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Drone registration on CASA’s agenda

According to a report in The Australian today (May 11), CASA’s light touch on drones use is going to become slightly heavier with compulsory registration looming for drones weighing more than 250g.

DJI’s Mavic Air, one of the lightest hobbyist drones, weighs 430g – well above CASA’s recommended 250g-and-above registration requirement.

The civil aviation regulator also says it  wants to develop an online course for drone hobbyists, accompanied by a quiz which they would need to pass.

The report, which The Australian had access to prior to its official release today, also indicates support for an extension of ‘geofencing’ – cordoning off areas such as airports and other restricted airspaces via drone software.

DJI is the most advanced of the consumer drone manufacturers in developing geofencing and CASA has been in discussions about introducing its technology locally.

Tighter control on drones follows a series of near-misses with commercial aircraft, including one incident near Auckland Airport where a 777 pilot estimated a drone missed the plane by just 5 metres.

The US FAA has already introduced registration of drones weighing more than 250g.

CASA’s director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody told The Australian that no decisions would be made until at least July 31, when a Senate committee’s report on drone safety is due to report. Then the government needs to respond to the report…

‘The challenge for CASA as the safety regulator is to maintain drone rules which are relevant, address known risks and not place a restrictive burden on a dynamic industry,’ he is quoted as saying.

He said CASA would consult with the industry on proposals for regulatory change.


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