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Flying closer than 30 metres
If you hold a valid remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate (ReOC) you may be able to fly a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) up to 15 m away from a person, rather than the 30 m usually allowed.
To fly under the rule, you must meet all the following conditions:
- your RPA weighs less than 150 kg
- you have consent from the person you are flying near
- you do not fly closer than 15 m.
Before flying you'll need to identify and minimise any safety risks and develop supporting processes and procedures. We may ask you to produce proof of consent from related parties.
Please note: this rule applies to anyone not actively involved in flying or operating the RPA.
Conditions of operation
You should consider the following when developing supporting procedures. Include these procedures in your operations manual within your Operation Procedures.
All equipment flown within the rule must meet the following conditions:
- The RPA must have a dual parallel redundant battery system with duplicated battery mountings and demonstrated ability to fly safely with one motor inoperative at the maximum take-off weight for the operation.
- GPS hold and return to home function must be operational with a minimum reception of at least 7 GNSS satellites.
Flying closer than 30 m to people increases safety risks. Chief Remote Pilots must perform a detailed risk assessment that considers these increased risk factors.
When performing the risk assessment, Chief Remote Pilots should consider:
- the speed and size of the RPA
- mobility of bystanders
- bystander awareness of the RPA's position at all times
- flight path proximity to bystanders
- pilot and controller location and how close they are to bystanders
- environment, wind, sun, lighting etc
- possibility of GPS shadows or turbulence around buildings.
Chief Remote Pilots must also consider the overall risk where multiple risk factors have a high score.
Once risks have been identified, sufficient mitigation strategies must be implemented.
Mitigation strategies could include but are not limited to:
- assistance from safety crew
- restricting flight times for each RPA or pilot
- using a smaller or lighter RPA
- using propeller guards or different propellers
- restricting the RPA speed
- restricting the number of bystanders within 30 m of the RPA
- creating an action plan in case of RPA control problems or failure.
If risks can't be mitigated to an acceptable level of safety, you must not fly within the rule.
Consent of third parties
You must gain personal consent from every person located within 30 m of the RPA. Companies or other entities can't give consent on behalf of an individual.
You should provide a briefing to each person detailing related policies, procedures and all identified risks.
While written consent is not a requirement, it will help demonstrate you've operated within the conditions should an incident or accident occur.
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