The idea of operating a drone is a scary one for many people, but I believe that within a few years it will become just as simple as riding a bike. Today, we are all still trying to work out what the rules are and the boundaries so here’s everything you need to know about drone laws in Brisbane.
Drone Laws In Brisbane are relatively relaxed, but there are still some important rules you should know. You can’t fly your drone over 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without permission. You can’t fly your drone within three miles of a prison, fire station, hospital, or school.
Which drones can I fly near airports? What drones can I fly over Brisbane? Can I use my drone for commercial purposes? Is it legal to use my drone to spy on other people? If you’ve got a few questions regarding using your drone, then you’re not alone.
Drone Laws In Brisbane
What Are Drones?
A drone, or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), is an unmanned aircraft that can be flown by a remote control. They are not toys. Drones have the potential to cause injury and property damage or death. If you choose to fly your drone in Brisbane, it’s federal and state law that you abide by the rules below.
Safety And The Law
- Make sure you know the Australian laws that apply to drones:
- You should be aware of the civil aviation safety authority (CASA) rules that apply to drone operators.
- In particular, you must register your drone if it weighs more than 250 grams, and you must follow all relevant regulations. If you ignore these rules and fly unauthorized drones outside officials’ sight, authorities could even fine or jail you for breaking the law.
- However, in most cases, flying a drone is a pretty straightforward activity: just look out for the areas where people are present and don’t fly your drone above 120 meters from the ground or sea.
- It’s also worth noting that different states have different regulations about where it’s legal to fly drones. For example, Queensland prohibits flights within 30 meters of people who aren’t involved in controlling the flight—while other states such as Western Australia allow flights closer to humans as long as they’re not hovering overtop of them at any time during their flight
Stay Away From People And Property
Under Australian law, you must keep your drone at least 30 meters away from people and property. This means:
- You cannot fly over a gather crowd or individual person.
- You cannot fly near a private home or other building.
If you are flying your drone within 5.5 kilometers of a controlled aerodrome (a place where aircraft can take off and land), you must keep it at least 5.5 kilometers away from the centre point of the aerodrome. If the aerodrome is not controlled, you only need to keep 1 kilometer away from its center point.
Keep Your Drone Within Sight
While flying your drone, you must keep your aircraft within sight at all times. This can be achieved through the use of binoculars and other visual aids. For more information read unmanned aircraft (drones) safety regulations.
If you are flying a drone that weighs less than 2kg, the following rules may apply:
- Drones must be flown at least 30m away from people; and
- Drones must be flown below 120m above ground level; and
- Drones cannot be flown in prohibited or restricted airspace; and
- Drones cannot be flown within 5.5km of an aerodrome unless they have notified Airservices Australia (Airservices); and
Do Not Fly Your Drone Above 120m
You are not allowed to fly your drone above 120 m. It’s very important to keep your drone below this height. If you don’t, you will be fined $1320, and could face a maximum penalty of $10,000 or 3 months in jail, or both.
You should keep your drone below 120 m for the following reasons:
- It is against the law to fly above this altitude
- The air traffic control team at Brisbane Airport need space to operate safely. Your drone operating within 120m of the airport may interfere with their ability to safely manage aircraft and runways.
Do Not Fly Near Prohibited Or Restricted Areas
- Do not fly in controlled or restricted airspace.
- Do not fly within 5.5km of an aerodrome.
- Do not fly within 30m of people.
If you’re flying a drone weighing over 250g in Brisbane, then you need to register it with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This is the same throughout Australia.
You can fly a drone weighing up to 25kg without a remote pilot’s licence. If you want to fly your drone over people, though, or close to buildings and vehicles while they’re moving, then you need to get certified.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Rules
You must follow the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Rules for flying drones. If you break these rules:
- You can be fined up to $9,000.
- You may also be held liable for any damage your drone causes to people or property.
If you are a commercial drone operator (you get paid to fly) you need to apply for an unmanned operators certificate.
How To Register Drone In Brisbane
You should register your drone before you fly. Before you start, check the weight of your RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) because the CASA registration website will ask for it. You’ll also be asked for your personal details and to create a password and username.
It’s $20 to register with CASA and it’s valid for 2 years.
