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Commercial unmanned flight - remotely piloted aircraft under 2kg
If you fly a drone (remotely piloted aircraft) RPA under 2kg but for commercial reasons, you can fly your drone in what is called the 'excluded' category.
This means you'll need to notify us before you fly and operate within the standard operating conditions.
If you want to fly outside these operating conditions, you will need to be licensed (hold a remote pilot's licence RePL) and fly with a certified operator to fly commercially.
- Step 1: Apply for an aviation reference number
- Apply for an aviation reference number (ARN). This is similar to an account or customer number and will need to be quoted whenever you communicate with us. Find out more about ARNs and identification requirements.
- Step 2: Tell us before you fly
Let us know when you intend flying by using our online notification form. You'll need to quote your ARN and can select multiple locations and categories on the one form.
This notification is valid for three years, so you will need to re-notify us every three years. If you get a new drone, change your drone, or want to operate from a different place, you will need to submit a new notification form.
- Step 3: Fly within the standard operating conditions
- You must not fly higher than 120 metres (400 ft) above the ground, in all locations (etc.)
- You must not fly your RPA/drone over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue operations.
- You must not fly your RPA/drone within 30 metres of people, unless the other person is part of controlling or navigating the drone.
- You must only fly one RPA/drone at a time.
- You must keep your RPA/drone at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes (usually those with a control tower)
- You may fly within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) only if manned aircraft are not operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/ HLS, you must manoeuvre away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible. This includes:
- not operating your RPA/drone within the airfield boundary
- not operating your RPA/drone in the approach and departure paths of the aerodrome
- You must only fly during the day and keep your RPA/drone within visual line-of sight.
- This means being able to orientate, navigate and see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through a device at all times). Example: goggles or video screen.
- You must not fly your RPA over the top of people. Examples include festivals, sporting ovals, populated beaches, parks, busy roads and footpaths.
- You must not operate an RPA/drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, another person, or property
- You must not operate your RPA/drone in prohibited or restricted areas.
Please respect personal privacy. Don’t record or photograph people without their consent—this may breach state laws.
*Please note: If you want to operate outside these conditions (for example, fly closer than 30 metres to people), you will need to hold a remote operator’s certificate (ReOC).
The above operating conditions are a broad reflection of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 101 and do not include all the regulations you must follow. You must abide by all the regulations detailed in Part 101. If you don’t you could face enforcement action, including large fines and possible jail time.
- Step 4: Download our app
We encourage you to download our ‘Can I fly there’ drone app. This will show you the crucial drone no-fly areas and drone fly with caution zones. You will also see restricted and military airspace where drones must not be flown.
Important: tips for flying within the law
- There might be local council and/or national park laws prohibiting drone flights in certain areas.
- Research the area you plan to fly and contact your council or national park if you're unsure.
- Don't operate near emergency services aircraft – if you fly, they can't.
The fine print
- Advisory Circular AC 101-10 v1.3 (pdf 672.42 KB)
- Download our 'Can I fly there' drone app
- Resources, brochures and FAQs
- Sub-2kg commercial brochure
- Getting your remote pilot licence
- Becoming a certified operator
Still have questions? Call us on 131 757 or contact us via our online enquiry form.