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Operations between 30m and 15m - non-company personnel
On 29 September 2016 the amended CASR Part 101 (Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 1998) came into effect. Part 101 was amended primarily in response to the rapid expansion in the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), also commonly known as drones or unmanned aircraft.
An important change in the regulation is the ability for an approved operator who holds a remote operators certificate - ReOC (previously unmanned operators certificate or - UOC) to operate between 30 and 15 metres of a person who has given consent.
How will this work?
The changed regulation permits operations within 30 to 15m of a person so long as you meet the following conditions:
- the RPA is a very small, small or medium RPA
- the second person has consented to the RPA operating within 30-15m of them
- you do not operate the RPA any closer than 15m to them.
CASA strongly encourages all operators who intend to operate within the privileges of this regulation to develop supporting process and procedures to ensure that you operate in a manner that does not increase the risk to any third party.
Before operating within 15-30 metres of a third party, you must gain their consent, so CASA will ask to view documents demonstrating appropriate consent when auditing an operator exercising these privileges.
Please note: You may submit an alternate means of compliance which you believe meets or exceeds the suggested procedures CASA provides.
Suggested conditions of operation for 30-to-15m of a person
The following procedures should be contained within the operators Operation Procedures (library).
Any operation within 30m of non-operational personnel requires the following equipment as a minimum.
- 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.
As part of the procedure for operation within 30m of non-operational personnel the Chief Controller must, in addition to all other normal operational requirements, perform a detailed risk assessment that specifically considers the increased risk of operations in close proximity of people. The risk assessment is not limited to, but must consider, the following:
- speed of the machine
- size of the machine
- speed of the non-operational personnel
- non-operational personnel’s awareness of the RPA’s position at all times
- flight path in relation to non-operational personnel
- number of non-operational personnel involved
- position of controller in relation to RPA and non-operational personnel
- environment, wind, sun, lighting etc
- possibility of GPS shadows or turbulence around buildings
- available safe options in event of control issues.
Once the risks to a particular operation have been identified the Chief Controller must implement sufficient strategies to mitigate the risks. Mitigation strategies are not limited to but include the following:
- Safety Crew to assist controller
- restricted flight and duty times
- use of smaller or lighter RPA
- restrictions on flight profile
- reduced maximum wind speed
- different propellers
- propeller guards
- vertical separation
- RPA speed restrictions
- reduced number of non-operational personnel within 30m of RPA
- pre-determined plan of action in case of control or other issues.
If the risk cannot be mitigated to a value that meets an acceptable level of safety or it is not possible to comply with a condition within the operations manual and any other instrument issued by CASA the task may not proceed.
The Chief Controller must also consider the overall risk where multiple risk factors have a high score.
Consent of third parties
Any operation within 30 to 15m of a person(s) requires the consent of each individual. The Chief Controller should note that a body corporate or any other entity cannot give such consent on behalf of any individual.
When seeking consent all individuals should be informed of the CASA regulation as written, and any additional risks identified by the operator that may be attributed to the operation of the RPA within 30m of a person.
Whilst not a requirement, CASA recommends that a written briefing is provided to each person, and each person is asked to sign a consent form attached to the briefing.
Gaining written consent in this way will ensure that should an incident or accident occur, the operator can demonstrate to any investigating authority that they had operated within the intent of the regulation.
Further guidance in regards to operations within 30-15m of a person can be gained by contacting the CASA RPAS Office through the online RPA enquiry form.