

Automated airspace approvals trial

We are undertaking a trial to digitally authorise requests to fly within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a controlled airport at 5 selected trial sites:

  • Adelaide Airport (YPAD)
  • Canberra Airport (YSCB)
  • Perth Airport (YPPH)
  • Sydney Airport (YSSY)
  • Sydney Harbour (R405 A/B).

Varying your procedures

If you hold a flight authorisation and need to change your procedures, and you won’t require an instrument re-issue, you must submit:

Find out more about significant or non-significant changes on our Remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate page.

Contact us

Have a question? Need help?

You can contact us through our online enquiry form.

Last updated:
19 Jan 2024
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//drones/registration-and-flight-authorisations/apply-flight-authorisations
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