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The Do’s and Don’ts of flying a drone in Canberra

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There’s no doubt that drone photography’s popularity has risen to new heights over the years.

While your eagerness and photos are greatly appreciated (as is your use of #VisitCanberra), there are some important rules to keep in mind before taking to the skies to get sensational bird-eye views.

Here are some tips we’d like to share with you about how to ensure your drone flying is conducted safely.

The Do’s of Droning

Download or use a web-based version of a CASA-verified drone safety app. CASA-verified drone safety apps provide customised, location-based information with easy to use maps that show where you can and can’t fly your drone in accordance with aviation legislation.

You’ll also need to check your local and state government for any local rules or regulations before you fly. Because Canberra is so easy to navigate and it’s easy to get from place to place, many of the national attractions and popular photogenic places fall within the prohibited drone zones of 5.5 kilometres from an airport or helicopter landing site.

The proximity of Canberra Airport and Canberra hospitals make landmarks like Australian Parliament House, National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, events like Floriade, fireworks for Skyfire and Australia Day, and much of the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin a no-go zone.

Check licensing requirements. If you’re flying a drone recreationally and have a lightweight drone, you should be okay, but best to check with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) first. If you’re planning on flying a drone commercially, you must be licensed and certified by CASA.

Commercial drone registration and accreditation are now open for people who fly a drone or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) for business or as part of their job.

If you fly a drone, or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), for business or use one as part of your job, you must register it by 28 January 2021. This applies to all drones that you fly to provide any type of service—no matter how much it weighs. 

Other rules also apply, so review the drone safety rules and test your knowledge with The Know Your Drone safety quiz to test your knowledge before you take-off. Visit knowyourdrone.gov.au to learn more.

Confirm that your location is okay to fly over. Locations like the National Arboretum Canberra ask that all drone pilots have prior approval from Arboretum management via email if they intend on flying. And if you’re planning on extending your drone voyages further afield in the Canberra region, please note that in New South Wales, consent is required if you would like to fly over national parks and beaches.

Keep your height under 120 metres in all locations, and, (we can’t believe we have to say this but) only fly one drone at a time.

Take it steady. While we can understand your eagerness to take to the skies, it pays to take your time when learning how to fly a drone, lest you cause a dangerous and expensive crash.

The Don’ts of Droning

It’s mainly common sense, but…

It’s prohibited to fly your drone in the area of a public safety or emergency operation (like bushfires, police or search and rescue operations).

You’re not allowed to fly within 30 metres of people unless the person in question is essential to controlling or navigating the drone.

Head to www.knowyourdrone.gov.au to review the drone safety rules, which can be found here.

For all queries related to flying drones, please contact CASA.

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