- a credit card to pay the $20 registration fee
- your drone’s serial number (the serial number is located on the outside of your drone and will be either alphanumeric or numeric)
- a photo or scan of your drone (this is helpful to make sure you have all its parts)
- a photo or scan of your drone’s serial number (you can find this on the outside of your drone, generally in one of these locations: under a battery, inside the battery compartment, near where the propellers connect, behind rubber feet/bumps, on top of your drone).
- an email address that you check often (you’ll receive important updates about regulations and safety tips at this email address)
Your Drone Must Be Registered Before It Is Flown Outdoors If It Weighs Between 250 Grams And 25kg
You must register your drone if you intend to fly it outdoors. This includes model and toy drones that weigh between 250 grams and 25kg. Registration applies to all drones, regardless of whether they are being flown for recreation or work.
Drone Registration is completely free, and you can register your drone online at the CASA website. You will be issued with a unique identification number, which must be clearly marked on your drone when it’s flying. If you fail to display this number or fly without registration, you could face serious penalties.
Your Drone Weighs More Than 25kg
If you’re flying a drone that weighs over 25kg, you will have to register your drone by filling out the remote pilot licence form.
If your drone weighs under 2kg and is being used for commercial operations, you will need to apply for a permission to operate under the Airspace Regulations for commercial operations.
If you’re using the drone recreationally, there are no permissions required but you do have to comply with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) rules. If your drone is being used professionally but weights less than 2kg, it must be registered with CASA.
Create An Account And Then Log In
Once you have an account, follow these steps to register your drone:
- Log in to the CASA portal.
- Select “Drone Registration” from the main menu on the left-hand side.
- Enter your personal details into the fields provided, including name, email address and mobile number. The site will prompt you when any required information has not been entered.
- Enter details of your drone, including its make and model.
- Enter details of your license and relevant certificates so that it can be displayed with your registration details.
- Pay for your registration using a credit card or PayPal account. You will automatically be logged out after payment if you are paying as a guest user; if you are logged in as a member then select “Logout” from the menu once payment is complete.
Enter Your Registration Details
Next, you’ll need to enter your registration details and pay the $20 fee using a credit or debit card. You will be asked for your name, address and email address, so have those handy.
You’ll also need the registration number of your drone found either on the body of the device or in its user manual. If you can’t find it, try contacting the manufacturer.
Finally, choose a password for your account. Make sure it’s something only you would know and that no one else could guess easily.
Receive An Email To Confirm Your Registration
An email will be sent to the email address you provided during the registration process. You’ll Need to click a link in that email to confirm your registration. Once you’ve done that, your certificate of registration will be sent to you.
If you’re under 18 years old, then a parent or guardian must register for you.
Fly Safely And Legally
- Follow the rules
- Know the rules
- Keep your drone in sight
- This is really important. If you can’t see it, you can’t control it. You need to be able to see your drone at all times.
- You must not fly a drone at night without a safety observer and must have anti collision lights.
- Keep your drone below 120m above ground level (AGL).
- Keep your drone at least 30m away from people and property not involved in the flight operation. It’s best if you keep 5.5km away from:
- aerodromes (any airport, heliport or registered landing area)
- helicopter landing sites
- other aircraft
If you’re flying within 5.5km of an aerodrome or helicopter landing site, you must call ahead and take some other steps to make sure that you are flying safely and legally
Are Drones Allowed In Brisbane
You Must Always Fly At Or Below 400 Feet
You Must Always Fly At Or Below 400 Feet (around 120 metres) above ground level—anywhere in Australia. You must not fly your aircraft higher than 120 metres above the ground, unless it is more than 30 metres away from people.
Your aircraft’s altitude is based on the height of its takeoff point, which means that you must be careful when flying near cliffs and other tall structures.
If Your Drone Weighs More Than 100 Grams
If Your Drone Weighs More Than 100 Grams, you can’t fly it:
- inside 3 nautical miles (5.6 kilometres) from the Brisbane Airport Non-Movement Area.
- within 30 metres of people (unless you have permission from each person).
- within 5.5 kilometres from an aerodrome or in controlled airspace.
- above 120 metres in height.
