Despite our UOC (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operators Certificate) allowing us to fly almost anywhere in Australia, in order to ensure that other aircraft and the public are safe, there are a few restrictions and limitations that we must observe. This allows everyone to share the air and work safely.

There are a number of standard restrictions that apply to how we operate our UAV’s regardless of the location:

  • Not above 400ft: This is approximately 120m above ground. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can only operate at a maximum height of 120m above their take off point. This is to protect other aircraft who may be using the airspace at the same time.
  • Not out of visual line of sight: In order to safely control our remotely piloted aircraft we need to be able to see them at all times. It is illegal to use FPV (first person view) goggles or even binoculars as the pilot must be able to see their UAV without the aid of anything more than prescription glasses or sunglasses.
  • Not within 30m of people: This applies to anyone who is not directly related to the flight operation. Actors or other people who have given permission are still not counted as being involved with the flight.
  • Not over a populous area: A populous area is one where if something was to go wrong with our drone, it would pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of someone who was in the area and not connected with the operation. This includes locations such as sporting events, beaches and even a busy road or footpath.

There are also some restrictions that may apply depending on the location where we are flying:

  • Not within 3nm(5.5km) of a controlled aerodrome: A controlled aerodrome is one that has an air traffic control tower in operation. Most Australian airports and Helicopter landing sites are uncontrolled or only have an operational tower at specific times. As part of our certification, we have permission from CASA to operate within 3nm of these airports without seeking additional approvals.
  • Defence and Restricted Airspace: Around Australia there are several locations that require permission prior to take off. Usually all that is required is an additional approval and notification to an identified organisation in advance of the anticipated launch date. We have previously applied for and received these approvals but additional time is required as part of our planning process.

Overall these restrictions are similar to the rules of the road. They are not designed to prevent or stop us from being able to work, they provide us with a framework to work within to ensure that everyone is safe and protected.