New rules require you to register your drone

The crackdown for drone use that practically nobody should be surprised about is about to hit with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) proposing a raft of measures that are unlikely to be welcomed by all. The nationwide crackdown, to take effect later in the year, will see a new compulsory registration and accreditation scheme for recreational drones weighing over 250g. Any drones 250 grams and under that are flown commercially will also need to be registered. Those flying drones recreationally, but indoors (!) will be exempt. Along with this new scheme, CASA has also revealed that they are bolstering surveillance capabilities.

On their website, CASA has indicated that accreditation will be free, but registration costs are yet to be determined by the Authority. Those flying recreationally can expect to put their hands in their pockets for about $20 a year, while the annual fee for each commercial drone is expected to be in the vicinity of $100-$160. The registration process will require owners to complete an online course to learn the rules of drone safety. Fines for failing to register a recreational drone have not yet been revealed.

Given the stupid antics that some drone users get up to, hopefully this new scheme will help put an end to much of it. The outcome of a drone hitting a commercial aircraft would likely be catastrophic. And incidents around airports can have a significant impact. In December last year, Gatwick Airport, in the United Kingdom, was shut down following alleged, but as yet unverified, drone sightings near the runway. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, with the incident reportedly costing the airport and airlines up to $40 million.

“It will not only help us keep the drone sector safe, but we will do it in a way that offers benefits to people who have drones through supplying ongoing safety support information to them,” CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson explained.

As a way to beef up surveillance, new portable equipment will initially be deployed to assess drone activity around major Australian airports. Following that, it will be used to check popular drone hotspots, such as Sydney Harbour. “The technology allows you to identify where the controller is, so you can see the drone in the air and the controller on the ground,” Gibson said.

Chief Executive and Director of Aviation Safety at CASA, Shane Carmody said the new scheme would make it easier for authorities to identify when someone was breaking the drone safety rules and take appropriate action, which could lead to penalties of up to $10,500. “The online process of drone registration and accreditation is estimated to take about 15 minutes for most people to complete,” Carmody said.

If you’d like to share your views with CASA on their new proposed scheme, follow this link, and complete the survey by 22 February.

Check out this useful app from CASA about where you can safely fly.