Within 5.5km Of An Airport
If you do not stay at least 5.5km away from an airport, helipad or seaplane base, it is a serious offence. It doesn’t matter whether the airport is operating or closed – don’t fly your drone anywhere near an airport no matter what. The same goes for emergency helipads and seaplane bases.
You are not allowed to fly a drone that weighs more than 100 grams within 5.5km of an airport, emergency helipad or seaplane base even if the aircraft is not in use and/or the airport is closed.
Higher Than 120 Metres Above Ground Level
This altitude restriction is not a recommended height at which you should fly your drone. The higher a drone flies, the more likely it is to fall from the sky and hit someone below.
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact our friendly customer service team on 1300 859 734.
No-fly Zone Near Emergency Situations And Rescue Operations
- Do not fly in or near emergency situations and rescue operations (e.g., bushfires, car crashes, search and rescues)
- Do not interfere with firefighters or other emergency services
- Do not interfere with manned aircraft
- Do not fly at night
- Do not fly above people (maximum is 30m above ground level for recreational use)
- Do not fly over or near other people
Out Of Your Sight
You must also keep your drone within your line of sight at all times. This means you cannot be operating your drone with goggles or use first-person view technology. If you cannot see the drone with your own eyes, you are no longer in control and could lose sight of it entirely.
You should always be aware of your surroundings when flying a drone and if there are other people nearby, make sure they know what is going on. Flying over populated areas is strictly prohibited, especially sporting ovals and parks where children may be playing.
Finally, make sure to fly at a safe height (generally below 120 metres) and that there are no obstacles near your flight path such as trees or power lines.
Flying Recreational Drones
There are some rules you need to follow.
- You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above the ground.
- You must maintain a visual line of sight with your drone at all times when flying. This means being able to see your drone with your own eyes (rather than through first-person view).
- You can’t fly over people, or over an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval).
- Your drone must stay at least 30 metres away from other people. If you’re using a small drone in a populated area, it is recommended that you stay at least 5.5 kilometres away from controlled aerodromes (usually those with a control tower).
- You can’t fly closer than 5.5 kilometres from non-controlled aerodromes and helicopter landing sites, unless the operator of the aerodrome or helicopter landing site has approved otherwise.
The drone laws in Brisbane are simple and straightforward. If you’re flying a drone, you must follow these regulations. You can’t fly a drone within 5 kilometers of an airport, heliport or seaplane base. You can’t fly a drone above 400 feet and within 4km of a controlled aerodrome.
Drones can now be used for everything from aerial photography to search and rescue missions, but some laws do exist that make the use of drones a little complicated.
If you are new to the drone world, or if you’re just looking to do some easier drone flying, keep reading to find out what you need to know about drone laws in Brisbane.
Frequently Asked Questions (drone Laws In Brisbane)
What Are The Rules For Flying A Drone In Brisbane?
To fly in Brisbane, you must:
- See your drone at all times. You are required to maintain direct visual contact with the aircraft and be able to take control of it if needed.
- Not fly above 400 feet (120 metres). The maximum height for flying a drone is 400 feet (120 metres) above ground level or buildings, unless otherwise approved by CASA on an individual basis. Above this height, you may be breaking the law if your drone collides with an aircraft.
- Not fly within 5.5km of any airport without prior approval from CASA in writing first. This means that you can’t fly a drone near Brisbane Airport without first applying to CASA and receiving permission from them before doing so – even if it’s in your backyard!
Where Can I Fly My Drone In Brisbane?
As long as you follow the rules, you can fly your drone in Brisbane.
- You must not fly a recreational drone within 30 metres of buildings, people or vehicles. This includes other drones that you may be flying.
- You must not fly your recreational drone within 5.5 kilometres of an airport. This is for safety reasons – air traffic controllers will contact you if they see your drone close to an airport and ask you to move it away from their airspace so that there are no problems with aircraft flying overhead at any time during their flight paths or landings/takeoffs from airports across Queensland.
What Is A Casa-approved Drone Registration?
A CASA-approved drone registration is a way to register your drone with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. You need to register your drone if it weighs more than 250 grams and you can do this online at the CASA website. You must renew your registration every three years.