To fly in some locations or under certain conditions, you must apply for additional approvals or permissions. Only chief remote pilots of a remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate (ReOC) holder can apply.
To apply for a flight authorisation, you must:
- Fill out either:
- Include supporting documents and risk assessments.
- 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.
Apply for additional approvals
You must apply for approval to fly:
- above 120 m (400 ft) above ground level (AGL) in controlled airspace
- above 120 m (400 ft) AGL in non-controlled airspace
- 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.
These approvals take a minimum 28 days to process from the date of payment.
Apply for additional permissions
You must apply for permission to fly:
- over a movement area of a non-controlled aerodrome
- above 120 m (400 ft) AGL within 5.5 km (3 nm) of a non-controlled aerodrome.
These permissions take a minimum 28 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 must apply to us for permission. To apply, you must submit your updated Operations Manual and Library to us with procedures.
On approval, we will send you a letter granting you permission.
You don’t need permission 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.
Apply for beyond visual line-of-sight approvals
You must apply for approval to fly:
- beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS)
- extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS).
If this is your first BVLOS application, you may wish to arrange a pre-application meeting with us to discuss the general application process.
For EVLOS approval applications, you can use and incorporate it as an annex to your operations manual:
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.
Apply to fly a drone light show
To apply to conduct a drone light show or swarm, you must submit a RPAS multi-purpose form and supporting documents, including information about where you plan to train and fly. You must consider:
- the location of nearby public areas and available buffers
- road or maritime exclusion zones and closures required
- weather planning and effects
- proximity to airports and air traffic
- GPS availability and signal strength
- electronic or physical barriers to stop drones escaping the programmed area
- relevant stakeholders.
Once you have lodged your application, an RPAS inspector will:
- conduct a technical desktop review
- issue approval to carry out training and testing
- conduct a technical onsite assessment
- confirm the outcome of your application.
These approvals can take up to 3 months to process from the date of payment.
Submit a request through our online enquiry form for detailed guidance materials on:
- application and assessment process
- information on how to run a drone light show.
Renew approvals and permissions
To renew any expiring flight authorisations you must submit a new application at least 28 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 3 selected trial sites:
- Adelaide Airport (YPAD)
- Canberra Airport (YSCB)
- Perth Airport (YPPH).
Varying your procedures
If you need to change your procedures that won’t require reissuing the instrument, and you hold a flight authorisation, you must submit:
- RPAS ReOC – Significant change approval and /or notification of non-significant changes
- your updated RPAS Operations Manual.
Find out more about significant or non-significant changes on our Remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate page.
Have a question? Need help?
You can contact us through our online enquiry form.