Apply for flight authorisations

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.

The requirements

To apply for a flight authorisation, you must:

  1. Fill out either:
Application for RPA flight authorisation (area approval / permission) form 101-09 (PDF, 238.57 KB) RPAS multi-purpose form (PDF, 173.99 KB) Application for extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS) form (PDF, 166 KB)
  1. Include supporting documents and risk assessments.
  2. 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 60 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:

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 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 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 need to change your procedures that won’t require reissuing the instrument, and you hold a flight authorisation, 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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