Delegated authority in support of aviation safety investigations

We have the power to take immediate action to respond to situations where someone is intending, or likely, to fly an aircraft in a way that is:

  • an offence under the regulations
  • a danger to people on board the aircraft
  • a danger to people or property on the ground.

Regulation 288 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR 288) allows us to detain an aircraft. It also allows us to take other actions, as necessary, for us to:

  • investigate the flight
  • inspect the aircraft.

Where an aircraft has been detained, it may not be used again until either:

  • we are satisfied the regulations are being followed
  • we approve use of the aircraft
  • alterations or repairs are made to make the aircraft safe to fly.

These detention powers can only be used in extraordinary circumstances to support these investigative powers. They can’t be used for other purposes.

Delegated authority

We have the power to extend CAR 288 authority to other individuals, such as law enforcement and Defence Force personnel. These individuals are "CAR 288 delegates".

Delegated authority under CAR 288 means you can only detain or interfere with an aircraft when that is done to help us investigate the circumstances and the aircraft involved for aviation safety matters.

CAR 288 delegates investigation powers

CAR 288 delegates can use their powers to support investigations of aviation safety matters mentioned in the regulation. This may require the collection of electronic data from drones.

When they use those powers for any other reason, they will not have the legal protection that may be afforded by CAR 288 from laws that prohibit the monitoring or collection of electronic data. This legal protection only applies when delegates use them in the right way.

CAR 288 authority doesn't give any additional legal protection for other situations and delegates shouldn’t use them for any other reason.

Last updated:
15 Sep 2023
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