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New drone registration and accreditation rules come into effect late 2019

From late 2019, new drone registration and accreditation rules will come into effect as regulation over remotely piloted aircraft systems tightens.

The new rules will require all drone flyers to:

• Have a remote pilot licence; OR

• Complete a short online safety quiz.

Drones used for commercial purposes will need to be registered with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) by November 2019.

Drones used for recreational purposes will need to be registered by March 2020.

Generally, these requirements will apply to:

• Drones over 250 grams operated for recreational purposes; and

• All drones operated for commercial purposes.

CASA says that registration will be “quick and easy” and last for a period of 12 months.

Accreditation will require drone users to be at least 16 years old and show proof of identification, an aviation reference number (ARN) and have a myCASA account.

Why create these new drone registration and accreditation rules?

There are a range of reasons these new rules have been introduced.

One of them is to address ongoing drone disruptions. Such disruptions have occurred in airports and military bases. The Gatwick Airport incident in 2018, where thousands of flights were cancelled in the UK because of drone sightings near Gatwick Airport, no doubt was a significant motivating factor.

drone registration and accreditation rules

CASA previously announced the development of a full network that can be used to track drones. Flight data collected from the new registration requirements, therefore, may be used to track drone usage to identify unlawful and/or unauthorised drone use.

The idea is that ultimately such a regulatory framework will make the skies a safer place.

A CASA spokesperson back in January said that the new system “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”.

The new regulations come after a significant amount of consultation CASA conducted with the community in early 2019.