The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has advised that the registration of commercial drones is now required as of January 28.
All who operate drones for business or employment purposes must register them with CASA.
This includes drones used for examining infrastructure, building sites or industrial equipment; selling photos or videos recorded from a drone; monitoring, surveying or security, research or development or another drone task completed for an employer or business.
Commercial drones can be operated only by those with the appropriate licenses or accreditation.
When selecting a drone operator, CASA suggests that you confirm the registration of your operator’s drone by requesting to review your certificate of registration.
Next, verify that your operator holds sufficient accreditation.
In instances in which more sizable drones are required and the operation involves flying outside drone safety regulations (i.e., flying more than 120 metres over the ground, flying within 30 meters of people or flying by night), operators will require a remote pilot licence (RePL) and must be employed by a person or business that possesses a remotely piloted aircraft operators’ certificate (ReOC).
For simpler operations that involve the use of lighter drones (2kg or less) and that adhere to drone safety rules, RePLs and ReOCs are not required.
Yet operators in these instances must possess an RPA operator accreditation and their drone must be registered.
When hiring operators, project owners should request to see a copy of their licence/certificate or accreditation.
In the instance of RePL licences, it is also valuable to confirm the licence conditions within which they can legally operate.
This could include the ability to fly at night or to fly more sizable drones of up to 7kg, 25kg or 150 kg.
In certain instances, drone operations will need approval from CASA—like if drones are flying within 5.5 kilometres of a controlled airport unless the drone weighs 250 grams or less.
Project owners should see these approvals and verify both the kind of operations which have been approved and the time interval within which the approval stays valid.
It is vital to confirm that your operator’s public liability insurance covers them for the particular service which they are supplying to you. Drones can, after all, fail, fall or break.
And of course, one must check to confirm that the operator must be licensed/accredited and the drone must be registered; failure to do so could void your operator’s insurance.
CASA advised project owners to verify that their drone operator is sufficiently qualified to be safe and legal operator.