Regardless of whether you are an aviation enthusiast or a beginner, recreational drone flying can be a fun and exciting hobby when done safely. As Christmas approaches we urge anyone getting a drone to ensure they learn how to operate it safely.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has outlined the basic safety rules that all recreational drone flyers must follow. Breaking these rules can land you in trouble. You can be fined or even taken to court.

Here’s what you need to know:

You cannot fly your drone higher than 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level.

You cannot fly your drone within 30 meters of other people.

You can only fly one drone at a time.

You cannot fly over or above people or in a populated place. Examples include beaches, parks, events, sporting games etc.

You must keep your drone within visual line of sight. This means that you must be able to see it with your own eyes rather than through a device. (e.g. iphone, goggles or screen).

You must always respect personal privacy. Never record or photograph people without their consent.

If your drone weighs more than 100 grams (most recreational drones), you are required to fly at least 5.5 kilometres away from a controlled airport, which generally have a control tower.

You must not operate your drone in a way that creates any hazard to an aircraft, person or property.

You can only operate your drone during the day between sunrise and sunset. You cannot fly through cloud or fog.

You cannot fly your drone over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway. Examples of these situations include firefighting efforts, search and rescue, police operations etc.

If you are near a helicopter landing site or smaller aerodrome that doesnt have a control tower, you are able to fly your drone within 5.5 kilometers. However, if you become aware of a manned aircraft nearby, you will have to manoeuvre away and land your drone as quickly and safely as possible.

As a recreational drone flyer it is illegal to fly your drone for money or reward unless you have your Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) or you are flying in the excluded category (sub 2 kilogram or private landholder).

Plan ahead and enjoy a summer of safe flying.

Before taking your drone out for a joy flight it is best practice to plan your flight path before heading out. When planning make sure to check the weather forecast as well as aviation regulations. You can do this with a basic free account on the BIRDI Platform.

With this cheat sheet in hand and clear blue skies you’re off to a good start for a summer of safe flying!

Plan your next flight on the BIRDI Platform. 

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